Understanding your blog traffic can not only be a bit scary at first (holy numbers overload) but it can also be difficult to understand.
Rather than overwhelming yourself with a full Google Analytics overview, I suggest you try learning about each individual metric and spend some time devising a strategy for improving it.
As bloggers, not only do we want people visiting our blogs, but we want people staying on our blogs.
To find out if your visitors are sticking around after they land on your site, you need to evaluate your bounce rate. Consider today your crash course.
What is a bounce rate?
A blog bounce rate is a traffic statistic that tells you the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site without visiting other pages).
If you have a bounce rate of 85%, it means 85% of people coming to your site, regardless of what page they land on when they get there, are leaving without visiting another page.
How to find your bounce rate
The easiest way to monitor your bounce rate is by using Google Analytics. Once you have an account and log in, you’ll see “bounce rate” as one of the key items on your overview dashboard.
What is a good/bad bounce rate?
There is no set magic number for a bounce rate, but you want this number to be low. If you have a bounce rate of 100%, no one is viewing any of your other content, whereas if you have a bounce rate of 50%, your readers are clearly clicking around your site.
For context, most bloggers I know, are in the 60-80’s range. I’m sure you could spend all day digging into industry standards, but I’d be happy targeting like 65% for my own blogs right now.
My site Productive and Pretty, it is higher than I’d like, but I attribute that to Pinterest because folks that come from that platform tend to be looking for something in particular and leave once they have it.
Keep in mind – it is not normal to have a really low bounce rate. If you are seeing something like a 10% bounce rate, you may have installed Google Analytics twice. I recently learned that while listening to an episode of Kirsten Oliphant’s Create If Writing Podcast, which has an amazing and active Facebook community as well.
How to improve your bounce rate
There are a few simple things you can do to improve your bounce rate.
1. Create a Start Here page.
If you don’t already have one, create a start here page for your site, as this will help entice new readers to see what your page is all about and what is in it for them.
Feature it prominently on your site, whether that be in your navigation, sidebar, or inserted into every post. I would even go as far to recommend doing all three.
Even if you don’t have a lot of content yet, use it to tell your readers WHY they should come back and what they’ll find if they do.
2. Interlink your posts.
When you mention a topic in a post that you’ve previously addressed on your blog, are you linking to it? This is is commonly referred to as interlinking, and if you’re not doing it you could be making a huge bounce rate (and SEO) mistake.
Let’s say you’re writing a post about how to monetize a blog. You might say something like this in that post: “If you haven’t started a blog yet, you could be leaving money on the table.” The words “started a blog” are linked to a post I’ve written about how to start a blog.
I regularly scan my old content for opportunities to link to other posts, and you should too!
3. Highlight related posts.
Plugins such as nRelate will give people a list of “related posts” to check out. The plugin will auto-generate related posts based on your keywords and categories. I’ve found it to be pretty intelligent in terms of linking the correct posts.
Another approach is to do what Becky Mansfield does, where she manually adds a link (in the form of a pinnable image) to the bottom of the post she is writing. I have yet to try this approach, but can say it has increased my click through on her site.
4. Evaluate where your readers are coming from.
Where are your readers coming from? Do you have a particular post or page that seems to get the most people to your site? If you aren’t sure, you can find this in Google Analytics by clicking on “Behavior” in your sidebar, and then “All content”.
I find the 80/20 rule applies in blogging, where 80% of your traffic will be coming from 20% of your posts; You should capitalize on this by identifying those posts, and optimizing them. Spend time evaluating those pages and posts and ensure they are optimized effectively with steps 1-3.
Hint: this is also a good time to beef them up with affiliate links!
Pick ONE action this week to improve your bounce rate and go do it!