A bounce rate is the percentage of your website visitors that leave your website after arriving, without having looked at any of your other pages.
There is no doubt that if you have already set up your own WordPress website, you will have almost certainly seen or heard the term ‘bounce rate’.
Depending on what your website is intended for, a bounce rate can be a very important statistic to look at. For instance, if you’re seeking to improve your SEO score; gain more subscribers; generate more revenue; or entice a stakeholder such as a sponsor or advertiser to work with you, a bounce rate is very important.
As a general rule of thumb, the lower the bounce rate, the better. Despite accounting for almost half of all website visits, 40% is considered the average bounce rate globally, though most web experts would tell you that retaining a bounce rate below 50% is a good achievement. If nothing else, a bounce rate is simply a good indicator of how engaged your audience is.
As you might expect, each of your website “bouncers” will have different reasons for navigating away from your site. That’s why we are telling you the best ways of lowering your bounce rate. They are:
Reduce Page Loading Times
We live in a now-or-never culture, where everything seems to be available at the click of a finger.
With this in mind, your WordPress website visitors are not likely to stick around for long if images are buffering constantly, the web theme is lagging, or navigation fast becomes a chore.
Fortunately, there are some very simple ways of reducing your WordPress website loading times. These methods include:
- Installing W3 Total Cache, or your chosen other caching plugin;
- Compressing images with tools such as Smush or Optimus;
- Converting to a simpler theme, with less functionality. There are plenty of fantastic, free WordPress themes around;
- Upgrading your web host, especially for high-traffic websites.
A clever way to monitor and manage your website’s loading time is by using online tools that measure your domain’s performance.
Google Page Speed Tool, alongside other platforms such as Pingdom and GTmetrix, will provide you with performance scores that you can keep track of as you continue to optimize your website.
Work on Your Content
Despite the phrase ‘Content is King’ being coined by Bill Gates in 1996, over 20 years later the statement still holds true. Yet, even with the best content in the world there are some basic lessons to learn about catering your WordPress content to the viewer.
Consider some of the following when writing, formatting, and publishing your content:
- Keep your sentences and paragraphs short; no-one wants to read a never ending block of text;
- Use simple language. Google will reward you, and your readers will appreciate it;
- Experiment with fonts sizes and styles for the ease of your readers;
- Insert calls to action throughout the content to encourage engagement;
- Include internal and external links within the body of your texts;
- Furnish your website content with relevant and good quality graphics to reinforce your intended message.
With a user-friendly approach to uploading content on your website, a strong focus on readability, easy navigation to other relevant content, and captivating imagery, you are certain to benefit from a lower bounce rate and a higher number of unique and returning visitors.
Be Mobile Friendly
Each month, statistics and reports are released to show that the vast majority of browsing and searching is done on mobile devices.
It is no longer an option; if you want to rank highly on search engines, increase traffic to your WordPress website, and drastically reduce your bounce rate, then becoming mobile friendly is a must.
With 4G and 5G dominating the mobile phone market, mobile browsing is often more convenient and less time-consuming than web browsing, so it is critical to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
The simplest way of ensuring your site is mobile-friendly is by selecting one of WordPress’s many responsive themes, and making use of the thousands of available plugins to optimize your sites functionality.
Optimize Your Homepage
More often than not, if you’re fortunate enough to have search engines or external sources linking to your website, a large proportion of visitors will be directed to your homepage. This is why optimizing the homepage can be so effective for reducing your bounce rate.
A first impression is always the strongest one, so keeping your web visitors on your site as long as possible is key to engagement. Here are just a few ways of maximizing the space on your homepage and ensuring a lower bounce rate:
- Use WordPress Widgets for menus and add links to all areas of your site;
- Ensure content blocks include snippets and excerpts only on the Homepage;
- Striking images to entice the viewer;
- Optimized Site Search function to help visitors to navigate and find relevant content.
When it comes to many of your web visitors, the homepage is your one and only chance to make a good impression and entice your online guests to enjoy the journey through your domain. Make it count.
Nurture Your SEO
Whether you’re an SEO expert, or using WordPress Plugins such as Yoast to assist your content optimization, ensuring that your text and images are making search engines happy is synonymous with satisfying your web visitors.
Put simply, if you’re website is all about classic car sales but is being clicked on by people looking for mountain bikes, the chances are your bounce rate will reflect the feelings of these dissatisfied users.
Keep in mind the following SEO tips to keep browsers happy, and to stay on the good side of search engines:
- Use relevant keywords in titles, copy, images, links and files;
- Ensure all blog posts or articles have at least 400 words;
- Reach out to external site owners for backlinks to your website;
- Link your website with social media platforms to promote your content.
SEO is not normally associated with reducing a bounce rate, but what it is associated with is relevant, presentable, and well organized content; three things that are certain to impress your WordPress website visitors.
Become Your Own Visitor
Even with all of the WordPress bounce rate tips on the Internet, sometimes working things out on your own can be the best approach.
It is not uncommon for a domain owner to forget what the website experience they are offering to others is like. Therefore, combining your ability to optimize your user-experience with some first-hand research of your own can solve a number of user concerns.
Explore the website, click all of the buttons and links, try the search functions, and scrutinize the content you have published but, most importantly, be critical, take notes, and decide what needs to be improved most dramatically.
Once these concerns have been identified, make the most of your analytics to see if other users share these problems, and use widgets, plugins, new themes, or even new hosts to eradicate those problems.
From finding a WordPress website on search engines to struggling with loading times, content, relevance, responsiveness, and functionality, all web visitors will have different reasons for running away from a website.
Just remember that your aim should not be to achieve a 0% bounce rate, but to make sure that your user-experience is as smooth and simple as possible for the people on the other end of your WordPress website, on both web or mobile devices.
Which of the above tips and tricks will you try first? Tell us in the comment section below!