So your blog is set up and you’re finally getting some great traffic. Time to celebrate, right? Unfortunately, you might only be part-way through this battle. If your content only holds users’ attention for a few seconds before they leave your site Google will penalise you for it.
To avoid this, we’ve asked the SEO and content experts here at Passion Digital how you can reduce bounce rate on your blog. Here are some of their tips on keeping users’ eyes glued to your digital page.
Why you should avoid pop-ups and a bad user experience?
Just think about the web, we are exposed to it almost all day, almost every day. A study from Verdict.co.uk concluded that in 2018 the human race will spend 1 billion years’ worth of time online.
Despite (or maybe because of) users spending a lot of time on the web, we have become an impatient bunch. Bad online experiences will lead to an increased number of people that will visit your website and leave after no interactions, contributing to metrics that deem a page ‘bad’ for Google, such as bounce rate, time on site, number of sessions etc.
Two main reasons why bad UX will increase your bounce rate
- It annoys your audience: Nobody wants to wait for a video to load, see a page full of spam ads, or have a video auto-play its content when you open the page. This usually leads to one action: User leaves the page
- Google will evaluate this action as a clear signal to decrease the authority of the page, meaning the chances of your page being visible in Google will consistently decrease.
Can mobile optimisation help decrease bounce rate?
‘Mobile first’ isn’t hot news any more, but it’s more relevant than ever as we transition to a handheld internet experience. People use the internet on their phones because it’s convenient and easy. Websites need to reflect this to keep their users engaged.
According to research from Radware, users experience a ‘peak in frustration’ leading to an 8% decreased in engagement from just 500 milliseconds of delays when loading.
It’s imperative that users accessing your website from all devices have a good experience so ensure the site is fast and the information is presented nearly.
Improving Page Load Speed
Whether you’ve finally found an answer to a question that’s been bugging you all week, or you’ve sat down to read your favourite online news site, nothing is more frustrating than a web page that loads slowly.
There is an endless number of solutions to this issue, however, we’re only going to discuss the most likely source of a slow page-load speed for a blog; image compression and resizing.
Image Compression & Resizing
We all want high-quality images on our sites as pixelated images makes content look sloppy. Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to imagery. Don’t be tempted to (legally) source the largest, most high-quality image you possibly can for every image on your site.
Ensure your images are the correct size for their placeholder on the site. For example, if you place an image that is 700kb’s in size (roughly 2000×1350 pixels) in an image container that is 500×333 (pixels), sure it will not be pixelated, but it is far too large for that container. What happens is that the site will load the full-size image (700kb) and then squish it into the smaller container.
All of this happens whilst you’re loading the site, slowing it down drastically. Make sure to properly resize your images so that they are as close to their container size as possible. Once that is done, you should always compress your images to ensure that they are as small as possible. Compressing an image will further reduce the file size without drastically affecting the quality of the image, doubling up on the page speed improvements. We’re quite fond of this free online image compression tool.
The importance of decent CTAs
A clear, convincing and inviting Call to Action (CTA) should be one of the top priorities to improve not only bounce rate, but also final conversions in any website. Once the visitor is already engaged with your site and in order to convince him/her to stay on it, you need to direct them to the right area of your site and tell them what they need to do. There is nothing worse than arriving at a web page and not being clear on where to go or what to do next.
CTA buttons are also one of the easiest parts of a website to A/B test. Make sure you do that and find the CTA that works best for your audience. Some tips for high converting CTAs that you can A/B test against your current ones:
- Write them in the first person and make them results oriented
- “Download CTA Guide” VS “Show me how to improve my CTAs”
- Make sure it looks like a clickable button so people can’t miss it!
- Ignore the above the fold myth. Trust your content. If it’s good, people will get to the CTA, wherever it is.
Reduce Bounce Rate in GA with Google Tag Manager
We’ve already covered many ways to reduce the bounce rate for your site including adding more calls-to-action, improving your page speed etc. But what if you find yourself in a situation when your content is well optimised, but the high bounce rate persists? In this case, maybe it’s time to look at the tracking implementation.
First, let’s remind ourselves on what bounce rate actually is. Bounce rate is the percentage of single-interaction sessions on your web page. For example, if a visitor landed on your site, did not interact with the content, and then left. This means that a visit with one interaction (which counts as a page view) will result in a bounce. If instead, your visitor lands on one page and then views a second page on your site, it will automatically count as an interaction, and therefore no bounce will be generated.
But what if a visitor landed on a very lengthy, well-optimised page that answered all his/her questions and left it straight after without visiting any other pages on your site? Unfortunately, despite all interactions made by this visitor (reading and engaging with the content), it will still be count as a bounce. Which leads us to a mostly overlooked confusion with this metric – bounce rate does not tell you whether your visitors are reading and engaging with your content or not, and therefore it should be modified.
To prevent the above scenario, we can change our GA default setting, and start tracking additional interactions with GTM as a page view is not the only possible interaction! By doing so you will be positively influencing your bounce rate, hence reducing it.
With Google Tag Manager, we can easily track more important events that occur on the site. What are other interactions that can be tracked? It depends on the content of your site, but you cannot go wrong if you track form submissions, CTA clicks, social button clicks and embedded video interactions.
So there you have it, a list of actions you can take within a single working day to reduce the bounce rate on your site or blog. If you still think your content or SEO skills are lacking you can take part in a Digital Kitchen course to hone your skills, no matter what level they currently are.