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Your website’s bounce rate is a measure of people visiting your website without going to any additional pages. It is displayed as a percentage of single page sessions on your website and is a good indicator of how relevant and engaging your website’s content is.
If you can get more site visitors to stick around for longer, reading more of your content, and engaging in calls to action your provide them, you will likely gain more subscribers and convert more sales.
To check you website’s bounce rate you will need to look in your Google Analytics Account (or any other metrics system you are using) for the bounce rate statistics. The average bounce rate for all websites hovers around 40.5% with content driven websites coming in slightly higher. The goal is to aim for around 50% or lower.
Let’s take a look at ways you can reduce the bounce rate on your WordPress website.
Enhance User Experience
If your site visitors have a difficult time navigating through your website you are guaranteed to have a high bounce rate. Luckily there are some great ways to improve user experience and reduce the risk of losing visitors:
- Make long form content easy to read. Utilize white space to breakup text, opt for large fonts, and use small paragraphs that are easy to skim. Lists and bullet points are also good ways to make your content look organized and encourage people to continue reading.
- Create easy navigation points. Readers don’t want to search around your site looking for how to explore more content. Have an obvious (and functioning) search bar, consider using a sticky navigation bar with clear menu items, and use sidebars to point visitors towards other content they may be interested in.
- Be mobile friendly. With more people visiting your site via mobile devices than ever before, it is crucial your website be 100% responsive. Minimize scrolling and resizing by using a responsive WordPress theme or plugin. You can test your website’s design using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test or MobileTest.me.
- Make it easy for readers to see more. To lower your bounce rate you must get your site visitors to click on more than just one of your webpages. One way to do this is to internally link (appropriately) throughout your content. The idea behind this is that readers will be interested in what the link leads to, click on it, and visit a second page of yours thus lowering the bounce rate.
Improve Page Load Times
Nowadays there is no excuse for a slow-loading website. Your visitors want your website to load in 2 seconds or less or they will leave. To start, you can test your website’s loading time by using the online tools GTmetrix or Pingdom. Not only will you both tools provide your overall page loading time, but a number of useful suggestions for improving your website’s speed will be suggested as well.
Another thing you can do to make your webpages load quickly is to install a WordPress caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, or the premium plugin WP Rocket onto your site. These plugins are designed to improve user experience and increase website speed.
Another helpful thing to do to increase your website’s speed is to upgrade your hosting provider. Outgrowing your original hosting services is a good thing. That means you have an influx of traffic your website has never seen before. However, this increase in traffic can slow your site down if your server is not prepared to handle it properly.
Compress Your Images
Optimizing your images in WordPress can have a huge effect on your bounce rate. By reducing image file sizes before publishing them you will reduce the strain you place on your server and help your pages load faster.
You can compress your images before uploading them to your WordPress website using a nifty tool called TinyPNG. Don’t let the name fool you though, you can compress your JPEG images as well. TinyPNG strips your images of any useless information and reduces it file size dramatically. The end result is a smaller file and a faster loading time. Though some image quality will be lost due to its lossy compression technique, the difference often goes unnoticed.
You can also easily compress your images once they are uploaded to your WordPress website using a free WordPress plugin call WP Smush. Compressing your images using lossless compression techniques, this plugin will not sacrifice any of your image’s quality like TinyPNG, though the file sizes will remain a bit larger. Despite this, your images will still load much faster than if they were not compressed.
In the end, regardless of how your compress your images the important thing is that you do it in order to help reduce your website’s bounce rate.
Create Good Content
High quality content that is relatable and useful is what most website visitors are after. When people visit your webpage they are doing so because they are interested in something you have to offer.
It is your responsibility to follow through and give the people what they want whether that be helpful tips, a special giveaway, a must have product, or just some plain old entertainment. It is also your job to make your content accessible in search results so that your intended audience can find you and visit your website.
- Use appropriate keywords. Use strong keywords in your post titles, headers and subheaders, and images so that people searching those keywords will find your website. Make sure the keywords relate to your content and are not used to simply attract more traffic.
- Be relatable to your intended audience. If you are advertising a niche specific product such as eco-friendly salon products make sure that is really what you are selling. If not, people are sure to leave once they realize your website is not what they were looking for.
- Have a clear Call to Action. Getting your readers actively engaged in your content will encourage them to stick around and visit more web pages. Use pop quizzes and surveys, email subscription sign-ups with content upgrades, or coupons to use on a product you sell to encourage customers to explore your website further and thus reduce your bounce rate (and hopefully score some sales!).
- Be mindful of SEO. Using a WordPress plugin such as Yoast SEO can get you ahead of the game when it comes to SEO best practices. You can designate a focus keyword, change permalinks to be more user friendly, edit your search result excerpt, enable XML sitemap integration, and more using this popular and free SEO plugin.
Altogether understanding your website’s bounce rate is helpful for achieving a more loyal following and for converting more site visitors into paying customers.
There is a lot that goes into reducing your website’s bounce rate, but the above 4 steps definitely cover the basics. Anyone that has a WordPress website is capable of integrating these tips into their daily website tasks and will surely reap the benefit of a lower bounce rate quickly.
What are some ways you lower your website’s bounce rate? Is there anything I didn’t mention that you feel works really great? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!