Wait! Don’t Jump Off a Cliff Over High Bounce Rates!
Bloggers who understand bounce rates want small numbers. Stressing out may be premature! Sometimes I get discouraged blogging, I mope around the house. Today, it was because I had a bounce rate of 84.9%. Could be worse, right?
Got bad stats? Tip #1
- Put your big girl panties on, tighten your belt, develop a thick skin. It could be worse! Advice may hurt, but so what? Do you want a good blog? Keep reading. Don’t bounce!
When I feel mopey, I jump into research. So, I posted in my Facebook groups, “What do you know about bounce rates? Are you interested in this?”
My hubby laughed. No, not laughed, more of a sarcastic snicker. He asked me, “Now that’s a hot topic! Who do you think is going to read that, Marshamallowpie?”
“I am! I need to know about this stuff.”
I get what my hubby is saying. Not everyone is interested in bounce rates.
But wait! Don’t bounce!
It turns out that several people in the blogging Facebook groups I’m in ARE interested. Bloggers who read their Google Analytics and see their bounce rates look for LOW numbers. Everyone should be interested in this.
How Did I Get High Rates Even If I Didn’t Know I Got Them?
High bounce rates result when readers get to our home page, glance at the titles, and think, “Gotta bounce!”
If that action typifies readers on your blog, then your bounce rate will go through the roof – 90%!
It’s like being in the middle of a conversation at a party, and your buddy suddenly turns and walks away and starts visiting with someone more interesting, pretty, richer, better connected – you name it! Bummer!
- Realize that having high bounce rates are not worth you jumping off a cliff. Learn more about bounce rates.
As a new or hobby blogger, you have probably heard the term bounce rates. If you don’t have Google Analytics, you won’t know what your bounce rate is. If you do care about analytics, you probably assume that the lower the bounce rate, the better, right?
Google defines “Bounce Rate (as) the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).”
Not interacting! No likes, no comments, no sign that they were there except their bounce. So they were bored out of their skulls? Yikes! Kill me now!
Basically, bounce rates = how interested someone is in what you have to say.
Attention WordPress.Com Readers! Eight Tips Just for You!
For WordPress.com readers, there are some easy fixes to add sticky readers to your site whether you write in a specific niche or you stream your thoughts like I do on my .com blog. By easy, I do not necessarily mean quick, or without work, but I do mean doable.
Since this blog is for hobby bloggers AND new bloggers, I want to discuss the easy first.
- If you blog on WordPress.com, the way readers show that they are interested is that they leave a “like” or a comment. Engage with them. Don’t just say thanks. Ask them a question, expand their statement, or tell a story responding to their comment. And don’t leave, “Beautiful” comments on their blog. Tell them why something is beautiful. – Teacher Training 101
- Even better, they will reblog your post on their blog. That way they expose you to their readers and spread your fame. Note to self – share some of your space with them. You meet their friends this way, too.
- Or if they are kind, they might share your post with a tweet or a different share. Another not to self – return the favor.
- They might nominate you for an award. Do I have to say it again? OK nominate them for the next award. Don’t forget to thank them if they nominated you.
- Make yourself a good list of blogs you like. Post it somewhere so others can enjoy your friends. Get my transformation blog template to do this. It helps!
- Join a blogging group on social media. Here is a list of mine. You can add your favorites to it.
- If you’ve tried all that, face the fact, you may need to improve your content. “Rather than saying people aren’t interested when things don’t take off, you should take it on yourself to say, ‘I’m not doing a great job of telling the story in a way that makes it interesting.’ (Eli Parise)”
- If you have trouble telling a good story, try this instead! “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. (Dale Carnegie)”
All of those actions will build a bond between you and readers in the huge blogosphere. You begin to develop community and lower your bounce rate even if you do not realize it. I’ve checked and my bounce rate is pretty normal on my WordPress.com blog.
Since Always Write is still a hobby blog I’ll end this section and use my example of blogging.
I’m not saying that either Hugh or I can’t tell a good story, but consider doing this. I published an interview with author and hobby blogger, Hugh Roberts this week. Terri Webster Schrandt said he was one of her favorite bloggers “just because.” Visit his blog and he will greet you with genuine conversation. He responds to your comments like you are sitting across from him in a recliner. As he speaks, you bend down to pet his dog lying contentedly with his head on your feet as he warms himself by the fireplace. You’ve been there now a total of ten minutes, and you’re in no rush to get away. Result – low bounce rate! So I brought him to my house to visit. Did you stay and visit with him? Did you invite your friends to join in the conversation? He’s still waiting for your comments.
Get ready for a punny story.
I invited a friend of mine over years ago. Her kids went to the bedroom and soon we heard a crash. One too many high bounces on the bed. Popcorn ceiling crumbles all over the bed. That was the end of that visit. She was embarrassed and never came back. That made me sad. That was a high bounce rate!
So don’t bounce, please. 🙂
Sadly, Bounce Rates Affect Self-Hosted Blogs
Daniel added Google Analytics to my Dashboard and suddenly bounce rates boom onto the screen, in big ugly graphs that disagree with my WordPress stats.
Today my bounce rates register in at 84.9%, and honestly, I want to cry and give up blogging. I need a pep talk. Google Analytics, fondly known in pro blogger circles as GA, told me that most of my visitors are new and they are not interested in my posts for longer than 1.08 minutes.
What’s wrong with me?
Before you panic over bounce rate issues, you could have technical difficulties. Trust me when you own your own blog you discover plenty of those! Not that I don’t love my new blog. I do!
- My WordPress.com friend Ralph complained that he could not “Like” my blog.
- He quit commenting for a while because his comments got lost in SPAM.
- Like Ralph, Debby also got frustrated that she couldn’t “like” my posts. She also said my blog took TWO MINUTES to load! That’s horrible! I had to get help!
- Fortunately, they comment about it. I answer back, but they cannot respond without signing back into my site. Now they are really frustrated. Unless they are really good friends, they bounce away. Maybe even good friends bounce away.
That seems pretty normal to me. If something doesn’t work very well, then we get frustrated and leave. I’m lucky that I’ve had some good friends who stick around and tell me about what’s happening on my site. If they did not I would mope around about my horrible content wrongly internalizing my bad bounce rate.
I fixed what I could and complained to WordPress. Daniel, my web developer, helped, too. That is not to discount the possibility that my high bounce rate might relate to my content. Maybe my headlines do not always explain to topic clearly enough. Maybe it IS my content. It would be interesting to have my blog analyzed for being boring.
Do you have friends who do this for you? If not, and you are interested in having that done, leave me a message.
Legitimate Reasons for High Bounce Rates
But there are legitimate reasons for high bounce rates.
In Australia, I noticed people using their cell phones more because I could not use mine excessively. Carol and Leanne read so many blogs and clicked so many Instagram photos on their phones while they did other things that it astounded me. I do the same thing when I’m not roaming on a different continent, but maybe not as efficiently as they did. Mobile phone blog readers create an average of a 60% bounce rate for the blogs they read. Desktoppers only bounce 42% of the time.
Daniel, backs up that statistic.
“There are several possibilities on why a spike in bounce rates can occur. With all the testing of this site, much of the high bounce rate could be directly related to that. The other possibly scenario would be that the post itself was iPhone related, which could have resulted in a lot of new users expecting a more iPhone centric blog. “
Most websites will see bounce rates fall somewhere between 26% and 70%. – GoRocketFuel This website has one of the best explanations of bounce rates as any I’ve read.
Either high or low bounce rates are causes for concern.
Low Bounce Rates Are a Problem, Too?
Bummer! But what if they bounce below 20%. That may be cause for concern, too.
Some possible causes of low bounce rates:
- Duplicate analytics code
- Incorrectly implemented event tracking
- Third party add-ons, e.g. a live chat – GoRocketFuel
Attention NEW Pro Bloggers Fourteen MORE Tips to Improve Bounce Rates!
Self-hosted bloggers are in a different category of blogging than pure hobby bloggers. Typically they offer more information and do less socializing. They still want readers to stick around and engage with them.
- Speed Matters Make sure your blog runs quickly. You can check it on GTMetrix.com. Mine is still only at 80% in spite of optimizing my photos with a plugin called Smushit. Plugins can slow down your blog, too.
- Check the obvious. Content is king. How do you do this without a professional proofreader or blog analyst? Grammarly (affiliate) is great, but it doesn’t check for boring. Try this! Let your articles sit for a few days. Read them out loud. Let someone else read them.
- Make the title clear. Use the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer. (not an affiliate)
- Use Yoast SEO Plugin to set the key word and get help writing the post. (not an affiliate) I read a post today about SEO saying that we need an SEO expert or we will harm our blog status. What do you think about that?
- Join Networking Bloggers or another Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Twitter blogging group. Maria and I are new administrators of this group. (not a spammer self-promoting group) We will talk to you. We are considering opening up the group to analyze each others’ blogs. Does that sound helpful to you?
- Social Media Groups Interact with people in your niche on social media accounts and groups. These are mine on Facebook. Target them for specific posts via a newsletter.
- Newsletters I use MailChimp, but not very well. I’m still learning. Again, your name recognitions makes it less likely that people will bounce. My bounce rate from referrals is only 38%, and many of them do not know me.
- Giveaways Self hosted bloggers build community through free giveaways or newsletters. Remember to add a call to action at the end of the post with a link to a landing page. You can also pin a request at the top of your social media pages. I haven’t done this yet, but Maria does this on her Twitter account.
- Early Call to Action Button Put a call to action in the middle of the post before bouncers bounce. It’s like introducing them to a friend you know they will like, and now you are all in the conversation instead of them turning away and leaving you standing by yourself.
- Add internal links Internal links give readers options if they like your writing. They will check out similar posts. Right new friends? Old friends read every post, so of course, they are going to bounce after giving you the quick run through!
- Bounce Boxes! Sure people have to stay longer to fill out the form. But almost unanimously people despise sign up boxes. I bounce almost every time I see them unless I REALLY want to read the post. If the box won’t go away, I bounce!
- External Links Here’s a tip from Maria Perez. “If you added an external link, one going out of your blog, then make sure you clicked, “Open in a new tab,” when you created the link. If the link sends people to a post on your blog, then uncheck the box that says, “Open in a new tab.”
- Update your blog. If you need to make changes on your links, start with your most popular posts and fix those links first.
- Fix the alt texts or tabs in the pictures, too, adding the keyword phrase in the alt text of the picture.
Are Bouncers Bad People?
Once I began to consider everything as being of potential interest, objects released latent layers of value. (Alain de Botton)
Surprisingly, Vince, bounce rates are interesting to many people. They make you think and check your content and purpose.
Consider this! I’ve bounced, haven’t you? Don’t lie. You do it all the time. You go online because you want a quick answer to a question. You google it, go to the site, read the post or scan it, maybe even take some notes, then you’re off like a rocket. The author did not even know that you loved the post. BOUNCER! CAUGHT YOU!
Here is the good news. Bouncers are not bad people. They have a job to do, they do it and they get back to work. Wise move! Good work ethics.
Conclusion: Holly Hobby Blogger Has a High Bounce Rate
Admit it, Holly, your bounce rate is 78% today. Google Analytics don’t lie.
Yep, it is, Patty Problogger.
Well, aren’t you ashamed? There must be something wrong with your writing. People must not be interested in what you are writing.
Patty, I’m discouraged. BUT I’m working on my writing. I’m using quotes and stats to hook my readers. I tell a good story. I’m going to keep working on my content. And I’m interested in your stories. 🙂
You’re really interested in my stories, Holly?
Yep! You got one for me, Patty?
Nope, Holly, I gotta bounce! Catch ya later! 🙂
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