I’ve always had a low bounce rate on my blog, but for the last three or four years it has hovered at around 1%, and the other day it actually hit 0.00% and has stayed there so far since. It’s not often I feel qualified to give out blogging advice, but this is pretty good, so I thought I’d share how I do it…
What is a bounce rate?
If you have a word press blog, you’ll see in your dashboard a few google analytics statistics including your bounce rate. In general terms, it is the percentage of all your visitors who have only looked at their landing page and have then clicked away. So the higher the number, the more people didn’t click on anything else on the page they landed on; they looked at it and then left.
Is having a high bounce rate a bad thing?
It depends really. Some very popular blogs are likely to have a higher bounce rate because Google will see it is popular, and therefore recommend it to more people. The more people Google recommends the site to, the more chances it has of missing the mark. So, using fashion blogs as an example, I might type into Google, ‘How to wear spring 2020 fashion trends.’ Google might show me In The Frow’s website because it will rank well as a very popular fashion blog. However, once clicking on her blog, I’ll quickly see that her style is smart, elegant and tailored, and not at all my sort-of thing, and I might click away straight away. So that would count as a bounce. (By the way, I really like Victoria from In The Frow, and love watching her vlogs on YouTube, but I don’t often go to her blog for that reason.)
So, if you have a popular niche blog, and a high bounce rate, I wouldn’t worry about it, because you probably don’t want people that aren’t interested there anyway! I’m never going to click on an affiliate link at In The Frow because she promotes things out of my price range and not my style; so in terms of financial gain, she probably doesn’t need me on her blog!
You might also have a high bounce rate if you send out an e-mail with every new post. If you find most of your traffic comes from your e-mails, then I also wouldn’t worry about it. I might wait for your e-mail to come to my inbox; click the link to the page and then leave again knowing that there hasn’t been any new content since the last e-mail, and therefore no need to click around.
If your blog is based around reviews, for example beauty products, restaurants or holiday resorts, I think you’re also likely to have a high bounce rate because people will get the information they need from clicking on the link that Google gave them, and they don’t need to look around at anything else. If someone types into google ‘Review of the Aztec hotel and spa‘, they might click on the link to my review; that will tell them all they need to know and then they might go off and book their stay there. (This isn’t the best example, because actually that review is still getting lots of views, but people are hanging around, (I’ll get to why that is in a minute); you know what I mean!)
So why would you want a lower bounce rate?
There are many reasons for wanting people to stay on your blog. The main one being that the longer people stay to read your content, the more they will get to know you. That leads to liking and trusting you. That in turn leads to them making purchases, whether that’s trusting your affiliate links on your blog, or if you have a product or service to sell. You can build an actual relationship with your reader, particularly if they leave comments on your posts as well.
So how do I get people to stay on my blog? Here are my 5 tips:
- Write content that is personal to you. This is a difficult one to explain, but I mean that you should try and write content like no-one else can. Tell a personal story, and that will get people interested enough to hang around. Now, I hate comparisons, and I absolutely don’t want to put anyone else down, but as I’m not usually called upon to write gifted or sponsored articles, on the one occasion I was, I went and checked out what the other bloggers had to say about the same day out (in the spa hotel I mentioned above) just to check I was on the right track. I did seem to be on the right track, but I noticed, generally speaking, their style of blogging was much more impersonal; whereas I tried to make my post a little story of my day. Now I don’t have any other relevant content on my blog such as other local hotel reviews or even tourist days out near Bristol, but even so, people finding that post through a Google search are sticking around to read, on average, four other pages on my blog. Now this for me is a great success, because I didn’t earn any money from writing that post, and there are no affiliate links there, but the longer the visitor stays around, the greater the chance that they’ll notice I have two Etsy shops in the side-bar I wouldn’t mind them checking out! And I think the reason they’ve stayed, and kept my bounce rate so low, is because they enjoyed the story as well as the information they came for.
2. Write how you speak. The very reason that blogs became popular in the first place was because they were natural. These days layouts and designs of blogs are getting more and more sophisticated and professional looking; however I’ve resisted the urge to go all fancy schmancy, because I believe that readers want real people, not something written by a faceless magazine or news site. Likewise, I’ve tried to keep my writing style as natural as possible. I want people to read something that I wrote and that sounds like me. Does that make sense? People are interested in other people; much more than simply finding out how to style a boho dress or get travel photography inspiration, and I believe that people stay on my site simply because I sound like a real person. If you’d like another example of this, check out Hannah Gale’s blog – her style of writing is very entertaining and unique to her, and that’s why she’s so popular. I always like to read her blog even if I’m not in the slightest bit interested in the subject!
So my point is, if your blog is fun to read, then people are more likely to stay and see what else you have to say!
3. Throughout your blog post, direct people to more of your blog posts! So for example, say you’ve written about a trip to Venice a little while ago, and now you’re posting about an outfit that you took photos of while there; you could mention: By the way, we took these photos while on a trip to Venice last summer, and make part of the sentence a link to that post. Depending on the length of your blog post, you can do this three or four times without being annoying! I’ve recently started doing blatant related links at the end of my fashion posts to other outfits that have incorporated the same item of clothing. For example, ‘See how I’ve styled the same blouse in this granny chic outfit, and this preppy outfit.’
Bonus tip! Google SEO likes it when your links are search terms. You’re better off linking ‘trip to Venice‘ than ‘these photos’ because people are much more likely to search for that phrase.
4. Make sure all your links open in a new tab. This includes links to your own pages as well as links to other website and affiliate links. Otherwise, someone may follow your link to a clothing shop right near the top of your page, get lost down a rabbit hole of lovely clothes, and then not be able to find you again. WordPress doesn’t always make this an easy option; at the moment, once I’ve added all the clothing photos that are also links at the end of my fashion blog posts, I have to go back, click edit, and then click the box that says ‘open in a new tab.’ I’m sure I can get my clever software developer husband to make it easier for me though. If you have help from a programmer, then ask them if they can make that option easier for you.
5. This is the biggest thing that lowered my bounce rate from a steady 20-30% mark right down to 0-1%: Have an automatic system in place that will recommend similar blog posts at the bottom of every page. I used to do something like this with a wordpress plug-in, but it would always recommend my most popular posts, which tended to be the same ones appearing over and over again. Now, that same clever husband made a system that automatically recommends random posts from the last three years that are listed in the same category. The chances then are greater that the reader will be interested in those posts as well as the one they’re currently reading. I’m sure if you look at wordpress plug-ins that there’ll be one that can do the same. If you have a better niched blog than I do – say, all your posts are beauty or fashion or travel related, then people are more likely to look around. However, for me, in my lifestyle blog where one day I could be blogging about lowering your bounce rate, and the next day blogging about defending the clothing haul, it’s more important that people are directed to blog posts in the same category.
Anyway, I hope that has helped give you some ideas for how to lower your bounce rate, and if you’ve found it useful, please share it with others who will as well. Thank you!