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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
Want More Ways to Keep People from Bouncing from Your Blog?
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.
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!
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:
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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