How to reduce the bounce rate for your WordPress site: 18 tips


The failure rate, as verified by many experts, is an important factor in the ranking of sites in search engines. It says a lot about the quality of your WordPress site. Maintain a low bounce rate, and the search engine will look at you with approval. Maintain a high bounce rate, and you will be lower in the search results. A high failure rate is an excuse for thinking about whether everything is good with your site. In this article we will share with you some useful strategies and tips for keeping visitors on the site.

What is the bounce rate?

Before plunging into ways to reduce the failure rate, let’s see how it is calculated at all. According to Google, the refusal in Analytics is recorded in the event that a session opens on the site (for example, when a user navigates to a separate page), after which the user closes it without making additional requests within this session. The bounce rate is the number of one-page sessions divided by the number of all sessions. Thus, this is the percentage of sessions during which only one page was viewed.

A good bounce rate – what is it? According to custommedialabs, bounce rates may vary depending on the type of website or industry. For example, the average bounce rate for commercial sites and online stores can be about 20-45%, while for landing pages this figure can reach 90%. Remember that the less, the better. Blog entries usually have a higher bounce rate, as users browse content, and if they do not find what they came for, they leave the site.

Some experts believe that an adjusted bounce rate should be used. It differs slightly from the basic implementation from Google – in this case you set the time after which the user will be considered “involved.” Once the limit has been overcome, the session will no longer be considered a failure. To implement this, you need to set up a special Google Analytics script. You can also use the plug-in type CAOS. But today we will not consider it.

How to determine your bounce rate

The bounce rate is displayed in your Google Analytics account. There are many places where you can run into it, because this is just a data point that you can map to any other types of data. Where it can be seen:

Behavior> All Pages> Bounce Rate (here you can see which pages get this or that bounce rate)

Acquisition> Channels> Bounce Rate (here you can see what type of traffic has the lowest failure rate)

Acquisition> Source / Medium> Bounce Rate (here you can see which referral traffic and which media have the lowest failure rate)

Acquisition> AdWords> Campaigns> Bounce Rate (here you can investigate the bounce rate for AdWords campaigns).

google analitycs bounce rate metter

How to reduce bounce rate

Below are 18 useful tips on how to reduce bounce rate and improve user interaction on the site.

Optimize your traffic and content

Before moving on to reducing the bounce rate for traffic, optimize your content. The visitors you lead on your blog should be interested in what you offer. For example, if you have a blog about WordPress, and you conduct visitors interested in Drupal and Joomla, then your bounce rate will not decrease, no matter how much time you spend on it.

One simple change you could make: optimize all your headlines (for blog entries and pages). For example, for this post there was originally a title:

“How to reduce the bounce rate for your site (18 tips)”

However, this is a fairly general and blurry headline, especially considering what kind of audience we have in our blog. Our traffic and our audience are users who are interested in WordPress. Therefore, we share tips specific to WordPress. As a result, we slightly modified the title:

“How to reduce the bounce rate for your WordPress site: 18 tips”

What is this for? This change helps improve the quality of traffic coming from search engines. People who are looking for content will understand that this article is about the bounce rate in WordPress. As a result, the total number of visits may fall, but we will get better traffic. Accordingly, the bounce rate will be lower. A simple change like this will have a significant effect on the site.

Another important traffic optimization is to find in Google Analytics sources of traffic that are already bringing to you interested visitors (the lowest failure rate, the most views, etc.). Refer to these sources, ask the user to share content more often or interact with the article. In other words, use the data that you already have.

Avoid Pop-ups

There are a lot of disputes on the blog arena devoted to this problem. There are some advantages of pop-up windows, among which are:

The percentage of subscriptions increases, etc. David Risley from Blog Marketing Academy received an increase of 250% of his mailing list using the Popup Domination plug-in.
There is an opportunity to allocate something for your audience (the forthcoming webinar, for example).
These advantages can not be ignored. However, there are some disadvantages:

Some believe that pop-ups are detrimental to the overall experience of the website’s interaction. This is most likely true. Marketers are not using them to improve the experience of interaction. They can also lead to the so-called “banner blindness”.

Pop-up windows are likely to harm your bounce rate. The increase in the failure rate can depend on the type of pop-up window – for example, a small one or fullscreen. Also, the bounce rate is affected by how many times you show the window to new users.

If one of the main priorities for you is reducing the failure rate, then in this case you better carefully avoid pop-ups. However, do not immediately remove all pop-up windows on the WordPress site, not tracking their results. Find a reasonable balance between increasing the interaction and reducing the failure rate. Then you can decide whether to disable or enable pop-ups.

Many hostings do not use pop-ups. A good replacement for them is the form that Bloom plug-in offers from Elegant Themes.

Structuring the experience of interaction using special menus

Your menu on the site is called navigational not just because it’s the main way that users navigate your site. If they do not find answers to their questions quickly, they can leave the site. Most website owners do not pay much attention to their navigation, they simply throw in the menu what they think the service, contacts, blog, etc. should be there. However, it is important to check which menu items are actually used by visitors, what they really need (both in the top navigation menu and in the bottom navigation menu).

Think about which pages are important to you. If you are an online store, do you have a blog that takes visitors to your product pages? Sometimes less is better.

Do not know which items to add to the menu? Read the bounce rate for each page in your current navigation. Then compare this data with the heat map of clicks offered by tools such as Hotjar. You will understand which items the menu clicks most often. Or you can set up event tracking for each item in Google Analytics.

Use free space

Today, the phenomenon of “free space” has resulted in a significant increase in premium themes for WordPress, featuring minimalism. Free space is just an empty space on your site. There’s nothing there – no widgets, no footer, no blog content, just the background of your site.

If you do not yet use this trend, and the design of your site is packed with different boxes, panels and links, then in this case you may encounter a noticeable increase in the bounce rate. Free space allows your readers to rest. Also, visitors will be able to focus their attention on valuable content or your offer (call to action).

Google is an example of a company that uses free space to its advantage. Google specialists want visitors to search, and nothing distracts them from this.

google white space free

Make sure that the fonts are not too small

There is one more thing that many people hate – too small fonts on the site. People will not make any special effort to read your content (no matter how cool it is). Instead, they will most likely just leave your site. Your font should be readable.

Make it large. Here, modern trends come into play. 14 pixels – the minimum size. Some blogs take 18 pixels for the text. Stripe, for example, puts 17 pixels as the font size. And, as you can see, reading such content is much easier.

A simple way to change the font size in your theme is to put the following code in the CSS section of the WordPress customizer:

01 body {
02 font-size: 18px;
03 }

Keeping visitors on the site is always a good idea. Perhaps the record to which they passed does not quite reflect what they were trying to find. Thus, you can try to keep them on your site by offering them related content. Usually this is done at the very end of your blog entries.

However, there is one problem here: many plugins that offer similar functionality in WordPress are characterized by low performance. In fact, they can have a terrible code in practice. Typically, this is due to massive requests to the database. And the speed, as we will indicate later, also affects the site bounce rate.

The team behind Yoast was immersed in this topic, and that’s what they said:

“Let me ask a simple question: the fastest implementation of related materials on the content page – what is it? The answer is simple: good old links. ”

We can not disagree with them. If you scroll to the end of any of their posts on the blog, you will notice that they have related articles, “selected by hand”. They were really selected by hand and tied to the post. Such links will not damage the performance of your site. Will more work be required in this case? Yes, but in fact it’s even better, because you can independently select what you really want to offer readers.

How to do it? Unfortunately, this is beyond the scope of this article. Usually, the Advanced Custom Fields plug-in is used for this. In the future, we plan to prepare a separate manual on this issue.

Configure your pages 404

Error page 404 is a page that is displayed when a visitor navigates through an incorrect link to your WordPress site. The standard WordPress 404 page says this:

OOPS! THAT PAGE CAN NOT BE FOUND. It looks like nothing was found at this location. Maybe try a search?

Depending on the topic you are working with, this page can also display links to pages, rubrics, authors, records, archives by month. But in practice, this is not very useful, because in this case a ton of information collapses on the user. There is no simple and easy action that users could make. The task of page 404 is to prevent failures and provide the information that people were looking for.

To customize page 404, you can create or edit a 404.php file in your theme. Most topics include a pre-created template. Either you can resort to a plugin, such as 404page, to configure page 404 without accessing the code.

Check spelling mistakes and typos

Common typos and spelling mistakes in blog texts tell visitors one thing: you do not care about the content and do not check your materials. As a result, you may encounter a high failure rate. It also reduces your credibility and shows you how unprofessional.

All people, of course, make mistakes. We publish a lot of content, and, no matter how careful we are, mistakes happen. An important role is played by the introduction of a system or workflow to eliminate these errors. Here are some tips.

Try to check your post for grammatical, spelling and other errors before publishing it.
If someone saw a typo on your site and indicated this to you, just correct it. Clear the cache after this so that a new page appears on the site.
Use browser extensions that allow you to correct errors (for example, Grammarly). Such tools help speed up the workflow.

Links to other users are cool. This allows you to establish relationships with them, establish links, provide your visitors with additional valuable content. Links to quality resources can be useful for SEO. But they also distract your visitors from your site. The solution of the problem is to make opening links in new tabs / windows.

This question is rather controversial, and there are some arguments in favor of why it is not necessary to open links in new windows. However, everything depends on you. We have links that open in new tabs. This helps reduce the bounce rate by returning to the content later.

To make your links open in a new tab, simply set the “Open link in a new tab” when adding your URL in the WordPress editor.

You can do this manually in the code editor – just add the attribute target = _blank to the link.

apppen links in new tab feature

Internal links are a good SEO practice, which also allows you to reduce the bounce rate on your WordPress site. An internal link is a link that leads to another page on your site. You “throw” readers to another page of your site so that they can learn something more after the first viewing.

For internal links, it’s important to find relevant content. This can be done by adding a link by specifying the desired phrase in the WordPress link editor.

However, again, do not try to associate irrelevant phrases just to add a few more links. This can hurt both SEO and bounce rate.

Implement compatibility with different browsers, but do not be too zealous with this

If you have a favorite browser, it does not mean that your visitors also use it. That’s why it’s important to check whether your site looks the same in all browsers. Some sites may look crooked and strange in certain browsers (especially in IE). If something stops working on your site, it can trigger an increase in the bounce rate.

Here are a couple of handy tools that you can use to test your WordPress site in all browsers at the same time:

However, it is also important to consider the development time and reach of the browser audience. For example, suppose you have a WordPress site that gets half a million visitors a month. If you have a problem with IE 8, and you know that it will take a long time to fix it, you better focus on more important tasks. At some point you will have to abandon old browsers.

But make such decisions deliberately! To do this, study the report in Google Analytics in Audience → Technology → Browser & OS. Look at what browsers your visitors are using.

Make the fit for mobile devices

Here’s just some statistics for you, if you still have not optimized your WordPress site for mobile devices.

As of the fourth quarter of 2017, 57% of all Internet traffic falls on mobile devices. In 2013, the share was only 15%.
Google says that 61% of users are unlikely to return to the site, which caused them problems in the process of interacting with it, and 40% will go to the sites of competitors.
This is very much! More than half of your traffic can be lost only because users can not navigate your site correctly. Fortunately, most WordPress themes today are adaptive by default. But you can check it yourself. We recommend using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool for this. This will help you make sure that your site is safe for mobile indexing.

Also you can use plugins that will allow you to implement adaptivity on your site (for mobile devices and tablets). However, we recommend implementing adaptivity on the site with code to ensure that the WordPress site automatically adapts to any device. To do this, you will need to hire a WordPress developer.

Be careful with advertising

Many sites rely on advertising to earn, which is perfectly understandable and quite adequate. However, it is important to remember that intrusive and annoying advertising can seriously affect the bounce rate. Especially automatically reproduced advertisements. Remember, not everyone has ad blockers. Although most browsers also try to block it.

In this case, A / B testing can help.

Try using fewer ads in different places on the site and see how this affects the bounce rate on the page. You may find that visitors are taken to your home page and suddenly leave. Thus, deleting some ads can increase your revenue.

Competently structure your content

There are many things you can do to structure your content wisely, reducing the bounce rate. The first is to use headings and sub-headings. Blog entries – especially long posts, guides – can contain a lot of information. All this information needs a certain structure to make it easier to perceive. Otherwise, it will be difficult for visitors to understand it, which will lead to failures.

Structured blog entries using headings (H2) and sub-headings (H3, H4, H5). Also make sure that you use short paragraphs. Paragraphs containing more than 5 sentences can be ignored by readers.

If you want visitors to actually read your content, rather than just browsing it, you need to break the content into shorter paragraphs. As a rule, 4 proposals are recommended. Some bloggers generally limit themselves to 2 sentences. This may vary depending on what kind of audience you are reading and what exactly you are publishing.

Think of images

Images can replace a thousand words. So be sure to add pictures to the entry.

Where can I find pictures? There are many places where free (and paid) images are available. We are great fans of Iconfinder.

Also, make sure that the images you selected look good in your markup. We recommend that you always use full-sized images to fill the entire content area. This makes the content more readable. Do not forget to also optimize your images to achieve better performance.

Focus on what is really important

Your content is the most important part of your website. Direct visitors to the content. Do not distract users with their 20 widgets or calls to action. Make your content as visible as possible. If there are too many distractions, then you can say goodbye to your bounce rate.

Make sure that your content is of value to the reader. Otherwise, the user will leave, because he has no reason to return. In short, create useful, quality content that you yourself would like to read. The next time, when the visitor again peeps to you, he can not just take and close the page. Instead, he will want to continue.

If a visitor came to your site and did not find what you wanted, then you probably already did something wrong. However, there is a way to whitewash yourself and keep the visitor from leaving the page – create an internal search on the site. This is most likely the last thing a person will try to do before refusing.

By default, WordPress has a search widget that you can install in any existing place for widgets. In your topic there can also be additional places available for widgets. However, never remove the search functionality from your site!

Increase the download speed of your website

The speed of page loading is a very important factor affecting the bounce rate. Simply put, the faster the site loads, the lower the bounce rate (if all other variables remain constant). Websites that load for more than 3 seconds immediately lose about 40% of the traffic. And 79% of dissatisfied visitors will never return to slow sites.

To achieve lightning speed you need high-quality hosting. Without this, it will not be possible to achieve an effective download speed.

We reviewed the main tips for reducing the bounce rate on the site. Perhaps you have your thoughts on this matter? Share them in the comments!

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