Feb 11, 2013

Strategies To Reduce Your Site's Bounce rate

In an earlier post I had discussed, in some detail, what in effect is the correct measure of bounce rate. In this post I will be discussing some strategies you can employ to gainfully reduce your site's bounce rate.

Before I begin, however, I would like to recap what bounce rate is all about. To put it in a nutshell, Bounce rate, is a measure of user engagement - ascertained by establishing the amount of time an average user stays put on your blog/website. Thus if a majority of your website visits lasts, say less than 20 seconds, your site could be considered to have a very high bounce rate.

How to reduce your site's bounce rate?

Keeping your site's bounce rate down is an important consideration for SEO purposes. This is because major search engines like Google and Bing consider user engagement as an important measure of a site's quality. Now, since bounce rate is a measure of user engagement (or the relative lack of it), sites with a low bounce rate are generally considered (by search engines) to be high on user engagement (and thus high on quality).

This is how you can reduce your blog/website's bounce rate.

1. Create content that satisfies the information needs of your target audience.

You begin by defining your target audience and establishing what exactly their information needs are. Equipped with this information, you will be in a better position to create content that deliver real value to your readers. Once you content delivers to your audience's needs (as well as expectations), you can count on them to stay longer - trying to absorb every thing that you've got to say.

2. Make sure your content is error-free and pleasing to read.

While you are not expected to do a Shakespeare, its important to ensure that your article makes for a good read. Equally important is to make sure that your article is error free and grammatically correct. Poorly written articles irritate readers and cause them to loose interest. 

Tip: The more you write, the better you get at it. 

3. Speed up your site

In today's fast-paced world, people hate waiting for websites to load. If your site is snail-paced, most of your readers would not bother sticking around for long.

4. Make your website visually appealing

While content quality is important, it is equally important to present your content in a manner that is appealing to the eye. Your site's overall design and usability has an important role to play in this regard. Visually appealing websites tend to retain audience attention for longer spells and positively influences engagement levels. Moreover your site's design (and navigation) should play the lead role in helping your visitors find the exact content they are looking for.

5. Don't bombard visitors with advertisements

While advertisements might be necessary for your websites to survive, it is important not to bombard your visitors with advertisements. Your advertisements should be non-intrusive in the sense that it does not compromise with your site's usability or readability. It is also important to be mindful of ad placements from SEO prospective - too many advertisements above the fold could lead to a loss of search rankings.

Tip: Stay away from pop-under or pop-up advertisements.

6. An interesting image can do wonders

By incorporating an interesting image onto your posts; you instantly capture your audience's attention and induce them to stay longer.

Other strategies that can help improve your site's bounce rate

7. Get rid of any auto-playing media.

8. Incorporate a related posts plugin to show visitors content contextually related to the pages they are on.

9. Make sure your site renders correctly and provides an optimal viewing experience across multiple devices and platforms. Ensuring cross-browser functionality is important.

10. Use your sidebar to good effect to show visitors some of your more popular posts.

11. Deliver what you promise - every time.

12. Encourage comments on your posts - make sure that the concluding lines (of a post) induces thought and action.

13. Optimise your 404 page to show visitors some of your best content.

I sincerely hope that the above-mentioned tips would be instrumental in helping you in reducing your site's bounce rate and achieve greater user engagement.