Learn how to reduce bounce rate and boost conversion through five strategies that will keep readers coming back for more!
When you started blogging, you probably thought that it was just about putting some words on the screen and ‘talking’ with readers. I can’t help but smile because that’s what I thought and it is soooo far off from the truth.
Truly successful blogging means constantly improving your message and analyzing ways to build readership. One of the most important ways to do this, though also the least well known, is to reduce bounce rate on your blog.
If you don’t know what bounce rate is, you’re not alone. Bounce rate is one of the points on your Google Analytics page defined as the percentage of single-page visits. It’s the percentage of people that enter your site and then leave without clicking on any other page on the blog.
Reducing your bounce rate is hugely important for several reasons. First, it plays heavily into Google’s search algorithm. If people are staying on your blog and looking at multiple pages, it’s a good sign to the search engine of quality content.
Not only does bounce rate factor heavily into your search ranking but it is intimately tied to how well you convert people to customers of your products. A reader that sticks around, reading several different posts, is more likely to see you as an expert and value your work. This means they’re also more likely to become a paying customer.
Before trying to reduce bounce rate, understand what is realistic for your type of website. Because of the way content is offered and reader expectations, different types of sites usually have different bounce rates. The graphic below shows average bounce rates for six different types of websites.
Retail sites have extremely low bounce rates because people typically go to multiple pages to compare different products. Blogs have higher bounce rates because readers often find the site through search and are looking for an answer to a specific question, leaving the site after they’ve gotten the answer.
Focus on Your Message
This first strategy to reduce bounce rate gets at the very core of the problem. If people are not seeing anything else on your site that interests them, they are going to leave immediately. I see a lot of bloggers get tired of writing posts specific to their niche so they fill there blog with unrelated content.
Refocus your content strategy so that all your content relates to each other and draws a similar audience. This will also help to improve organic search because your site will become an authority on the niche. Make sure you are using keyword-rich descriptions in your headings and meta-descriptions to let Google know what your article is really about.
You’ll also see conversion improve as the content will be more closely related to your product. You’ll get a more targeted group of readers that will be more interested in the products on your blog.
Write Shorter Content
This has been a tough one for me coming from an investment analyst background. You’ve got to resist the urge of writing super-detailed and long articles if you want to reduce bounce rate.
More than half of blog visitors (55%) spend less than 15 seconds on a webpage before clicking out. Even if you’re able to grab their attention with engaging content, reading fatigue sets in quickly. If your posts are thousands of words long, readers are going to get tired or run out of time.
Reducing your bounce rate through shorter posts doesn’t mean you can’t provide quality and detailed information. Consider breaking your longer posts up into a series and focusing on a key issue in each post. Provide a linkable table of contents in each post and really reduce bounce rate as people click through to each article.
GiveReaders Somewhere to Go
Make sure you’re providing plenty of opportunities for your readers to go somewhere after they read your article. Place a menu of your most popular posts in the sidebar and offer a few suggestions for related posts at the end of each article.
Linking to other articles within your posts of related posts will not only help reduce bounce rate but will improve your search performance. Make sure you use Calls to Action, telling people to ‘click’ on a link or ‘check out’ a post for more information.
Related to this is the new concept of converting abandoning visitors. This is a great new approach where software detects the exact moment when a visitor is about to leave and then serves a subscription box. The feature is available on MailMunch and can really help to convert readers into subscribers.
ImproveYour Page Load Speed
A slow load time will frustrate readers even if you have great content. If readers have been to your site before and know that it takes a long time to load the next page, they’ll avoid clicking through to something else.
Make sure you are optimizing your images so they load faster and use a plugin like WP-Optimize to clean out post revisions, drafts and spam comments. Plugins take time to load so make sure you only have the essential ones activated. The Broken Link Checker plugin is a must have but continuously checks your site and slows page speed.
Test Your Site Design and Landing Pages
Here we get into the really professional idea of A/B testing. If you’re really serious about improving your blog and want to reduce bounce rate, then you need to be testing your design and message. It’s something the professionals do while everyone else just talks about it.
A/B testing is about trying out two versions of a design or message to see if either results in better readership statistics or improved conversion. You can test just about anything including ad placement, where you put calls to action, menu layout and color scheme.
A/B testing of pop-up boxes and opt-in forms is easy through the MailMunch application, allowing you to test different placements and color schemes.
Just using these five strategies to reduce bounce rate can make a big difference in reader engagement and ultimately conversion rate on your blog. Don’t wait to start implementing the ideas. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll see your blog traffic grow!