Want to lower your bounce rate?
If you’re a blogger, lowering your bounce rate is really important. Specifically, if your bounce rate is high, lots of people are leaving after reading one post. Not good!
(Not sure what a bounce rate is? Check out this post all about bounce rates, which includes how to find yours!)
HOW DO I LOWER MY BOUNCE RATE?
To lower your bounce rate, you have to get more people to visit other pages and posts before they leave. Simple right? Sounds it, but it can actually be quite difficult.
Here I’ve made a list of 25 ways you can encourage people to visit more of your blog before they leave it, to drastically lower your bounce rate!
HOW TO LOWER YOUR BOUNCE RATE
If we think about how a person ends up on your blog and what happens when they get there, the methods to lower your bounce rate generally fall under one (or more than one) of the following categories: SEO, obtaining, writing, navigation, and user experience.
LOWERING YOUR BOUNCE RATE BY IMPROVING YOUR SEO
Improving your SEO is the first step to lowering your bounce rate.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. As always, I recommend having the Yoast SEO plugin installed to help improve your SEO.
There are a few things we can do to make sure Google is getting the most out of our blog posts:
1. Use relevant, very specific keywords
I recently checked out what people were searching for on Google in order to end up on my blog.
Someone had searched for “silver gel pen”, and one of my images has the alt tag “silver gel pen”, so my blog must have come up as a result and they had clicked on it.
I’m presuming they searched this term silver gel pen because they wanted to buy one, not to see a photograph I had taken of one or read a post that had nothing to do with a silver gel pen. My post won’t be want they wanted, and so they’ll bounce right back out.
Take a look at my keyword for this post:
I have chosen my keyword to be “lower your bounce rate”. Anybody searching the term “lower your bounce rate” is probably going to want to know how to lower their bounce rate. Which is what my post is all about.
Plus if they’re interested in that they’re probably interest in my other posts seeing as I provide other blogging tips. So they (hopefully) won’t bounce out!
Keep this in mind when writing your blog posts. Think when choosing your keyword what the person Googling it is searching it for. Then use keywords that are relevant, specific and don’t have a double meaning.
2. Write better meta descriptions
One of the reasons people might be bouncing is because your post isn’t what they needed, and they don’t discover this until they are actually on your blog post. They realise, then leave.
The best way to stop this happening it to write good meta descriptions.
Meta descriptions are the little previews of a post that Google shows when someone searches something, like below.
By writing meta descriptions that show exactly what your post is about, you can be positive people visiting your blog from Google have made an informed decision to visit your post. They have read your meta description and decided your post is for them.
3. Link to your other posts that are relevant.
An internal link is a link in your blog post that links to another post/page on your blog. It’s an essential part of SEO, as it allows Google to crawl your website and decide which blog posts and pages are the most important.
Google can therefore decide which of your posts are most relevant when people search certain terms, meaning you’ll have more people ending up on our blog who really want your content and will want to read more posts. Lowering your bounce rate.
You can link to other relevant posts in your posts by using the link button at the top, copy and pasting the URL of the post you want to link to, then clicking enter.
Just be very careful copying the URL of the linking post. Say you’re editing a post, and you want to link to that post, so you open a new tab and click on the post, then copy it, like below.
Even though we opened it in a new tab, WordPress has recognised that we are logged in and this is one of our posts. If you copy and link to this URL, nobody will be able to see it, as it’s only a preview for someone logged into the specific WordPress account the post is on.
Always be sure to open the post you want to link to on a different browser where you aren’t logged into WordPress. It’s a mistake I’ve made more times than I’d like to admit!
Now that we’ve looked at lowering our bounce rate through SEO, let’s think about the other ways we obtain readers.
LOWERING YOUR BOUNCE RATE BY LOOKING HOW YOU OBTAIN READERS
Let’s look at the way I obtain my blog readers.
As you can see, I get a lot of my readers through social media. However my bounce rate is also the highest for this. For the other methods, it’s considerably lower.
This won’t be the case for every bloggers statistics, but it does make sense.
4. Increase referral traffic
People who are visiting through referral are those who have seen your blog mentioned on another website/ blog and clicked to see it. As you can see, I hardly get anyone through referral traffic, but those that I do tend to stick around more and click to see other posts before leaving.
It’s logical bounce rates for referral traffic will be lower because people visiting your blog from referral traffic:
- Are definitely interested in your niche. If another website mentions your blog, it’s because it’s relevant to their post and the writer things that the reader will benefit from reading about it.
- Hold you in high opinion already. The readers also trust that blogger, and want to hear what they have to say. So if the writer says they like a certain website or suggests the reader checks it out, they probably will and will do so early, wanting to know more.
Because of these reasons, it’s really important to increase your referral traffic.
You can increase your referral traffic by:
- Engaging with other bloggers, so they recommend your blog.
- Guest posting, paid or otherwise.
- Becoming an expert in your field, so when other blogs write on a certain topic you and your blog comes to mind.
5. Email your posts to your subscribers
I’m yet to start this, but I’m certainly working on it! Your subscribers have signed up because they like your blog posts and what you have to say.
By emailing your posts to your subscribers, you are giving your post to read to people who are actually interested in it (that’s why they signed up!). These are people who your blog topic and are interested in your posts.
These subscribers are likely to stick around whilst they’re there, lowering your bounce rate and engaging your subscribers. It’s a win win!
6. Don’t be clickbait
If you’re making money blogging through display adverts, then yes, you’re going to want to have as many page views as you can, and yes, clickbait might work.
But, there’s nothing more annoying for a reader than clicking to read a blog post from only to find there’s hardly anything on it, and it’s obvious clickbait. It makes that reader distrust you, and you can guarantee that person will bounce (and probably not return).
For example, I used to run a DIY beauty and hair care blog. So many times I’d see a picture of perfect long hair on Pinterest, click to read the post all about how that person transformed their hair… And found an empty blog post and it was a vitamins company trying to sell their products. So. Many. Times.
Apart from adverts, the other ways of making money generally involve building trust with your readers. So if you’re looking to monetize your blog and/or lower your bounce rate, make sure you’re not click bait. It’s not worth getting visitors who don’t really want to be there.
7. Offer freebies!
Whilst we’re on the topic of click bait, a perfect way to not be clickbait is to give give give.
You want people reading your blog post to feel like they’ve got a lot out of that one post in order to encourage them to read another. A perfect way of doing this is offering a freebie.
I’ve started to try and include various freebies in the majority of my blog posts, and it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
You don’t have to pend hours slaving away creating a 10 page guide. It can be a checklist, cheat sheet, or even just a one page PDF version of your blog post made in Canva for free. As long as your reader feels like they’ve got a lot out of your post (which they will with a freebie), they’ll want to read more.
Not just because they’re happy with their freebies and want to find more of course (like a treasure hunt of your blog, ha!). But because they like your posts and want to read more.
Even better than just including freebies in your post, is to have a tab on your top menu called “free resources” or something similar. Practically every time I visit a blog and they have this, well, I wanna see what free stuff they’ve for me!
LOWERING YOUR BOUNCE RATE BY WRITING BETTER POSTS
Now we’ve thought about how we’re getting our blog readers, we need to think about how we can tweak our posts so people want to read more of our stuff.
8. Make your blog post easy to read
Continuing with the last point, if your reader is struggling to get through the first post because it’s too difficult, they won’t check out a second.
Make your blog post easier to read by breaking up the text into sections with headings, subheadings and bullet points. Also write shorter sentences with phrasing and words your audience will understand.
9. Write less but give more
Okay, so this 2,000+ word post isn’t the best example of this… But if you’re taking 6 paragraphs to make one point, readers are going to feel like they’re wasting their time reading your posts. They aren’t going to check out another.
There’s nothing wrong with lengthy posts if they are providing lots of info. Just don’t drone on!
Make sure your posts are concise and readers won’t feel like they’re wasting their time, meaning they’ll read more posts before they leave.
10. Make your blog post more engaging
Nobody will want to read another post if they’re bored reading your first post they come across. Make your writing interesting, and they’ll want to know more!
You can also make your posts more interesting by adding images and videos, so your reader has something to look at other than text (boring).
11. Talk more about you
Okay so don’t reeling off facts on your personal life in every post. What I mean is talk more about you and your experiences on the topic your post is about.
A lot of the time, when people read blogs it’s to get a personal view on something. For example, they want to know opinions on a lipstick, or to learn fitness tips from people who have gotten in shape.
It’s the personal side that people are drawn to. If you’re just listing facts, it’s boring.
By talking more about you and your experiences, people will want to find out more and read more of your posts. It reminds people there’s a face behind the blog and helps your readers connect. This is especially true if you have a subscribers list- these people have signed up to here specifically from you. So make sure your posts give them you!
12. Link relevant posts to longer phrases in your sentence.
So you’ve linked to other relevant points in your post. However, if you blog about food and you link to a recipe by just saying check out another recipe here, and just link the “here” part.
This makes it harder for the person to visit the page you linked to. By selecting more of your sentence to attach the link to, you make it impossible for the reader to miss your link, meaning they’re more likely to click it, lowering your bounce rate.
13. Write catchy blog post titles
So you’ve linked to other relevant points in your post. However, if you blog about food and you link to a recipe by just saying “check out another recipe here”. Why would a reader want to? There’s nothing exciting about it!
Think Buzzfeed, must-read titles that your readers will feel like they’re missing out if they don’t read it. You can read more about how to write AMAZING blog post titles here. (See what I did there).
Also, don’t feel limited to adding a link to something that’s worded exactly the same as the blog post title.
For the example above, the actual blog post title is “THE BEST post titles to get more Pinterest traffic”. However it is all about writing good blog post titles, and I wanted you the reader to know you can learn how to write them, which is why I worded it differently.
Now we’ve thought about ways we can write differently to lower our bounce rate, let’s look at how easy our blog is to navigate.
LOWERING YOUR BOUNCE RATE BY MAKING YOUR BLOG EASIER TO NAVIGATE
By making our blog easier to navigate, people can easily find other pages and posts, meaning they’re more likely to go to these pages, lowering the bounce rate.
Sow how can we make our blog easier to navigate?
14. Put a menu at the top of your blog
Having a menu at the top of your blog means that as soon as someone has finished reading your post, they can easily find other places on your blog. You can see an example below.
Bonus points if your menu still appears when you scroll through the page!
15. Have a blog sidebar
Your sidebar will appear on every page of your blog. You can add widgets in your sidebar that will make it easier for your reader to navigate, such as an archives or categories selection option.
16. Add a search box that’s easy to see
Lots of people will visit your blog, see what you write about and remember a question they had on that topic and will want to search to see if you have a post on it. Or they’ll visit wanting a specific answer, not get it from that post but see you write a lot in that niche and will want to search for the answer.
By adding a search box to your blog, you are allowing readers to find what they want and easily visit another part of your blog before leaving. Which will lower your bounce rate and make your readers happy!
I’ve put a search bar in my sidebar, which appears on every page, so readers can search for something no matter what page they are on.
17. Use a plugin that suggests relevant posts
If I’m reading a post I’m interested in, and I see 3 other posts listed that are to do with the same topic, I nearly always finish the post then go back and read these posts.
List relevant posts that are either in the same category of the post or you think your readers would also be interested in. You can do this manually or use a plugin that does it for you.
18. Open your external links in a new tab
If you’re linking to a website that isn’t yours, change the settings so the external link opens in a new tab. This way readers can visit the site you mentioned, but then be right back on your blog as soon as they close that tab and they can carry on looking through.
You can change the settings by clicking the settings button here.
Then making sure this check box is ticked.
19. Make your 404-page useful
Someone wants to read a certain post of yours. They click to be taken to it… and “Page not found” comes up.
You can bet this person is probably going to leave. People don’t have the time to go searching your blog for the post they want.
Stop people bouncing on your “Page not found” page by adding helpful stuff to it. This can be suggested posts or a search bar. For mine, I’ve added a search bar, shown below:
LOWERING YOUR BOUNCE RATE BY IMPROVING USER EXPERIENCE
Lastly, we have to look at ways of making sure the person reading our post and visiting our blog is having the best experience possible.
20. Set up redirects
Even better than letting your visitors end up on an error page is to set up a redirect for URLs that you know are broken, because you have changed the name of the post etc.
A redirect works by automatically changing the page, so if they use a link that doesn’t work, the redirect takes them to a specific page.
If you have a redirect, you’ve done the hard work for your blog reader for them, taking them to the new URL for the same post easily.
I use a plugin in for this, pictured below.
Just be careful not to have too many or have a chain of redirects, as it will slow down your blog.
21. Reduce your broken links
If you mention a website in your post, make sure it works! If you click a link someone’s mentioned and it doesn’t work, you’re probably not going to go back to their blog. They’ve given you false info, so why are you going to stick around and possibly get more false info?
Of course it’s not your fault if you link to a website and it goes bust over time. Just be sure to check old blog posts, or keep a list of the blogs/ websites you know you link to, and if you find one has shut down you can go through and specifically change where you’ve linked to that.
22. Have a good blog theme
Free themes are great, but sometimes premium themes have features that can drastically lower your bounce rate. Think headers that appear on every page with clickable buttons, top bar menus that stay at the top when you scroll the page, that sort of thing.
A good blog theme will also be the difference between your website looking good and making people want to stay and check out more, or being put off and leaving. So be sure to use a theme that will help you with this.
23. Make your blog load faster
If someone clicks to read your post and your blog takes forever to load, they’re going to leave it before reading any of your other posts.
I’m planning on doing a separate post all about how to increase your site loading speed, but some simple ways to do this are:
- Use a premium theme
- Don’t go overboard with the redirects (especially don’t use a chain of them)
- Use lower resolution images
I use a plugin to compress my images so they’re much smaller called Smush Image, pictured below.
24. Make your blog mobile responsive
Lots of people read blogs on their mobile. Heck I know I do!
Making sure your blog is mobile responsive will ensure readers aren’t frustrated and will want to stay and read more posts. Again, “mobile responsive” is a feature of a good good theme.
25. Translate your blog for international visitors
This isn’t a necessity, but people will be visiting your blog from all over the world. Although English is spoken world wide, there are a lot of people who don’t speak it. Not only that, but English might not be your blog readers’ first language.
Giving your readers the option to translate the page depending on where their location is will mean more people are able to read your blog. Rather than seeing they can’t understand the language your post is written in and leaving, they have the option to translate the post, read it, then read more of your posts, lowering your bounce rate.
Now you know ways to lower your bounce rate, here’s a sum up of actions to take.
ACTION POINTS TO TAKE:
- Improve your SEO to not only help your posts to rank higher on Google but to lower your bounce rate. Install the Yoast SEO plugin, use a relevant, specific keyword, write good meta descriptions and link to other relevant posts on your blog.
- Obtain engaged readers. You can increase your referral traffic by commenting on other blogs or guest posting, and emailing your posts to your subscribers list. Never be click bait and try to offer something free with your post.
- Write better posts so your visitors want to read more. Make your posts easier to read by splitting the text up with headings or bullet points, and be concise. Engage your readers better by using images or videos and talking more about you! When linking to relevant posts, make the linking phrase long and catchy so people actually want to read it.
- Make your blog easier to navigate by putting a menu at the top, having a sidebar and put a search box in it. Use a plugin that suggests relevant posts and open your external links in a new tab.
- Improve user experience by making your 404 page useful, set up redirects and reduce your broken links. Use a good theme and make your blog load faster by using a plugin to reduce the size of your images. Make sure your blog is mobile responsive, and use a plugin to translate your blog.
And that’s all the ways to lower your bounce rate! I hope they help and you start getting more engaged blog readers on your blog.
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