Is Your Bounce Rate Killing Your Blog?

What is bounce rate?

Bounce Rate is the total number of visitors that view one page divided by the total number of page visits. If you have Google Analytics installed then I’m sure you’ve looked at this number before, but if you’re like me you may have paid little attention to it at first. I suggest that you reconsider the importance of bounce rate as an indicator of your blog’s health. If people come to your website and never dive into additional content you have then you’re missing out on an opportunity to convert a casual web visitor into a loyal reader.

What is a good bounce rate?

Before we dive into ways to analyze your own bounce rate we should first establish what a good bounce rate is. Based on my research I generally shoot for under 40%, but it all depends on the type of blog or website you have. Whatever your target, it’s important to remember factors that can influence higher bounce rates for any website.

Reasons to bounce:

Unattractive website design, Poor navigation, slow load time, website does not meet searchers expectation (i.e. poor content, doesn’t answer their question), too many annoyances on the page (i.e. pop ups, in text advertising, too many advertising blocks).

Armed with these common reasons why people may leave your blog have you done a good enough job combating them? Do you have a design that’s easy on the eyes? Is it easy to navigate? Does your website load slow? Do you make enough money from the advertising to compensate the annoyance your visitors will face?

How I fight bounce rate:

I use only custom WordPress themes or premium themes and avoid free themes because there are only a few good diamonds in the rough and I don’t care to search for them. I use Click Tale to analyze the primary WordPress theme I use and look for ways to improve on the design based on how users navigate my page – they have a free account program worth checking out. You can also just search for “website navigation best practices” and use the feedback to improve your existing blog’s navigation. I then use Google Webmaster tools to determine my page load time and Page Speed to see which resources create a longer loading time. You may find some WordPress plugins cause a huge bottleneck in page load. I am also a huge fan of caching plugins like this one to decrease load times.

I address all of the above steps because my overarching goal is to get a web visitor to read multiple blog posts and spend as much time on my blog as possible. As long as my content is high quality and engaging then the longer a person stays on my blog the more likely they are to subscribe to it. So what I do is display a mixture of both partial and full blog posts depending on the length of article and topic focus. The way to determine which you should use is simple. Does including a break in the story make a user want to click through? If I believe that it does than I will include a break after introducing the concept in the blog post and setting the hook that incites a user to click through.

Wrap Up

The point of analyzing your bounce rate and asking questions like these is to get a quick feel for the health of your blog. Do people yearn for more content continuously clicking through to stories on your blog or do they look for the exit as soon as they land on your blog?

Expanding beyond bounce rate we can look at other key elements of the blogs health which include pages per visit, average time on site and percent of new visits to get a full blog health checkup, but these are topics for another blog post and in the end I believe it all starts by looking at bounce rate first. Here’s a quick test, if you thought this was an informative article than why not visit my blog Make Money on the Internet where I share my experiences as a full time internet entrepreneur? I’ll post a follow up article on my blog that shows the bounce rate stats from you coming to my blog and I can use that data as a way to improve my bounce rate as well.

The following has been a guest post from full time internet entrepreneur Chris Guthrie. You should follow him on Twitter @ChrisGuthrie and visit his blog where he shares ways to make money online.


40 thoughts on “Is Your Bounce Rate Killing Your Blog?”

  1. Fazreen says:

    I agree about using premium themes. But i think the most important thing is the content itself. It should be powerful enough to make people read till the end and browse old posts. Maybe archive page or sitemap page can help.

    1. Thats why people says that content is king.

      With this I also recommend flickr photos, your top posts segment and similar posts as well.

      1. Flickr is good but top posts and similar posts are better. Linking within the post using tags and other posts is probably the best.

  2. Chris S. says:

    The problem with bounce rate is that it does not account for people who came to your site, found what they were looking for, and then left. I don’t think poor content is the only reason for a high bounce. Obviously though it is better to have more pageviews!

  3. Eric says:

    I think it really depends the type of website your running. A site like this one really gets people reading and therefore your submerged and just continue reading page after page.
    But i am curious to know how many pageviews per visit is good to have because i find that directly relates to a better bounce rate.

    What do you guys think?

  4. Yes I agree the content is important, but that topic is covered so much I wanted to focus on the other areas that cause people to leave quickly.

    As an example, if you visit my blog I just recently set up a CDN so now the website should load incredibly fast. It’s already been proven that page load times help a ton with visitor retention rates.

  5. Carlo says:

    This is great information! I also think the whole “bounce rate thing” is a topic that a lot of bloggers wonder about, but have no clue as to what to do to truly make their blog an efficient, great place for users to stop by. Thanks for writing this.

  6. Also, I just realized that if I told you I plan to run an experiment on my blog and you know ahead of time than the results will be skewed.

    In either case, I’ll be sure to show a follow up post on reducing bounce rate for my blog and reference this post.

  7. Charles says:

    Well I have a bounce rate of 65% and I use a simple template although it is easy to navigate on. I need to get a premium theme but it hurts conversion rates a little with my last site.

  8. How do we know if our blog has a good/bad bounce rate as compared to other blogs in our niche?

  9. Bounce rate is something that many definitely overlook…being able to optimize that can help with SERP results

  10. fas says:

    BOunce rate also accounts to people who landed there by mistake.

  11. d3so says:

    I agree, that premium themes are important if they are easy to navigate through. Content is also important; there has to be enough relevant content to what the visitor searched for.

    1. lol Im usually on this site for an hour at a time atleast so there you go.

  12. M. Vaughan says:

    This holds true to any website – I think a lot of marketers don’t realize how much their bounce rates say about their readers, or how they can improve their content.

    Great post!

    1. Thats why smart bloggers kept their best in front of their visitors like a smart shop keeper do.

  13. Bounce rates are horrible, but hard to combat. Need to keep testing different calls to action.

    Great post!

  14. A very timely guest post as I was getting concerned about the high bounce rate for my site. Thanks for the link to ClickTale. Have already signed up for the free account to see how it goes.

    1. I think Good Analytics should also install such kind of options.

  15. It all depends on the content. For instance one of my sites have a 70% bounce rate because the main content is on the first page. But I don’t get too excited about it. As said here, you will not get google slapped or anything just for having a high bounce rate. It’s just a measurement to show you is your website sticky 🙂

  16. Karl says:

    Hmmm..I dunno I’m getting a 30.64% bounce rate. http://www.theinternetpocket.com but it’s a social network for users so they have to sign in. That helps a lot having a sign in page.

  17. But — I think high bounce rate is great as long as the traffic click our Google Adsense.

  18. Etrustca says:

    Great i’ve never thought bounce rate was that important and a great way to gauge site viewing timings.

    The time average time spent on a page should also be important and an average of 16mins is great.

  19. thanks for your suggestion.

    I am goign to change my theme so taht I cudl get a better bounce rate.

  20. This is interesting! I didn’t know that bounce rate could really hurt your blog but then again, I’d better get Google Analytics! Thanks for sharing. I’m definitely going to have to check out my percentage.

  21. I hear the bounce rate is a killer for most blogs.

  22. Paul Andrew says:

    A really helpful article thanks – I’ll check out that cache plug in now

  23. Interesting topic, thanks for the share

  24. jtGraphic says:

    I usually take my bounce rate graph and multiply my visits graph into it, for a ‘real’ idea of what my visits are. It can be very insightful. It also gives a great idea of what your TRUE readership is.

  25. Vanjo Merano says:

    Bounce Rate data is one of the figures that you should take seriously because this number reflect the user experience of your readers.

    I manage a Food Blog and I am fortunate enough to maintain a low bounce rate. Google Analytics is a good tool to check your bounce rates because you can identify the posts that served as exit points. Knowing the posts where your readers mostly exit is a good thing. This prompts you to review the posts to identify the reasons why your visitors are leaving.
    Poor content and annoying layout are 2 of the reasons why my visitor leave my blog. As soon as I discovered this, I immediately updated the post (adding more important information) and redesigned the pages. After a week, my bounce rate decreased by 5 to 8 percent.

  26. chalikovas says:

    yeah it is really wonderful topic thanks for sharing

  27. Great info, I just recently installed analytics and was wondering the details of the bounce rate.

  28. good topic and something which most of people don’t care about or don’t know it.

  29. I agree.

    This is why they say content is king.

    The more content you put, the less chance visitors have of leaving your site after visiting one page.

    You should ALWAYS try to choose a theme which is user friendly.

  30. hi, this is first time, i visited your blog. It is interesting. I have become your “loyal reader” 🙂
    Yes the issue of bouncing visitors is very critical. i like your idea of using the premium themes instead of free themes. The design or appearance plays an important role.

    The plain, simple to follow layout may help to decrease the bouncing. Because sometimes people are confused because of crowd on the page.

  31. So according to this I think bounce rate of image based websites are very less.

    I think thats why linkwithin plugins are really effective.to minimise your bounce rates.

  32. One major point is also how many blog posts you display on your homepage. As for avoiding free themes, I beg to differ, I use mainly Atahualpa on my niche sites, and it comes with great seo features build in, but more important, it comes without any seo problems build in! SY

  33. Karthick says:

    Definitely this is a good information. Do anyone know when google will update page rank nextly?

  34. I typically bank a 54% bounce rate, which isnt too bad but I’d like it to be lower.

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