Bounce rate is a very simple metric that shows the percentage of people who exit a website directly from the page they landed on. In other words those are the visitors who view only one page within a website.
It is important to reduce the bounce rate because that way visitors end up spending more time on your site and thus there’s a better chance of them taking action (subscribing, buying a product, etc.).
You can consider the following guidelines to lower bounce rate and hence the overall success of your blog.
1. Display Obvious Goal for Your Blog
If your blog fails to achieve that goal helping first-time visitors understand what your blog is about without reading a single post, then you might rethink your design… or at least your header.
What most bloggers do is they simply include the blog’s logo or just the blog’s name in the header section. But that alone isn’t always descriptive enough to give a good idea of what the reader should expect to see.
One important element you absolutely must have in order to get those more picky folks to scroll down and start clicking is a good tagline. The tagline is basically a short sentence that describes your blog’s topics in a very straight-to-the-point way.
Along with that you should make sure to include a page, dedicated namely to newcomers. That is where you will tell people about your blog, its goals and will also include links to your best articles.
2. Design Wise and Helpful Sidebar
Visitors read an article to find their expected information, if they cannot find such information or they enjoy it, they will probably look for alternative contents in your sidebar.
If you want visitors to click on a link in your sidebar instead of leaving your blog, you should minimize the options on your sidebar. It should be no more than 6-7 posts.
The following are three most important components of a sidebar:
- About the author widget: where you tell the reader a bit about yourself, including your photo, a link to your About page which is a great place to include a subscription form, helping people who clicked on it are obviously interested in you.
- Popular Posts widget: The WordPress Popular Posts widget is a great way to include popular posts, as it allows for a ton of customizations. Less is more – include no more than 6-7 posts because it allows you to display the views or comments of the listed posts. Choose the metric at which your blogs performs better.
- Subscription form: Although not the best converting place, an email opt-in form in your sidebar is still a must.
Be very careful with what else you add to your sidebar. Providing more alternatives will often times result in less decisions and hence a higher bounce rate.
3. Use External Links Strategy
You should include links to other blogs within your posts because:
- It helps you reduce your time to write about specific tools, plugins or software which you can introduce those products via external links.
- External articles might provide more specific information that not everyone would be interested in within the current post.
- It is a good way to give credit for something that you discovered and wrote about.
However, if you include too many external links, visitors might just leave the article and move on to those blogs. That is why you should be very careful with your linking strategy.
Readers might namely need the more in-depth information that the article you linked to covers. That is you should put one or two such links at most.
Additionally if you believe it is worth providing more information about a point you talked about, why not write about it in a separate article instead of linking to an external source?
NOTE: Make sure to configure external links to open in a new window. Although there’s a lot of arguing around this, you end up with lower bounce rates by doing so.
4. Make Related Posts Stand Out
Showing related posts is a great way to keep the visitor browsing longer and in terms lower bounce rate. But there’s a thing – you can improve results further by making that widget stand out.
- Call to action: that is basically the text that says “Related Posts”. You are recommended to increase its font size (using CSS).
- Put it within a box: Focus on the background and the borders of the whole box of the plugins and to change them to something darker. Doing so will ensure that visitors will actually notice the related.
- Work with the margins: make sure to increase the distance between the related posts, the content of the posts and what’s below the related posts widget. Making the box you just styled higher will obviously keep the visitor’s eye on it for longer, giving you a better chance for clicks.
5. Provide Resource Pages
You can create a resource page to provide different options for the visitors.
The resource page should cover a general topic in your niche – something that most of your readers will be interested to see. The page is both useful to the visitor and at the same time it is a good way for you to make some money thanks to the affiliate links you have included.
6. Show off Your Accomplishments
One great way to get people interested in what you have to say (and thus get them to spend more time and view more pages) is by showing off your expertise in one way or another.
The idea is straightforward – when the visitor sees the banner and recalls one of the blogs included there, they are sure to pay a little more attention to the content and see if it lives up to the expectations.
7. Make Blog Mobile-Usable
Being mobile friendly is ideal, but being mobile usable is critical. Blogs can still be effective as long as content can be accessed and used from a mobile device or tablet.
Furthermore, mobile usability can only mean the language on your site simple and clear enough that people on the go (on mobile devices), still making sense of what they need to do to find information and at the very least contact you if necessary.