Before we enter the nitty-gritty details, let us first take a quick sneak peek into the definition of the term ‘Bounce Rate’.
Bounce Rate is the measure of the percentage of people who visited your website but bounced from their current page without checking out other pages. In a more informal tone, it depicts the number of people who visit your site and leave in an instant. The sooner they leave, the more negative your bounce rate % gets.
Now that we’ve established the premise, an extremely high percentage value indicates everything that is wrong with your website.
The genre and domain of your business doesn’t matter, it’s a known universal fact that if you can get your users and potential customers to stick around your company website for a longer time, you’re golden!
You must check Ana Hoffman’s post about making your blog sticky for visitors.
Why Lower Bounce Rate?
Lower bounce rate means more number of subscribers, which means more profits, which at the end of the day is the one single purpose of every business around the world.
Apart from the monetary relief, it also helps on the SEO [Search Engine Optimization] front. And we all very well know that this is the current buzz phrase in the technology world. Hence, one can’t possibly undermine the importance of reducing the bounce rate of a WordPress blog.
Now, many of you might not know how to stumble upon this holy number. For that, you’ll need to log in to your Google Analytics account or any other statistics solution. Make sure that you use your bounce rate measure as a barometer of how smoothly your WordPress blog is working. Here are a few general parameters:
- Excellent Bounce Rate – Around or lower than 20%
- Good Bounce Rate – Around or lower than 40%
- Average Bounce Rate – 50 to 60%
- Poor Bounce Rate – Over 75 to 80%
Reducing Bounce Rate For WordPress Blog
1. Thoroughly Study your Analytics in Detail
Before you begin the bounce rate reduction process, you need to find out the intricate details of each individual blog page that you possess. You need to find out what kind of visitors get attracted by your blog, the various keywords that you need to target, the status of your landing pages, and more. Once you’re acquainted with the fallacies, you can come up with your own set of remedies.
2. Top Notch Content
This is perhaps the most crucial factor which proves detrimental to the success of every blog. Make your content informative, concise, simple and articulate at the same time. Even more than what’s being written, the presentation matters. Avoid long, poorly spaced paragraphs and employ lists whilst highlighting the significant headings. Treat your blog visitors like kings, and you’ll never go wrong!
- How to write High-Quality Content?
- How to Write SEO Friendly Blog Posts?
- What Type of Content Should You Publish To Increase Your Blog Traffic?
3. Optimize Page Loading Times
Why would a visitor stick to your blog if it takes more than half a minute to load? It would be safe to say that a slow paced blog is a recipe for disaster. Follow the underlying steps:
- Use compressed images
- Install a caching plug-in
- Choose a lightweight theme with non-complex graphics. (like Genesis, MyThemeShop etc.)
- Compress your code
- If the problems still persist, pick another web hosting provider. I recommend Bluehost. Read my Bluehost review here.
For more information about reducing blog loading time, you can refer to this article.
4. Avoid Flashy Pop-Ups
Possessing splash pages, irrelevant pop-ups, and multiple advertisements will only push your visitors away, as they don’t add value to your blog. You need to polish your blog in a seamless manner without these distractions.
5. Display Excerpts on the Blog Pages
Avoid full post displays on your blog, as that will put off your readers. Give them a choice to click on the article they want to read. Improve your visitor experience by opting for excerpts, which will simultaneously optimize your page loading times and increase your page views.
6. Segregate Longer Posts
Well, the more the merrier doesn’t always work! No one will have the time to read an immensely huge blog post on a single page. Use the <!–nextpage–> tag to split your post into multiple pages. This will improve the reading experience by a significant margin.
7. Give Credible Headlines
Writing the most attractive piece of blog article in the world will still pay no dividends, if you can’t cap it off with an eye-catching headline. The main heading tag is the deal maker-breaker. It needs to be spot on, descriptive, and insanely attractive to say the least.
8. Invoke Seamless Navigation
Make sure that the path to your blog is easy and reachable; otherwise your visitors won’t stick for long. Moreover, to solidify your navigation quotient, you can install plug-ins like YARPP [this is one of the most frequently used plug-ins as it directly affects the bounce rate, by leading your visitors to other blogs that they would probably be interested in].
9. Random Browsing is Healthy
This is your chance to attract the visitors by being creative and articulate. You can employ a button named ‘Feeling Curious?’ which will redirect your visitors to a random blog post. This helps in keeping the spice alive!
10. Treat External Links with Caution
If you’ve included external links in your blog, make sure that all these links get opened in a new window or tab. Otherwise, your visitors will exit your website every time they click!
11. Boast a Healthy Blog Comment Ratio
Indulge yourselves in a healthy blog commenting regime by replying to every credible blog comment that comes your way. This will not only engage the readers, it will also improve the bounce rate whilst attracting more visitors. Avoid faulty plug-ins and spam comments which will lead to Google penalization.
12. Build Concrete Internal Links
You’re reading an interesting blog, and you find an internal link which oozes relevancy, what do you do? You will obviously click on it! The same pattern will be followed by your readers and visitors. This will increase your page views and optimize your SEO value.
13. Tackle 404 Errors by Redirection
A 404 error informs the readers that, even though your blog is working, but the page that they’re looking for doesn’t exist. This is mostly caused due to inappropriate links, deleted posts, and fluctuating permalinks. Now, new visitors won’t strive this hard just so they can reach your blog. Hence, help them reach the right page with the help of the ‘Redirection Plug-in’.
14. Optimize your SEO Prowess
Use the right meta keywords, meta descriptions, and other SEO based techniques in order to bolster your bounce rate. If someone searching for their favorite team’s football score reaches your cricket blog, he won’t stick around for long, will he? Hence, bring in the right kind of visitors by targeting the appropriate keywords in your blog posts, titles, and file names.
Here is a quick guide on How to select the right keywords. Make sure to read it.
15. Consolidated Blog Search Option
If you’re using a search widget, make sure it’s working properly, or your readers will never come back. And if you’re not, start using one right away as it helps with the page views and visitor reach. If you’re a WordPress blog owner, you’ll know that the search option doesn’t work well. Hence, find a relevant plug-in for assistance.
16. Dynamic Themes
Free themes are ‘free’ for a reason. They’re not meant to attract visitors on a consistent basis. If you’re suffering at the hands of a lower blog bounce rate, consider altering your theme. We’re not expecting you to pick a Picasso-esque design, but still choose a template wisely.
17. Interactive Sidebar
A dynamically interactive sidebar not only optimizes the visual aspect, but it also effectively improves navigation, and increases your page views. You can have a section display of most recent or most popular posts, buzzwords, various categories, and so on. Improve the readability and visibility quotient by employing buttons for your RSS feed, subscription, and e-mail updates.
18. Blog Testing on Mobile Phones and Other Devices
Prior to publically releasing your blog, you should always test its appearance and credibility on a smartphone or a tablet. Being mobile friendly is the need of the hour, as over 60% of the Internet users access the web via mobile devices. Hence, you need to indulge in device testing long before you start losing visitors.
19. Accurate Genre Classification
Although this is common sense, but still it is worth mentioning that you need to segregate your blog posts according to their genres and domains, for a seamless reading experience. This way you can open the readers’ eyes to new trending topics they might’ve otherwise overlooked.
Zero Bounce Rate WordPress Plugin – Install this plugin to your blog and lower down your bounce rate up to 0%.
Read this complete review of Zero Bounce Rate WordPress Plugin to learn how it works and how to use it effectively.
Conclusion about decreasing your bounce rate
In a nutshell, bounce rate reduction doesn’t happen overnight. It is a consistent gradual process, and only an amalgamation of above-mentioned strategies can make a difference. Just adhering to these simple steps can ultimately cause a profit difference of millions, if performed diligently. So, act now before you start losing visitors. Good luck!