There are a lot of components that go into your blog analytics. Page views, users, sessions, and bounce rate are all a part of it. But unlike the others, you want your bounce rate to be low, not high. Bounce rate is the percentage of people who view one page of your blog and then leave, aka bounce. Understanding your bounce rate is important because it helps you figure out if people are interested in individual posts or your blog as a whole.
I’ve dealt with a wide range of bounce rates over the year(s) that I’ve been monitoring my blog traffic, but generally is has been below 40%. Most recently, in August it was around 26%, and right now (September 21), it’s below 11%. Today I’m sharing the different tools I use to keep it low so you can lower yours, too, and increase your page views.
Link to other posts and pages – This can be done in a variety of ways, and I mostly do it in two ways. One is that I link to relevant posts throughout the post if applicable, like how the word August above links to my August Blog Traffic Report post and the link to all blog traffic posts. The other way is including links to related posts at the bottom of each post. I do this as well as using widgets (which I will talk about, too) because this way I can include posts that I know are relevant to the post itself. The widgets sometimes include posts that are kind of related or just generally in the same category.
Related posts widget – But having a related posts widget is super helpful, too. By using this as well as manually choosing related posts, I can link to a whole bunch of similar posts that range from really similar to kind of similar. I use the plugin Advanced Recent Posts, and WordPress also provides an option to show related posts.
Related posts with Disqus – I use Disqus for comments on my posts, and one of their features is providing related posts. These show up under the comments section, so once you’ve left a comment (or just read the comments that are there), you can see related posts. You’ll notice that all of the related posts options show different posts.
Popular posts on sidebar – This is super helpful! These are your most popular posts for a reason; people like to read them. Having a list on your sidebar puts them in the face of people as they read your posts. I suggest having them listed as images. You can see on my sidebar that there are images and the printed title, which is great for anyone who might be reading my blog with a screen reader. I use the plugin WordPress Popular Posts.
Important pages on sidebar – I have a lot of pages (which you can see under all of the menus), but I wanted to include just the super important ones on my sidebar. I have most of the pages in my menu underneath the category they fall into, and so that hides things like my about page, tags & topics, and popular posts. This way, you can see what I think is important without having to look under the header pages. Also, if you don’t look at the menu and are just scrolling down, you can see these pages as you go.
Categories visible – This obviously doesn’t apply to all blogs, but as you guys know, I run this blog on categories. All of my posts fall into one of three categories: health, writing & blogging, and lifestyle. By having the categories on my sidebar, if you’re scrolling down, you can easily go to those categories. By having them at the top of my page, you can directly go to them as soon as you come to my blog. If you don’t have categories, you could also put the most-used tags in your sidebar.
Get a bounce rate plugin – If you are on self-hosted WordPress, get the Reduce Bounce Rate plugin. This plugin tells Google Analytics when people scroll and interact with your site more than Analytics usually counts something as an interaction. (And yes, it’s allowed by Google.)
Menus – As I’ve mentioned (and as you probably have noticed), I have menus on my blog. This helps a lot because my menu stays on the top of your screen as you scroll down. I try to have my menu headers be as helpful as possible. For example, the Start Here page is a page on its own but also a parent page, and then About, Tags & Topics, and Popular Posts are all under it. They all fall under the category of where you should start if you’re new to the blog.
What do you do to reduce your bounce rate?
Like this post? Check out these: