Bounce Rate: 18 Tips To Make Your Blog Sticky – Business Review Center

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On November 19, 2012
Last modified:November 27, 2012

Summary:

Does your blog have a pulse?
As most of us know, a low bounce rate is an important sign of a healthy blog.
When we try to indicate why we should care, how exactly it affects our blogs, and what we can do about it, then the confusion starts.
Firstly,

What Is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate, Google bounce rate, analytics bounce rate, Google analytics bounce rate are different ways to describe the way to measure the quality of your website traffic.
Essentially, the bounce rate of your site tracks the number of visitors, who visited your website and then left in a hurry.
It’s not a good thing.
Google defines bounce rate as follow:
Bounce rate indicates the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance/ landing page.”
The lower the bounce rate is better, and this also means more of the visitors are clicking through to other content on your website.

Bounce rate is measured in two ways:

  • The first is the number of visitors, who visited your website and never clicked over to different pages within your site.
  • The second is the amount of time that a visitor spends on your site. Normally, anything under 5 seconds counts towards your bounce rate.

Why Bounce Rate Is Important?

As I mentioned above, your bounce rate is considered as a good indicator of the quality of traffic coming to your website.
It shows how engaged the visitors are with your site, and how much power in both good and bad way your site has.
Usually, lower bounce rate is great; this means you are right doing a lot of things.

With higher bounce rate, you need to think about increasing the “Sticking Power” of your website.

 bounce-rates

What Is Acceptable Bounce Rate?

No, there isn’t such thing.
How much money is enough? – Just one more dollar.
When is the bounce rate good? Right after one visitor bounces.
Then, you get the point.
Let me show you some instances.
The bounce rate of my blog used to be at 30-40% when I first started.
It is at about 70% right now.
So, the question is that why did it go up?
As I believe, the more popular your blog gets, the more diverse traffic it receives, and the more likely SEO traffic to bounce.
For example: my direct traffic is likely to be qualified as bouncers, as they mostly come to my site by typing my URL in the address box.
Why?
Just because they are likely my regular visitors and readers, who visit my blog to check out my recent posts and leave just after reading them.
So, usually, the direct traffic seems to grow hand-in-hand with your blog.
Search engine traffic is also likely to bounce.
When your blog grows, it will be ranked for more relevant keywords, some of which you might not know how you ranked for. Though, those keywords might bring you traffic, it will not be targeted.
Let’s take an exam, if I mention a song in my blog post and luckily all of a sudden started ranking for it, however, the searchers for that song won’t likely be interested to learn about making money online, so they leave as soon as they come, thus increasing my bounce rate.
There are some legitimate factors that might affect your bounce rate, which you cannot really do anything about.
There are two more examples of bounce rates for you.
Two other bloggers that I have asked (they own bigger blogs than mine), both said that their bounce rate is at about 82% and even higher than mine.

Your bounce rate might be “within the norm” now, but it can always be better, as more likely than not.

The Best Way To Measure Bounce Rate

With all nuances above, it can be difficult to judge whether your bounce rate is too high or acceptable.
There’s a little trick I can show you that might bring you a clear picture of the bounce rate on your website.
Go to your Google Analytics and click on “Visitors” ==> “New VS Returning” from your dashboard.

new-visitors

Now, you separated all the return visitors from the new ones. The return visitors are people, who are already familiar with you and are likely to check out your latest post and leave. Therefore, you can see much better how that segment of your traffic engage with your website.
If you see that your bounce rate for the new visitors is below your overall blog bounce rate, then you are doing well.

Other Ways to Measure Bounce Rate

Well, bounce rate is one of great way to measure quality. I suggest you take a look at some of these stats below.

BOUNCE RATE BY KEYWORDS

This is an important metric to be aware of for those of you, who drive search engine traffic back to your blog.
Obviously, it’s great to be listed for keywords.
However, is the content of your page on the mark for the keyword? And does the search engine user find what they look for in your post?
In fact, if you realize that any of your keywords has a particularly high bounce rate, then it is time to get editing. (Check out for the use of SEO keywords)
What searchers would desire to find when searching for this particular keyword? – You should ask yourself about that and then deliver it in your post.
To check this metric, you should go to Traffic Sources ==> Keywords, under Search > Organic in your Google Analytics. Now, you can see which keywords brought the most visitors to your site through organic search together with their respective bounce rate. You can also see which landing pages that the keywords lead visitors to by just clicking on the Landing Page link above the data, and selecting Keyword on the Secondary Dimension dropdown.
With this way, if your different keywords leading to the same page, then you can see which searchers receive the information they want on the related landing page, and which keywords make them wish to keep browsing your site based on the landing page content. (Check out for more information about keyword research)

BOUNCE RATE BY CONTENT

This is another great way to evaluate which pieces of content skyrockets your bounce rate.

bounce-rate-by-content

By taking your pick here, you can analyze by Top Content, Top Exit Pages or Top Landing Pages.

Can Bounce Rate Be Low?

The answer is YES.
A blogger I know was boasting about his 1.5% bounce rate.
If your bounce rate is anything close to that, it is not because of your brilliant traffic conversion strategies, I must to tell you.
You do likely have Google Analytics code pasted twice on your page, then it causes all your stats wrong.
That’s exactly what the problem of that man was as well, to his bummer.

If That’s Your Problem, so How To Find Out?

1. You should check your home page source.

Let me show you where to find your page source in Firefox and Chrome for Mac, because each browser has a different way to do it.
Firefox:

page-source-Firefox
Chrome:

page source Chrome
If you currently use a different browser, then figure out where your “Page source” tab is.

2. Search for Google Analytics code:

Your home page source might look like a bunch of jibberish if you are not familiar with HTML. Then you need to do a quick search for keyword “google-analytics.com“, once you have got your home page source up. 
On Mac, to get the search tab show up at the bottom of the screenshot I press “command F”, then add my keyword, and press “Highlight All“.

GA-search
And now you can see all the instances of your GA code installed.

3. Fix it.

The simple examples of doubling up on your Google Analytics tracking code are:

  • Manually embedded it into your theme, then, installed Google Analytics plugin.
  • Added your tracking code to both Google Analytics plugin (if you have it running), and All-in-One SEO pack.

In the case of the blogger that I mentioned above, he was using two SEO plugins that are WordPress SEO by Yoast and All-in-One SEO pack, and both of them contained his Google Analytics tracking code.
In my opinion, there is no need to have two SEO plugins because it is redundant and may slow down your blog.
Then, if you also in that case, delete one of the codes and your bounce rate can sky-rocket easily.

11 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rate

Now, you get all the basics about what is bounce rate and how to track it on your blog.  It is time to get down to business: how do you lower your blog bounce rate?
Making your readers click on more than one page on your blog  with the following set of tips, which will help you decrease your bounce rate.

1. ENTICE READERS TO COMMENT

Commenting can decrease your bounce rate, but How?
When someone leaves a comment on your blog, they are either redirected to another page on your blog (it depends on how you have your system set up) or the page refreshes.
And that, your reader has just visited more than one page on your blog, and that also decreased blog bounce rate.
Here are just a few ways to get your readers to comment more:

  1. Always ask for the comment at the end of every post. 
  2. Also, ask a question.
  3. Give away freebie to commentators.
  4. Make your blog a dofollow one. 
  5. Use CommentLuv and KeywordLuv on your blog. 
  6. Answer all comments on your blog.
2. ENTICE READERS TO SUBSCRIBE

It’s like kill two birds with one stone: you can build an email list and also decrease your bounce rate both with just one shot.
When someone subscribes to your list, they are redirected to a thank you page or a “Please confirm your subscription” page, thus they are visiting on your blog more than one page.
Some ways to achieve higher opt-in rates:

  1. Create your optin forms and put them available everywhere. 
  2. Give away a your own freebie, like a free report or free SEO e-book in my case. 
  3. Use a plugin like WPSubscribers to auto-populate the name and address fields in your opt-in forms, like you most likely see on all forms on my blog. This simple feature alone increases subscription rates. 
  4. Use the same WPsubscribers plugin in order to add a check box to your comment section. That will allow your commentators to subscribe when commenting. 
  5. Start with a good autoresponder service if you have no idea about where to start with building your list (check out my Aweber review). The service allows you to design whatever optin forms you need and also give you a simple string of code to add to your blog to activate them.
3. USE INTERNAL LINKING

You should always link to related posts within your own written posts,  like I have done in this one.
It does not only reduce bounce rate, but also might help you to rank better for your chosen keywords.
Let’s take a look at my post on deep linking types and off-page factors to learn more about this technique.

4. OPEN EXTERNAL LINKS IN NEW WINDOWS

Even among bloggers who should know better, this is still a common mistake.
If your blog contains any links leading to external sites, whether in your sidebar or within posts, you should always make sure those links open in new windows.
Always make sure this box below is checked, if we are talking about the links within your posts:

external-links
Remember to add the target=”_blank” attribute to those links, if it’s the sidebar links, like affiliate offers or social media icons.
This is what it should look like:
<a href=”http://www.facebook.com/BusinessReviewCenter” target=”_blank”>
Opening all external links in new windows can keep your readers don’t just wander off your website. If the readers have to come back to original page at some point, then your original page they clicked away from still remains open in their browser.

5. WISELY USE YOUR SIDEBARS

In order to add a few links to some of your best content, sidebars are always a great place to make sure your blog readers have something to click on when they look for ways to explore your blog.
As I see, many bloggers give their readers too many options, for instance, adding too many widgets to their sidebars.
When it comes to reduce bounce rate, it’s better to stick with “Popular Posts” widget because everyone wants to see the best or at least most talked about content.

6. DISPLAY SEARCH BOX PROMINENTLY

Have you ever been on a blog site where you look for particular information, but there is no search box?
 That is such a big mistake.
Keep in mind to provide that option to your readers; your bounce rate will say thank you for it.

7. USE EXCERPTS FOR YOUR HOME PAGE

By scrolling down your home page to see the recent posts you’ve published, your readers can evaluate your site then decide if they want to stick around and read more.
That’s the reason why it’s a whole lot better for your bounce rate if you offer your readers a variety of posts (up to 10) to choose from rather than displaying 2-3 long posts.
By an excerpt, if they are short, I mean at most 2-3 sentences, maybe 1-2 paragraphs.
On the other hand, your visitors might get tired of scrolling and simply leave if your posts on the home page are too long.

8. AVOID DISTRACTIONS

Pop-ups, external toolbars, like peel-off ads, or your Twitter stream all create distractions that might affect your traffic conversion and bounce rate in the end.
Text link ads fall in the same category can also decrease pageviews.

google-analytics-bounce-rate

9. MAKE YOUR 404 PAGE ATTRACTIVE

Yes, pages go missing when mistakes happen.
In this case, it’s necessary to capture your visitors that encountered the 404 page and redirect them to the page that they can find the information they look for.
Put a few links on your 404 not found page that your readers might find helpful.
Let them look up the topic that brought them to your blog to begin with by adding a search box to it.
Remember that do not let them bounce off your blog and look for the info anywhere else.

10. SHOW RELATED POSTS

Displaying related posts is another good way to boost your click-throughs and reduce bounce rate.
There are many plugins that can do the job well. I recommend you to choose one that support you an option to show up posts by category.

If you are wondering what I use for my cool-looking after-post box that includes my related posts on my blog, then it is custom designed for my blog.
If you desire to have it, I will put you get in touch with the designer who did mine.

11. CREATE “ABOUT” PAGE

About page is one of the most visited pages on any blog, next to your home page. (Visit to check out our “about” page)
Keep in mind you display the link to your “about” page in the top navigation bar, just because it just might be what the visitors wish to click on next, therefore decreasing your bounce rate.

7 More Ways to Decrease Bounce Rate

Anyone who stays on your blog for just a few seconds can increase your bounce rate. I suggest you pick up the following tips, which focus more on keeping your visitors reading.

12. REMEMBER TO HAVE A TAGLINE

Another big mistake that many bloggers make is not including a tagline next to their title or in the blog header itself, explaining what the blog is about and how it would benefit the visitors in just a few words.
When looking at the tagline in the header, then any new visitor will instantly know what the blog is about.
If the tagline just says “Welcome to my blog!”, then you can’t expect to see too many visitors to scroll down actually.
Notice that a good tagline is all about the benefits to your visitors, not you.

what-is-bounce-rate

13. FOCUS ON CLEAN LAYOUT AND DESIGN

The appearance of your blog alone can attract your visitors to stay or leave. (Visit my blog site if you interested)
Busy header, sidebars, social media widgets, tons of ads are out.
Clean, professional, uncluttered design is in.
For those exact reasons, many blogger (including me) recommend Thesis theme for better bounce rate.

14. READABILITY

Make sure your site is easy on the eye, and is visually stimulating and bounce rate friendly. Following are some simple steps that you can take:

  1. Choose your own easy simple font.
  2. As always, the best way is to go for dark font on light background (black on white is usually considered). On contrary, one of the worst choices for conversion is white on black.
  3. Write your content as if the audience is a bunch of second-graders. 
  4. Use short and simple sentences. 
  5. At most, use short paragraphs of about 2-3 sentences. 
  6. Use numbers, headings, bullets to organize your content better. 
  7. Break up the text by using images.  

All these things really place a great effect on how long your visitors may stay.

15. CLEAR NAVIGATION TO THE REST OF THE SITE

Notice that you should have an easy to see and use main menu. For example, your visitors might want to check your company information or your phone number listed on your contact page before making a purchase. If they can’t easily find these info they might leave.
To have the main company logo link to the site homepage has now become common practice. At least make it easy for people to find their way home to start again, if all these fail and your visitor can’t found what they want.

16. TESTIMONIALS

Make use of a well-placed testimonial to figure out that other “real people” have had a good experience or some kind level of success with your products or services. Human nature is that the user might feel like they also wish to achieve this success.

reduce-bounce-rate

17. IMPROVE YOUR PAGE LOADING SPEED

No one likes to wait for a page to load, so that this one can hugely affect your bounce rate. If possible, your page should take no more than 6 seconds to load.
Following are some quick tips for you to take back to your blog and implement right now:

  1. Update WordPress to the latest version, and all your plugins as well. (Check out for free WordPress service)
  2. Delete your plugins without mercy. It has to go if you don’t have to have it. 
  3. Sparingly use your videos. 
  4. Optimize all your images using WP Smush. 
  5. Dump external ads, if you are not making decent money with them. Boost your loading speed, avoid distractions, and decrease your bounce rate
  6. Install W3 Total Cache to cache all aspects of your website and speed up overall performance.

18. YOUTUBE VIDEOS & BLOG BOUNCE RATE

There are several things to make sure to do if you use a lot of videos on your blog:
When embedding the code, you should turn off the related videos feature.
To make your video non-clickable and stop loosing your traffic to YouTube, all you need to do is to use the old style embed code and change some things in the code string.

Bounce Rate – Marketing Takeaway

Bounce rate is not good for SEO, traffic conversion, as well as your bottom line.
However, to keep the bounce rate of your blog as low as possible just where we want to keep it, I think the tips above can certainly help you the most.

Did I succeed? Leave comment to show me that you’re alive!

About Tony Nguyen

Tony Nguyen is the founder of Business Review Center. Since 2011, he has managed a team that has collected customer feedback and complaints on digital products, then tested products, and written product reviews. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, at Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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