Bounce rate is the most important key performance indicator (KPI) of your blog once you start receiving a decent amount of visitors. Google defines bounce rate as follows:

Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Use this metric to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors…

Reasons for high bounce rate and its repercussions

As per the above definition, the prime reason for the visitors to ‘bounce’ away from your blog is the irrelevant content. The other reasons are the ‘unpleasant’ look and feel or the landing page or its low readability levels. Also, the users may hit the back button if they land on pages that have too many ads. Yet another reason for higher bounce levels is purchased traffic.

Regardless of the reasons, a high bounce rate results in low average page views per visit which in turn will affect your traffic ranks, especially the Alexa rank. A site’s Alexa rank is derived from (i) the number of page views, and (ii) page views per visit. High bounce rate could also bring down the ad income (not just CPM ads) from your blog.

A lot of people believe that it is okay to have bounce rate levels of 40-45% for blogs, though I personally think that it should be well below 25%. Also, you should treat the bounce rates of search visitors, direct traffic and referral visitors separately to address the issue more effectively. You may check out your blog’s bounce rate trend and details via your Google Analytics data.

Tips to reduce the bounce rate

Reducing the bounce rate is no rocket science! It simply means that the readers should be enticed or prompted to do just one more click from the landing page. The following simple tips may be helpful in reducing the bounce rate of your blog drastically.

  • Place your recent posts widget above the fold and in a highly visible area of your blog and have at least 5-6 recent posts listed there. Alternatively you could use ‘Most popular posts’ depending on which works better for your kind of content and post frequency.
  • Use excerpts of your posts in the home page instead of the whole text of the recent post. This will definitely ask the regular (non-feed) visitor to do one more click to read the whole story.
  • Put interesting video links (not in-place controls) or image thumbnails on your landing page, on clicking which the user should be taken to another page of your blog. Put an intriguingly titled link somewhere above the fold (could be even within the post content) that takes your search visitor to some of your services, offers or older posts.
  • Put keywords that are relevant to your content so that search visitors are not surprised at what they get to see in the landing page.
  • At the end of each post, put the Related Posts that may invite some users to the other similar content on your blog. There is an excellent plugin titled landing sites that could lure your search visitors to read more.
  • Link your services from your feed. This may help your blog if the majority of your readers are RSS readers.
  • Stop any paid-to-click or cheap purchased traffic services that you might have been using until today. Even Entrecard could increase the bounce rate, I believe.
  • Any external site links (not everything) and referral links may be redirected via javascript redirect (not meta redirect) on an intermediate page that is executed after your analytics script.
  • Avoid too many ads on your landing page. In addition do not use any pop-ups, pop-unders or interstitial ads that will irritate the user and force him/her to navigate away from your blog immediately.
  • In addition to the above, always offer the reader the next possibilities that he/she could do at any time during his/her stay in your blog.

Hope this post was useful to you. Please let me know if you have any other tips to reduce bounce rate.

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