7 Reasons Visitors are Bouncing from Your Blog (and how to fix it)

Does looking at your blog’s bounce rate put you into a slight panic? Are you consistently putting out the best content you can and still seeing a high bounce rate? 7 Reasons Visitors are Bouncing from Your Blog (and how to fix it).
Does looking at your blog’s bounce rate put you into a slight panic?  Are you consistently putting out the best content you can and still seeing a high bounce rate? 7 Reasons Visitors are Bouncing from Your Blog (and how to fix it).

photo courtesy of Haute Chocolate

Does looking at your blog’s bounce rate put you into a slight panic?

Are you consistently putting out the best content you can and still seeing a high bounce rate?

Relax. Your bounce rate may not mean as much as you think it does and even so, there are things you can do to improve the time that people spend on your blog.

What is Bounce Rate?

According to Google, “Bounce Rate is 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).”

So if a lot of people are coming to your site and “bouncing” away without clicking on anything on the page and just hitting the back button or closing the tab, then it results in a higher bounce rate.

What is My Bounce Rate Supposed to Be?

If you’ve ever read anything about bounce rates, you’re probably thinking your blog should be at around 45%. Is yours more like 70%, give or take?

Before you freak out, RocketFuel, a design and marketing company, has this to say about average bounce rates:

“As a rule of thumb, a bounce rate in the range of 26 to 40 percent is excellent. 41 to 55 percent is roughly average. 56 to 70 percent is higher than average, but may not be cause for alarm depending on the website. Anything over 70 percent is disappointing for everything outside of blogs, news, events, etc.”

Did you see that last sentence?

Anything over 70 percent is disappointing for everything outside of blogs…

Yup. Blogs are expected to have higher bounce rates!

I couldn’t find any hard facts on the reasons why, but here’s my best guess:

First-time visitors usually arrive to a blog post from a link on social media. They are probably drawn in by the title, click through to find the information they need, then go about their day.

But, there are things you can do to encourage people to stay on your blog longer. Let’s look at some of the reasons why people leave your blog and how we can get them to stay and improve your bounce rate.

Why Visitors are Bouncing from Your Blog and How to Keep Them on Your Blog Longer

Inside my Facebook Community, Blog Beautiful, I host a weekly Open Office Hour where I answer people’s questions or struggles. Most of the time, people wonder what they are doing wrong with their blogs because they can’t get people to stay.

Most of the time I end up giving the same pieces of advice over and over, so I went ahead and compiled those answers into this post so you, my friend, can get a head start on avoiding these commonly made mistakes.

1. You don’t have a tagline

If your blog’s title doesn’t make it completely obvious what your blog is about, people coming to it for the first time may have no idea what it’s about and why they should stick around.

A good tagline is located in the header near your blog name or logo and addresses and ideally addresses a problem or goal the reader has.

If your blog is missing a tagline or yours isn’t serving you well, I have a post and a free downloadable worksheet to help you write one that will draw people in, rather than away, from your blog. Check it out:

How to Write a Kickbutt Blog Tagline

2. You don’t have a sidebar photo and/or well-written mini bio

Contrary to what many people think, not all new visitors to your blog come in through the home page. Visitors entering your site for the first time via social media usually enter through a blog post.

For the same reasons outlined in #1, you want to make it as clear as possible to people what your blog is there for and how you can help them.

This means that a short “About” bio should address them, not you. And adding a nice photo of you helps them to identify with you and feel comfortable with your blog.

I’ve got a great post on this for you too to check out:

How to Create a Killer Blog Sidebar Profile Bio + Photo

3. Your blog’s layout is too cluttered

If there’s a ton of stuff going on on your blog when newcomers stop by, they may not know where to go next. Less is often more. One place we can easily get carried away is in our sidebars. (I know, I’m guilty too sometimes)!

That’s why it’s important to re-evaluate your sidebar about once a year to make sure everything there is serving you and your visitors’ needs well.

Check out my How to Really Organize and Prioritize Your Blog’s Sidebar series, complete with free worksheet!

4. Your blog’s navigation is messy and unclear

Do you have a main menu with a gazillion links across the top? Is your sidebar missing your main blog categories? If not, listen up.

People like clearly organized information. They are looking for you to do this for them.

Top Menu Organization

Let’s make sure your top-level links are streamlined. How can you group categories together so that you show only a few in your top menu? Can you use a drop-down menu in your theme or template to show further subcategories?

It’s much easier for someone to look at just a handful of choices at the top, pick one, then filter down from there, than it is for them to select from 10+ choices right off the bat.

Think of ways you can clearly organize your topics. And by the way, it’s perfectly okay to have some subcategories appear below two different top level topics.

Sidebar Categories

If your blog has a sidebar, this is the perfect place to add a list of your categories. WordPress and Blogger let you do this easily with a Categories widget/gadget. Most other blogging platforms have similar widgets.

If you want to style your categories into pretty buttons, you can do that with CSS. Check out my Beginner’s CSS for Bloggers Guide.

5. You aren’t serving up related posts

What’s the best way to keep someone’s attention when they come to your blog post on a specific topic? Show them more posts that are related to their topic of interest!

There a few ways you can do this:

  • Add a related post widget or gadget to the bottom of your posts.
    These should automatically select other posts based on tags or keywords in your posts. LinkWithin is a good, free one you can use on several blogging platforms.
  • Embed related links in your posts.
    Notice how I’ve been linking to past content throughout this post? You should be doing this as well. And it goes both ways: Go back to your older posts and link to newer ones as well.
  • It doesn’t hurt to show your most popular posts in your sidebar.
    While these may not be directly related to the article on hand, since they are popular to your current visitors, they may interest your new reader as well.

6. Your posts are difficult to read

If I click to an article and am presented with a huge wall of text that looks incredibly daunting and boring to read, I will usually click away quickly, in favor of a post that’s more pleasant to read.

What makes for a good-looking, easy-to-read post?

Take note from magazine articles.

  • Short paragraphs.

    This may go against what you learned in High School English class, but on the web, it’s much easier to read small bits of text. Short, punchy paragraphs work best in this case. I try to keep mine to three sentences, tops.

  • Subtitles

    These help to break up the information and make it easy to organize what the reader is learning. Subtitles also help people quickly find something in your post.

  • Easy to read fonts
    Never, ever use script, italic or bold fonts for your paragraphs. Have you ever read a magazine article like that? Me neither.

    Find a nice, simple, easy-to-read font in either serif or sans serif.

  • Decent font size and line height
    If your font sizes are too small, it may be difficult for people to read. I’m not that old yet, but I spend a lot of time on a computer each day and it makes my eyes tired. It’s so much easier on my tired eyes to read a nice big, open font with ample spacing between each line.

    Aim for about 16px in font size and a line-height of 1.5.

  • Reasonable line lengths
    Is your blog too wide on certain size screens? If so, your paragraphs could be really wide, making it harder to read. Don’t feel like you have to use up the entire width of a screen for your blog. I’d much rather keep scrolling down through a long post than scan my eyes back and forth a wide distance from left to right.

    Aim for about 100 characters per line.

  • Good contrast
    Is your font color dark enough to read easily? When I first redesigned, I was using a lighter gray font that got a lot of complaints! I’ve since darkened the color and no longer get complaints about it.

    Also, it’s best to use black or dark gray for paragraphs. Use color for links and emphasis only.

7. Your blog uses too many different styles or fonts

This may not directly cause new visitors to bounce from your blog, but having a clean and consistent look will definitely help keep people around because if your blog looks “put together,” then you look “put together!”

Consistent styling throughout all your branding elements also helps people recognize your content on social media. How many times have you saved a Pin just because you recognized it as belonging to one of your favorite bloggers?

Colors and Fonts

Work on using a dependable color scheme and font palette throughout your blog, blog images and social media profiles.

Aim for 2-3 colors and 2-3 different fonts. Use these helpful posts to create the perfect color and font palettes:

Ultimate Guide to Choosing Colors for your Blog or Website
Beginner’s Guide to Fonts for Your Blog: How to Choose Font Combinations

Images

You’ll also want to have a uniform look to your blog’s imagery. Try to use images with colors that match your branding. Do you want to use mostly white photographs with bits of color? Or do you prefer very colorful photographs? Maybe your topic warrants using black and white imagery.

Whichever you feel works best for your brand and needs, stick with it so people become familiar with the look and feel of your images. This is especially important to keep in mind when creating your posts’ Pinnable images. Here’s a post to help with that:

How to Create Stunning Blog Post Title Images with Resources

Want More Ways to Keep People from Bouncing from Your Blog?

The Book

All of the tips above, plus 43 more are included in my super easy-to-follow eBook, Blog Beautiful: 50 Tips + Fixes to Make Your Blog Glow.

Blog Beautiful: 50 Tips + Fixes to Make Your Blog Glow. An ebook by DesignYourOwnBlog.com

If you’ve got the book already, but haven’t opened it up yet (it’s ok, I do that too), I highly encourage you to open it up this week and take a look. There’s a super handy checklist at the beginning to help you check off items as you work through the book.

This will help you see the progress you’re making towards beautifying your blog and gaining the traffic you’ve been dreaming of!

The Community

And if you haven’t joined the amazingly helpful Facebook Community, Blog Beautiful yet, what are you waiting for? 6000+ people are there to help you troubleshoot issues and give you feedback and advice.

Want to ask for my personal opinion? I offer a weekly Office Hour, where you can ask me directly for help! But you have to subscribe for access. Make sure you do that here and I’ll even bestow upon you my library of free goods! Guides, checklists, worksheets and more.

Subscribe now here:

Pin It!

Does looking at your blog’s bounce rate put you into a slight panic? Are you consistently putting out the best content you can and still seeing a high bounce rate? 7 Reasons Visitors are Bouncing from Your Blog (and how to fix it). Click through for ways to fix these issues on your blog!

Now, I want to hear from you! Which of the suggestions above is your blog lacking in? What are you going to work on today?

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14 Comments

  • Mahriya says:

    Yes, Yes and Yes!

    I actually didn’t have a clue about bounce rate, so when I saw your email I was very curious.

    I actually do most of the things listed here, thankfully! I did create a tagline ‘Discover Your Inner Reader’ (using your helpful worksheet which helped me write part of my sidebar bio and about page, so thank you!!) but I don’t display it in my header image so I need to change that ASAP!

    My sidebar, I’m quite proud of though I’m still considering my menu as well as other stuff. 😀

    Thank you so much for this awesome post

    P.S PINNED that awesome infographic at the end of this post!

    P.P.S Actually, I Scheduled it on Tailwind, an application you recommended in your Tip o’ the week so THANK YOU! TAILWIND IS A LIFESAVER

    And P.P.P.S (okay that doesn’t exist) but this did cheer me up especially after the elections….

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Mahriya, I’m so glad! I was actually a bit nervous about sending out an email today in light of the circumstances, but thought we could all use some distractions and reminder of why we are doing what we do. Glad you appreciated it.

      So glad you’re using Tailwind! I love it too! And way to go on already having most of these issues worked out. Goes to show you’ve been paying attention to what I’ve been saying, so thank you 🙂

      • Mahriya says:

        I love Tailwind! I don’t where I’d be without it! I’m actually really shocked about how much it’s changed my blog traffic! I mean my stuff is actually getting re-pinned now””” That might not sound like an achievement but before, no-one was looking at my pins!

        • Marianne says:

          That’s awesome Mahriya! I love it too! If I stay active and make sure to keep my feed full, my repin numbers go up every week. When I let it slack, the numbers go down noticeably, so it definitely makes a difference.

  • Amar kumar says:

    Hey Marianne,

    Whether we know how many readers are bouncing or not, the signs are obvious. Low traffic, poor engagement, sluggish list growth. These are all the symptoms of a bouncy blog. Life in the online world is fast. People don’t have the time or the patience to wait around for a website that takes forever to load and will simply bounce away and find another speedier website to visit.

    A blog article that is just a wall of plain text can bore visitors and have them bouncing from our website half-way through our article. One of the most common reasons as to why I sometimes find myself instantly bouncing from a blog or website are ads.

    Some blogs are just too interested in making money and get too giddy littering their articles and other pages with Google search ads and even ads of their own.

    For most readers, ads are an annoying distraction that cheapens our brand and increases the chances they’ll bounce. Eventually, thanks for reveling a light on this topic.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

  • Kristie Hill says:

    So glad you clarified that bloggers naturally have a high bounce rate. So many bloggers freak out about their bounce rates. While it is important to work on keeping readers on your site, it’s also good to know the norm. Great tips!

  • My bounce rate is way too high. I have begun including internal links early in the copy of new posts to try and keep visitors engaged.

    It seems to be working as my bounce rate is showing signs of falling – slowly.

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Stephen, I hear you! Mine is high as well, but it did make me feel better that it’s normal for blogs. But that of course doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to improve it. Looks like you are doing just that and it takes experiments like what you’re doing to figure out what works for you specifically. Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment 🙂

  • Candace Cox says:

    Thank you for the post! I need to work on my blog and this gives me a place to start!

    • Marianne says:

      Awesome Candace! I love it when I get confirmation that I’ve given people a place to start rather than overwhelming them. Good luck with your work!

  • Rose says:

    Fantastic tips for every blogger, regardless of bounce rate! I really appreciate your statistics and insight specific to bounce rate as well. Great resource.

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