Tools and Suggestions on how to Lower your Bounce Rate
Last Updated on November 21, 2020 by scottkandh
If you’re new to blogging, you probably don’t have too much familiarization with the terminology Bounce Rate. This blog post talks about the steps you can take to lower your bounce rate and prevent it from going in the other direction.
The first question that needs addressing is: What is Bounce Rate?
What is Bounce Rate?
Bounce Rate is the percentage of single page visits (or web sessions). It is the number of visits in which a person leaves your website from the landing page without browsing any further.
Why should you care about what’s your bounce rate?
One of the fundamental things of blogging is learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). New bloggers should get familiar with the concepts of SEO as soon as they can because it typically takes 3 months for the SEO to take effect. Getting familiar with it and practicing to use it early on will pay big dividends to rank you higher in search engine results. One of the other ways to rank higher in SEO is by lowering your bounce rate. Having a higher bounce rate sends a signal to the search engines that you don’t have a lot of good content.
I wrote this post so that I could learn about lowering my bounce rate. Below is my Bounce rate as of 10/5/2020. The whole reason for doing this post is that I wanted to start driving the bounce rate in a downward direction. At the time I started to develop this blog, I knew there was something called a bounce rate, because its so obvious in Google Analytics by Monster Insights. However, I didn’t know the significance of what’s a good number and what’s a bad number.
What you don’t want on your website is visitors coming to visit, looking around on one page, and taking off. You need to entice your readers with other things on your page so that they navigate to other pages on your website. We’ll get how to do that in a moment.
“The first step to improving your bounce rate is to know what you’re doing wrong.”
Understanding the Bounce Rate
Upon noticing that “my” bounce rate was above 70% and starting to slowly climb in an upward direction is what motivated me to write this post. I needed to figure out what I was doing wrong. Upon researching information on this topic, I discovered that having a bounce rate greater than 70% that there’s no need to panic. You can turn 70% into your favor by getting visitors to merely visit just one more page to get a lower %.
The time to act is when your bounce rates start exceeding 70% on a regular basis. Before we get into looking at the bounce rates for average, not good, and bad keep in mind that if the percentages are high, there were a lot of sessions that were one-page visits. On the other hand, lower percentages mean that visitors to a website were engaged. That “should” be your ultimate goal.
- The best rates: under 40%
- Average rates: 41% – 55% or 41% to 50%.
From information gathered (to write this post), the average rate can range from 41 – 60%.
- Above average rates: 56% to 69%, or 51% to 69%.
- Bad rates: Rates above 70%.
How to lower your Bounce Rate
Below are 22 suggestions to lower your bounce rate which we’ll get into right now. (FYI, I don’t like how WordPress messes up numbering format. Usually the information below would have headings, but I prefer to keep the information laid out in a list because of the formatting issues in WordPress). After I’ve had more practice with WordPress, I’ll update this information so that there’s numbers and headings.
1. Focus on increasing your blogs speed
Look at the blog post: How to look at the effectiveness of your SEO for some helpful insights to help boost your website’s speed.
2. You want to ensure that your website is mobile responsive.
More and more people are using their phones to surf the Internet. A majority of the “new” WordPress themes are mobile responsive. If your website design isn’t mobile responsive, you’ll continue to have a high bounce rate making it hard for your website to get a high ranking in Google.
3. Use Yoast SEO plug-in to increase the readability of your posts.
It’ll analyze your post to look at headings, active voice, passive voice, too many words in a sentence, and much more. The easier your page is read, the better the chances of keeping people from moving to one page to another.
4. Use Images
For the topic of readability above, you can also images (in your posts) to break up the text so that it’s more visually appealing. If you have lists, break them up with numbers or bullets. Visit the link below for 20 recommended places to get free stock images.
5. Add links that are relevant to your posts.
After reading your posts, you should suggest to your visitors where they need to go next. There are several ways to do this.
6. Use widgets or plug-ins to put in your most popular posts into your sidebar. One of my favorite plug-ins is WordPress Popular Posts. Here’s a link to a blog post about 25 Blogging Tools for WordPress.
7. Also use Recent Posts that’s built-in to WordPress. If you’re Looking for a Recent Posts widget just as featured-packed as WordPress Popular Posts, you can try Recently! The advantage to using the Recently plug-in is that it’ll add in categories and number of views for the post.
8. Install the Plug-in: Jetpack for WordPress
This is a very powerful plug-in with lots of free options (including one to use Related Posts). The Related Posts will be featured at the bottom of the posts automatically (provided you enable the option).
If you have a lot of posts, you can start with your Top 10 posts driving traffic to your website. Place more links to other places (on your website) that are related. Give the readers what they want.
9. Install the Plug-in: upPrev.
When visitors get down near the bottom of the page (the point that your visitor is approaching 70% of the bounce rate), the program recommends different posts to look at. You can see this in action by scrolling down near the bottom of the page to see it for yourself. FYI: I installed this plug-in on 10/5/2020 and the one below as well (Inline Related Posts) and my bounce rate has slowly changed to 72.6. I know it’s not stellar, but at least it’s not going in the other direction and with time I believe it’s going to come down gradually. At one point (before writing this post) my bounce rate was as high as 79%.
10. Install the Plug-in: Inline Related Posts:
I love, love, love this plug-in. There’s a free version that has basic text options and the paid version (like the one I’m using) that has an image from the blog post to make it pop.
11. Yoast SEO Plug-in:
Lastly, you can manually add related posts to the bottom of your posts. Personally, I like to add them within the body of the post. One of the best ways to do this is to install the Yoast SEO Plug-in. (I don’t recollect if the free version does this or not, because I’ve been using the Premium version for so long). The part I’m referring to is called Internal Linking suggestions. It will suggest posts for you to add. If they don’t fall naturally into your post, you can add the suggestions to the bottom of your post.
What the picture above doesn’t represent is that it will also suggest posts that you need to add to your cornerstone posts. A cornerstone post is a post that is pivotal to your website and is usually one of your longer posts with lots of content. To set up a cornerstone post, you just slide the “is this a cornerstone post” button to the right (from no to yes).
12. Install the Plug-in: Easy Table of Contents (TOC)
This makes it easier for people to navigate on your website. Especially useful if you have an exceptionally long post for smart phones. In order for this to work, you’ll need to ensure that you use H1 and H2 headings in your post. Then the Table of Contents is automatically inserted into your post (you won’t be able to see the TOC in the edit mode; however, the table of contents will be visible once it’s published).
13. Update some of your older posts.
You need to review your older posts to ensure that they aren’t out of date and that they don’t contain obsolete or old information. There’s a plug-in called WP Last Modified Info. It adds the last modified date and time automatically on pages and posts very easily.
“Many popular blogs and websites don’t show any date on their articles. This is a bad practice, and you should never remove dates from your blog posts. So now it is possible to add last modified/updated info on your WordPress posts and pages. Just install and activate this and configuration is very easy.” – WP Last Modified Info page.
14. Open your external links in a new tab
By default, your posts are set that they won’t open to another tab. If your external post is enabled and you don’t open it to another window or tab, it’s seen as a bounce. After they’re done and they’ve closed the page, they have a chance to come back to your site and continue browsing (if you’ve set it to open to another a tab – slid to the right).
15. Work at your grammar skills.
The easiest and simplest way to do this is by the program called Grammarly. It’s not a plug-in. It’s an extension that gets installed into your browser. It works seamlessly in the background and points out spelling and grammar errors.
16. Write longer posts:
Keep visitors coming to your website longer by writing longer posts that give them more chances and opportunities to click to other pages. Not only do you have the increased chances of having people longer on your website, Google prefers longer content which leads to better rankings. What’s a good range (in terms of the number of words)? Good question. 1,500 – 3,000 words should be sufficient.
17. Website navigation:
One of the best ways to lower your bounce rate substantially is by ensuring that your visitors get to where they want in as few as three clicks or less.
18. Search boxes:
Make sure that your search box is in a prominent place for them to see. Make it clearly visible. This might sound funny, but you don’t want your users searching for the search box. By having the search box in a place that’s easy to find, your visitors can find what they’re looking for to help reduce your bounce rate.
19. Turn off your pop-ups:
I have to admit I love pop-ups and was guilty of having too many pop-ups. At one point, I had three pop-ups in a row. You don’t want pop-ups covering up the words on the page. Most of the time when I see a pop-up, I turn it off. By having too many pop-ups you risk the possibility that your visitor will get annoyed and quickly leave. If you insist on pop-ups at least try to adjust the timing so that there’s a longer delay on the pop-up displaying (i.e. 45 seconds to 1 minute). Key point! Don’t chase away your visitors.
20. Update your plug-ins:
Ensure that you keep your plug-ins up-to-date. If you’re not using a plug-in get rid of it.
21. Create series posts:
A series post is a post broken up into multiple posts (for items that are more in-depth subjects). By having a series post, the visitors will have to go another page (the whole purpose of trying to reduce your bounce rate).
22. Create a solid landing page:
Your landing page should have good quality content, links to other pages, and Call to Action (CTA) buttons in the right spots. Look carefully at the color scheme of your page to make sure it’s visually appealing (i.e. your links, and the size of your fonts on the page).
Here’s a couple of links to some related posts: