Bounce rate is the percentage of people that visit your blog without taking any action whatsoever, whether it’s clicking a link, filling out a form, making a purchase, or leaving a comment. To maintain a “good” bounce rate, you need to continually create engaging content and improve your overall user experience.
What Is a Good Bounce Rate?
A good bounce rate depends on your industry and the type of website you have. Blogs are “content” websites, which means you post articles for readers to consume. You might also monetize your blog content by posting affiliate links or selling products and services. The average bounce rate is 40% to 60% for bloggers which is considered pretty “good’ bounce rate.
Accurate Data & Analytics
It’s also important to understand that your Google Analytics data might be inaccurate if you have multiple plugins feeding to the tool. I learned this one the hard way, even after blogging for many years. I installed a new plugin one day that fed data to Google Analytics (read the fine print!), even though I already had a Google Analytics plugin.
This caused my bounce rate to drop way, way below 50%. It’s unusual to have a bounce rate that good as a blogger, so that was the first clue that something happened. If you see this great of a bounce rate, look at your plugins and see if any are duplicates. However, if your bounce rate is between 40% and 60% (good for bloggers), you might simply create excellent content that people love to read.
9 Ways to Decrease Your Blog’s Bounce Rate
You want to decrease your blog’s bounce rate because a high bounce rate often means there’s a problem; the content isn’t great, readers experience an error when trying to view content, your blog is slow, or the user experience is poor. Knowing why your bounce rate is high can help you make changes to your content that ultimately help you get more traffic and money.
1. Increase Blog Speed
Ever visit a blog that takes forever to load? All you want to do is learn how to make challah bread, but there are so many pop-ups, ads, and data-rich features on the post that you can’t even get to the content before giving up. So instead, you try to find a different challah recipe. You don’t want your readers to have this same experience.
Here are a few ways to increase blog speed:
- Use a caching plugin.
- Keep your plugins to just the essentials.
- Choose a fast web host, like Bluehost or Dreamhost.
- Use an outside video host and embed these videos rather than uploading them directly to your site.
2. Make Your Post Easy-To-Read
What’s easier to read? A textbook, full of long paragraphs and few images, or a magazine article with lots of pictures and short paragraphs? The brain loves symmetry, patterns, and order. If your blog post is a wall of large text, it will be difficult to read. It’s likely the reader will try to find a blog post that’s easier on the eyes.
Try adding these features to your blog posts to make it easier to skim:
- Bullet points (see what I did there?)
- Numbered lists (Pro Tip: Don’t include more than one numbered list in a single blog post as search engines don’t like that)
- Shorter paragraphs
- Little-to-no pop-ups and ads (consider other blog business plan strategies)
3. Look at Other Metrics
Is your bounce rate bad on just one page, or the blog as a whole? If your bounce rate is OK for the site as a whole but is terrible for specific pages, you need to tweak the content on that page.
Additionally, the bounce rate isn’t the only metric to at in Google Analytics to have an understanding of what’s going on with your blog. If your bounce rate looks concerning, check out the blog analytic “session duration.” This tells you how long the average person spends on your site. If the duration is low, it might be that the content you’re posting isn’t great, or it’s irrelevant to the reader.
4. Improve Your Blog’s Navigation
The easiest way to get readers to stick around your blog is to make it simple to explore other areas of interest on your blog. To do this, you need a great navigation menu. Some bloggers even use a “START HERE” button on their menu for readers. This simply tells your reader about you, the purpose of your blog, and steps your reader should take (such as read this blog post first, this blog post next, etc.).
To make a great blog menu, include a button for each blog topic you write about (no more than three to five topics). You also need an about me page to tell your readers a little about yourself and a search tool for readers to look for other content. Read about other essential website pages.
5. Make Your Content Hyper-Relevant
Every time you create a blog post, you probably have a specific keyword or phrase you want to rank for in search engines. You must also pay attention to the keywords you rank for that you didn’t necessarily mean to target.
For example, let’s say you write an ultimate guide blog post all about traveling to Voyageurs National Park near the Minnesota-Canada border. You focus on writing about backcountry camping but happen to mention how the national park also has houseboat rentals. If there is less competition for the phrase “Voyageurs National Park houseboat rentals” than “Voyageurs National Park,” you might rank #1 for that keyword unintentionally and only #7 for the intended target.
Does this mean you should omit any mention of the houseboats? Absolutely not. Instead, you can tackle this in a couple of different ways:
- Write a little more on houseboat rentals and then create an entire ultimate guide on houseboat rentals at Voyageurs National Park. You can then link to this ultimate guide within your article on Voyageurs National Park.
- Choose to beef up the part where you talk about houseboat rentals. You can even make this an entire section within the original article.
This way, you maintain the #1 ranking for that keyword and answer every question a reader might have about houseboat rentals at that national park. They have no reason to click to a different blogger’s article on the subject because you’ve answered their questions. If you are unsure on how to select proper keywords, learn more about how to do keyword research for your blog.
6. Link to Relevant Internal Posts
You’ve written the holy grail of ultimate guides that answers every single question a reader might have about how to use credit cards to travel for free. The reader wants and deserves more. Share related blog posts within your ultimate guide to encourage your reader to explore more on the topic and to stick around your blog when done.
For example, you might link to a post on the top travel rewards credit cards of 2020. You can also link to a blog post you wrote about how to increase your credit score so readers can qualify for rewards cards. I discuss this strategy in detail in this post on blog planning.
7. Optimize Your Blog for Mobile Viewers
Since 2017, the percentage of global website traffic coming from mobile devices (excluding tablets) is around 50%. This means that you can expect to have a lot of mobile traffic to your blog, so be sure to optimize your layout for these readers. To do this, you need what’s called a responsive blog theme (sometimes also referred to as mobile-responsive).
Most themes are already mobile responsive, but some aren’t. A mobile responsive theme will look great whether viewed from a tablet, mobile phone, or a desktop computer. When choosing a blog theme, simply look for one offering this option.
8. Set External Links to Open in New Windows
If you link to another website in your blog post and you don’t have links set to open in a new window, the reader will leave your website. The only way they can get back to your site is if they click the back button or they happen to remember the name of your blog. Don’t do that to readers. Instead, just set your links to open in a new tab/window.
9. Create a Helpful 404 Page
A 404 page is what you get when you try to navigate to a blog page that doesn’t exist anymore. This happens when you delete a blog post or unpublish a page. Most blog themes have a default 404 page that simply states that the page the reader is looking for can’t be found. The reader will likely exit the blog and look for another source to answer their question.
Wouldn’t it be much better if you gave the reader a reason to stick around, even if they come across a 404 page? To do this, include links to your blog’s category pages or “START HERE” page. You can also include a search tool so the reader can try to find a relevant blog post.
Think of a bounce rate as a barometer that measures how receptive your readers are to your blog’s content. If you have a very high bounce rate, chances are that you need to make some tweaks to your navigation menu, the content you produce, and the user’s experience on your site. The good news is that many of these changes take very little time.