It’s every blogger and webmaster’s dream to rank high in the search results. Position of a website in search result is governed by several algorithms and techniques. One such major metrics which is being used now-a-days by modern search engines is the Bounce rate.
What is Bounce rate?
Basically bounce rate is decided by the measure of the speed with which a visitor leaves it. The more time a visitor spends on your website, the less is your bounce rate. Decreased bounce rate is observed as your website is able to engage visitors.
For example, If a visitor opens your website and closes it immediately, it would be considered as your content wasn’t quality stuffed. In this condition your bounce rate would be 100%. Search engines want websites to provide quality rich and engaging content. Hence increased bounce rate would gradually degrade your search rankings.
Bounce rate is now considered as a metric to decide the quality of content on your website. It is believed that quality posts will hold visitors longer on your website.
How to Reduce Bounce Rate and be more Engaging
When bounce rate is getting so much appreciation around the web-town, you need to reduce your website’s bounce rate to rank high in search results.
The less is your bounce rate, the more engaging is your content. Engaging content can hold visitors for long on your website. There are several online tools to measure your bounce rate. The most accurate of all being Google analytics.
To begin reducing bounce rate of your website, you first need to know your website’s bounce rate. If you’ve integrated Google analytics in your website, it would be as easy as a walk in park.
Note – Alexa.com also provides estimated count of bounce rate. I suggest you should use Google analytics instead of alexa.
How to reduce bounce rate?
Below mentioned are some of my time tested tricks with which I reduced the bounce rate of my blog ~
Write quality content ~ what is the most common reason behind a reader leaving a website? The content for sure …
If your content is quality stuffed, it will surely engage readers. The more time a user will spend reading your posts, the lesser your bounce rate graph line will get.
One of my previous articles “How to Craft a perfect blog post” will surely provide you hot-shot tricks to produce quality content.
Producing quality content isn’t easy. It is something you will learn over-time. It is the content itself the reason that majority of the blogs in the blogosphere aren’t making money. Alternatively you can also hire a freelance writer to write quality articles on your website.
The average length of a post on this blog is around 1000 words. Writing long blog posts lets you explain the complete topic in one article. If you aren’t able to explain your subject clearly and properly, the reader will surely leave your website (and yes this increases your bounce rate).
Quality rich posts explain the subject clearly. Writing quality content is one of the best white-hat techniques which can reduce your bounce rate.
Make your posts human friendly ~ What is a website if humans can’t understand it. The main aim of every website is to reach humans. Hence it is essential that your content is human friendly instead of being bot friendly.
To make a post more readable for humans ~
- Divide your post into different sections by headings and sub-headings.
- Add lists, bullets, buttons and other formatting options.
- Use different colors on texts if needed to make the text stand out.
- Use images to make steps clear where essential. An image is truly worth thousand words.
- Embed videos in your posts to make subject as clear as possible.
- Ask questions / ask for feedbacks to increase user engagement and hold them longer.
- Add buttons for specific actions instead of usual text.
Add related posts ~ Adding related posts below posts is believed to hold readers longer on your website. You can also embed related posts between the post itself to increase user engagement.
Linking to previous posts ( Inter-linking ) is another awesome way in which you can hold your valuable readers for long.
If you are using wordpress, you can add related posts quite easily. Plugins such as Yet another related posts plugin ( YARP ) can help you embed related posts easily in your wordpress blog.
Related posts with thumbnails receive more CTR (click through rate) when compared to text only related posts.
You might have noticed that this blog has no related posts at all. This is because I want reader to engage with me in the comments. However I do link to my previous posts to engage visitors.
There are couple of WordPress plugins which let you launch a pop-up when a user is about to leave the website. It is the best way you can convert a reader into subscriber.
The pop-up will surely hold your visitor for a bit long ( if the pop-up is not irritating ) and once you convert a visitor into subscriber, you can always send him valuable stuff over email and increase engagements with that user.
Know where readers are going out from ~ To hold readers for long, first know where readers are leaving your site.
One of the most effective ways to know where readers leave your website is by installing “Funnels” on your website. You can install this tool from Hotjar, one of my tools in the toolkit. You can read my Hotjar review to take a look of its features.
Funnel is one of amazing backend tracking option available in Hotjar. Through this tool you know from which page of your website readers mostly leave. It is wise to know your weak points. Use funnel wisely and find out which page is responsible for throwing out readers from your website.
Once you know your weak page, fix it with recommendations mentioned above.
How long your post engage readers ~ If you are a serious blogger who writes long posts, you must have the knowledge about how much portion of your post gets read.
For example if you publish a 2000 words post, readers will mostly not read the complete post. After a point, they will loose interest and scroll to the bottom.
To know how much of your post gets engaged, use heatmaps. Again you can use heatmap option from hotjar to know how much percent readers really read 100% of your post.
Once you know after which point readers loose interest in posts, work hard to fix it up.
Improve web-site design ~ There is one thing I learned in the high school. No matter how correct and appropriate your answer is, if your hand-writing is bad, you are going to loose some marks.
The same works for web-design as well. If your website has a poor design, reader might not continue to read your content. Keep your website’s design clean and simple.
There are thousands of free themes for all blogging platforms. But there is a bold reason why pro’s spend dollars on professional design. Your website design should be both bot and human friendly.
A theme can be made SEO friendly from backend. To make it human friendly, make sure the post is clearly visible. Carefully use color-schemes.
Remove annoying ads ~ Advertisements aren’t the only way to earn money online! There are dozens of ways you can make money online.
Always value reader first instead of money. It is the reader that brings value to your website.
A website stuffed with ads in every possible place looks shabby. Most of the times the reader will get pissed off and close the website immediately.
Ad types such as in-text ads, pop-up ads, pop-under ads, floating ads are the best way to destroy readership. If you are using any of these ad types, remove them away immediately.
Suppose a reader clicks on an advertisement on your website, you get 25 cents and loose the reader…..
If you are serious in visitor engagement, you should probably remove nasty advertisements from your website. Instead of them, you can promote your own products in those places.
The need for speed ~ Did you know that 80% readers will leave a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load ?
Amazing, isn’t it ?
Well, nobody likes a slow website. Even search engines love a websites which load fast. Readers also love website that load fast.
I have worked a lot on tweaking this blog for speed. The best I could achieve was 105ms ( which was quite satisfactory ). [ Measured on pingdom tools ]
There are dozens of methods and tricks to speed up your website. The best you can do is use premium web-hosting.
You can also hire a freelancer to tweak your website for speed. I’ve worked with quite a number of developers. One fine name I remember is Rakesh kumar, the father of WordPress’s fastest theme. While I was writing this post, rakesh came forward to help my readers. He usually charges $40 to optimize a website for speed, but you can get your website optimized in $20 ( Flat 50% off for Hacknovations readers ). You can visit him over at binarynote to see his work and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org to hire him.
Measure what you did ~ Use the recommendations mentioned above for at least one month time period and measure your bounce rate again on Google analytics. If you really follow every recommendation, I am sure it will decrease your bounce rate to some extent.
Final words ~ Reducing bounce rate and engaging visitors isn’t an easy task. Work hard and be consistent to get results.
I’ve put quite a lot of efforts in reducing my bounce rate as well ( and I am still working on it ).
If you have any tips and tricks regarding visitor engagement or methods to reduce bounce rate, tell me in the comments below.
Any type of suggestions, feedback and opinion on this article is welcomed in the comments below.