Lowering the bounce rate

One thing that got my attention after installing Google analytics was bounce rate. The amount of visitors that see the first, landing, page of the site and leave.  The shortest and most accurate description for bounce rate I did encounter was ‘I came, I puked, I left’. A really great video describing how important bounce rate is should be compulsory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppgfjo6IIf4&feature=player_embedded. As it is said in that video – average bounce rate should be around 40-60%. Those are not hard numbers but a rough guide.  Extra low bounce rate is shown to be about 32%. Mine is at about 75% currently. Not so good.  To verify, that Google Analytics gets correct data, sitescanga.com can be used. Numbers can always be incorrect, better be sure to act on at least somehow correct numbers.

Most of my traffic comes from search engines, mainly from google, which usually display some excerpt of web page text, so there should be something that made people click on those pages. What made them leave when they see the full page? Either the excerpt was misleading or they got all they needed from that single page and my webpage had nothing more that might interest those visitors. Looking at visitors from google search, my bounce rate is about 80% which is clearly wrong. How can I get it down?

There are already a couple of things I did.

  • Firstly I looked at main landing pages and added links to other articles at the end of those posts.
  •  I also installed a related posts plugin.   On average, using insufficient data really, bounce rate got down by about 10% for using related posts plugin. Links to other articles at the end of posts brought bounce rate down by additional 5%.
  • Another thing about links – visitor should be able to spot them. My default theme had grey text on white background and links were a bit different shade of grey.  I did select another color scheme. Links are  pale blue now, which should be easier to spot.
  • I also modified next and previous links on articles to be category dependant as described here!
  • Social interaction is also an important thing. Adding Google +1, Facebook, Twitter etc. links is a start. 42functions Social Media Tracking plugin is one way to to it.

What should I do next? More interlinked content for sure.  The content visitors are looking for can be guessed by looking at site content-> landing pages -> entrance paths. Maybe when visitors are using a post as their landing page and then clicking at the same post on sidebar menu is a hint?

After ten days,  the result is promising. Average bounce rate is down from 72% to 61%, on better days it is about 55%.


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