Bounce Rate For Beginners: What It Is + How To Keep It Low
New to bounce rate?
I’ll tell you exactly what the term means and why it’s important to keep your bounce rate low.
I’ll also give you some tips to do exactly that, so let’s get to it!
Do you know what your bounce rate is?
Log into Google Analytics or whatever you use for metrics (I personally use both Piwik and Google Analytics).
Now select “Bounce Rate” from the dropdown where it says “Select A Metric”. Your graph should look like this:
What’s A Bounce Rate?
Your bounce rate is the percentage of people who get on your site and only look at one page. In other words, they “bounce”, which is to say they leave without clicking anything.
Let’s say that someone spends 20 minutes reading a long post on your blog. When they’re done reading, they hit “back”. Is it still considered a bounce? You bet it is.
You might be thinking, “Wait up! I want people to read my content. How is it a failure if someone spends 20 minutes on my site, then leaves?”
Look at the big picture: Someone landed on your site, absorbed your content and potentially enjoyed it. But they didn’t enjoy it enough to look at another post, check out your about page, or follow you on social media. They also didn’t click any of your affiliate links or subscribe to your mailing list. In other words, you didn’t get anything tangible out of that visit, and you didn’t acquire a new fan.
They might have gotten something useful out of your content, but you didn’t get anything back from them.
So in many ways, it makes sense for you, the blogger, to be disappointed when someone bounces, be it after 5 seconds or 15 minutes.
Of course it’s an accomplishment that people read your content! But you want your readers to be engaged with your website, your content, and with you. When someone bounces without clicking anything, chances are they already forgot everything about your website the instant they click the “back” button. Nooo!
Why Bounce Rate Is Important
Keep an eye on your bounce rate. Whenever you look at your traffic, always check your bounce rate too. I pay closer attention to mine whenever I implement a major change to my site. For instance recently, I completely changed the theme of my beauty blog and my bounce rate dropped by a few percentage points.
A low bounce rate means that you’re keeping your visitors engaged. You want readers to spend as much time as possible on your site, because that means they’re not only enjoying their experience, but also helping your blog grow (and dare I say, get monetized). It’s a win-win!
Reducing Your Bounce Rate
Of course, your goal is to do everything within your power to reduce your bounce rate as much as possible. Some tips to achieve that:
- Make sure your posts link to your other relevant content.
- Insert something you want your readers to do at the end of the post, be it linking to your other posts or social media.
- On your front page, cut your articles and put them behind a “read more” button. Never post your full articles on the front page.
- Post new content, and do it often. Having new stuff on your front page really helps!
- Make sure your blog looks nice! A blog that looks polished and is well-organized generally keeps visitors on the site.
- Have a responsive theme to ensure that people on phones and tablets stick around, too.
Bounce Rate VS. Device Type
Here’s a little tip! You can use Google Analytics to check out your bounce rate separately for users on desktop, tablets, and phones. Why should you bother? Because based on the results, you can then optimize whatever resolution’s making your people bounce.
Go to Audience > Mobile > Overview.
You’ll see something like this:
My bounce rate is way higher (6% is a big difference in Bounce Rate world) on phones. While this is pretty normal, I still want to optimize my site for readers on their phones. My stats also tell me that my responsive layout for tablet users doesn’t have any major flaws (phew).
I hope this introduction was useful to all you new (and not-so-new) bloggers out there.
Ready for more?
Find out what your ideal bounce rate should be! Read all about it here: What’s A Good Bounce Rate? (+ Others Common Bounce Rate Concerns)