Poor bounce rates on a website is one of the easiest ways to bleed pageviews and while sometimes you can’t help it when users leave your site after a quick read there are some “best practices” you can implements in your writing and throughout your sites structure to ensure your bounce rate doesn’t reach astronomical levels.
Keep in mind that there is no “guarantee” that your bounce rate will increase the moment you implement all of these tips, however if you continue to tweak your website following these simple guidelines you should see results over time.
1. Forgetting Internal Leaking
When you have a blog with thousands, hundreds or even just dozens of posts you need to promote those posts. The easiest way to promote your posts is by internally linking to them. When linking within my own articles I look for keywords that focus on the articles main points. For example if an article is about running shoes and I have an article on my site about a new high tech pair of Nike’s I make sure to link the word “running shoes” to my Nike article.
2. Related Posts
At the end of every article on my website I make sure to create a list of related posts that users might find interesting based off the current pages content. Many bloggers like to use plugins for this purpose such as the Linked Within plugin for WordPress or the Outbrain plugin for all websites. While plugins are an excellent option, adding your own “related posts” section allows you to focus in 100% on the content found on your website and let’s users know you are taking the extra time needed to reach that goal.
3. Increase Your Page Load Times
If a visitor has to wait 30 seconds for a page on your website to load it’s likely they will leave your site after reading the first article, if they make it that far. A website caching program such as WP Total Cache for WordPress is a good option for speeding up your website. Better hosting can also go a long way, a VPS solution or a Cloud setup will mean more computing power over most shared hosting systems and will therefore allow for better traffic scaling and therefore faster load times.
4. Streamline Your Pages
If you have an adsense ad in the middle of your article, ads all down the sidebars on your website and ads cluttering up the bottom of your content along with other website widgets and other information it’s likely your site visitor will view your website as nothing more than a splog (blog that was created to spam users with content to sell products or offer ads). I personally use a left to right approach on my website. Since readers move their eyes from left to right by providing all of my content first on the left side of the page and other site information to the right (typically in a sidebar type setup) I’m able to keep my readers attention without having their focus shift from my content to a skyscraper ad on the left side of the page.
5. Kill The Pop-Ups
I understand that pop-ups are sometimes effective in gathering user email addresses and names for marketing blogs and blogs that focus on internet related matters, however those block-ups if bounce rate is your main focus at the moment could be killing your efforts. If you insist on using pop-ups limit them to one page per visitor per day. Most users are use to seeing a full page ad or another pop up on sites they visit however if they appear to become obtrusive visitors are more likely to leave your site after gathering the information they have just read.
6. Brand Your Website
If you’re website looks like it was thrown together in a matter of seconds users are likely to be less trusting of the content you provide. When creating your website be sure to create a commonality among all of the sites components. For example, if you use a certain color blue in your logo use that same color blue in your templates background or element designs. When it comes to navigation make sure your main categories match the content you want to be highlighted and that your users will find the most engaging. Branding a website is about making your web property look as “put together” as possible while matching the type of content you cover.
You can’t force a user to stay on your website, well you could but that would involve technology we don’t support, therefore it’s crucial that you provide users with a clean design users won’t find “crowded” and content they want to engage with. Whether you use human edited related posts to target the best content available or simply choose to spend some time speeding up your website you can help improve your bounce rate over time with just several “best practices” implemented.