Your website’s “bounce rate” is an important signal to pay attention to as you browse your traffic and statistical data. Many of us don’t understand exactly how to reduce bounce rates, but we should.
Let’s talk about bounce rates and look at some ways to reduce those numbers on your WordPress website.
What is Bounce Rate?
The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website from the same page they came in on. If someone comes in on your homepage and leaves without clicking through any other pages, they’ve bounced.
The bounce rate formula is displayed as a percentage of single-page sessions on your website. It’s a good indicator of your site’s ability to engage visitors and the relevance of its content.
The bounce rate formula is simple. It’s the total number of single-page visits to a website, divided by the total number of visits.
So let’s say the homepage of your website receives 5,000 visitors over the course of a month. But 2,500 of those visitors leave your site after viewing the homepage – they don’t click through to another page.
That would make the bounce rate for your homepage 50%.
High bounce rates are not necessarily a bad thing for a single-page site where single-page sessions are expected. But if you have news, other important content, or an eCommerce blog, you want to keep bounce rates as low as possible.
What is a Good Bounce Rate?
The answer to a good bounce rate depends on who you ask and what type of sites are being researched. You also need a baseline for evaluating these bounce rates.
So with that in mind, general baselines for what is considered an acceptable bounce rate are:
- eCommerce and retail websites: 20% – 45%
- Business to business (B2B) websites: 25% – 55%
- Lead generation websites: 30% – 55%
- Websites with no eCommerce content: 35% – 60%
- Landing pages: 60% – 90%
- Dictionaries, blogs, and other portals: 65% – 90%
For most WordPress blogs, you want to aim between 65% and 90%. However, this really depends on the type of content you’re creating. Something rich in tutorials might find it difficult to hit under 90%, especially if you don’t use internal linking properly.
Of course, a poor navigation system could also be to blame. If your menus don’t do a good job getting visitors where they want to go, well, they just won’t go.
Make sure your menus help visitors explore the website.
15 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rates in WordPress
Since every website is trying to improve the bounce rate, there is a plethora of information on the topic. And the good news is that most of these will also help improve the overall user experience on your website, thus increasing natural growth.
Let’s take a look at some easy things you can do to help reduce the bounce rate on your WordPress website.
1. Optimize Your Loading Times
Many visitors will not stay on a website that takes more than a few seconds to load. Too many things going on – images, widgets, data pulled from other sites, advertising – can slow down the page load times.
And slow loading can result in a lot of visitors going elsewhere to find what they’re looking for.
If you want to know how to reduce your bounce rate in WordPress, page speed is the first thing you should look at.
Not only does this improve the user experience, but speed is also a factor that search engines use to rank your website. Thus, you are killing two birds with one stone, or maybe three in this case.
2. Compress Images and Utilize Lazy Load
Image compression and optimization on a WordPress website can cut page load times dramatically. Any kind of image optimization should help reduce bounce rates. Reducing image file sizes before uploading them will reduce the strain you place on your server.
This can also help your pages load faster.
There’s no shortage of excellent WordPress image and compression tools available. Find one you like, install and activate it, and get those images properly optimized.
You should also implement lazy loading if it’s not already available. In the newest versions of WordPress, this is enabled by default.
This technique will make it so that images are only loaded when they are visible.
For instance, let’s say you have a very long blog. The images towards the bottom are not going to be seen when the blog is loaded. Thus, they are wasting time.
Lazy loading corrects this by only loading them when the visitor scrolls down the page and enter the active view of the device he or she is using.
3. Tease Visitors with Excerpts to Reduce Bounce Rates
Try to avoid showing full blog posts on your main WordPress blog page. Instead, use excerpts (to do that, check out the “more” tag in the WordPress editor).
That will accomplish a few things: first, it will make the homepage of your blog look more neat and concise. It will also cause visitors to click to read more about the topic, which helps lower bounce rates.
Finally, it will speed up the load time of your blog homepage.
You can also keep people on the website by providing links or even a popup to spotlight related content. That increases the likelihood of visitors reading additional content rather than exiting the site immediately.
This, in turn, helps reduce your bounce rates.
4. Write Content with “What’s Next” in Mind
Every time someone searches for something, hopefully, they’re finding one of your articles. They may click through to read it, and then they are usually done.
When they’ve finished what they came for, it’s up to you to give them a reason to stick around. Craft your content so that it gives people something else to do on your website when they finish an article.
As I mentioned, that can be done by linking to other related articles you have posted.
You can also encourage commenting or suggest that they sign up for your newsletter if they enjoy the content. It’s up to you to make the additional content—that they weren’t necessarily looking for—compelling.
If you don’t do that, you risk losing their attention, which usually means losing them to another website.
5. Reduce Bounce Rates by Using Meta Descriptions
For some reason, WordPress doesn’t give you the ability to add meta descriptions to posts and pages. So if you aren’t using meta descriptions yet, it’s understandable.
There are those who consider meta tags a waste of time since Google generally ignores them. Maybe that’s why WordPress doesn’t provide a meta descriptions tool.
Regardless of whether meta tags have any effect on ranking (evidence suggests some do), a meta description is still important.
Why? If you provide one, Google uses the meta description in search results. And of course, any time you can control something in search results, you should.
But what does that have to do with bounce rates?
A well-written meta description will let searchers know whether the link to your site will be of interest to them. Good meta descriptions prevent a lot of visits from people who may not be interested and who would otherwise bounce.
You can force WordPress to expose meta description editing, but it requires adding code to your theme files. It’s much easier to use an SEO plugin like SEOPress or Yoast.
You’ll also benefit from the many other things those plugins can do.
6. Create High-Quality Content to Reduce Bounce Rates
Obviously, content is available everywhere online, so it’s important to create high-quality content. Substantial, well-written articles will receive traffic from Google, engage your audience, and demonstrate your authority on a subject.
High-quality content is the foundation, so build on that foundation with the following things in mind:
- Use appropriate keywords.
- Be relatable to your audience.
- Have a clear “call to action.”
- Pay attention to SEO.
Of course, SEO is not the only factor that determines the quality of content. Let’s just say if you read the first paragraph of a blog and encounter multiple typos, the visitors are probably not going to trust your information.
Not to mention that it makes it difficult to read the content. An extension like Grammarly can alleviate this problem.
The best content keeps readers on your site and compels them to click through to your other articles. And when they continue reading on your site, your bounce rate falls.
7. Test Your Layout on a Mobile Device
One sure way of improving your bounce rate is to accommodate mobile users. These days, traffic coming from mobile phones, notebooks, or tablets can easily be half of your traffic.
It is critical that you have a mobile-friendly website.
Most WordPress themes claim that they’re mobile-friendly. But it’s still best to test your blog on multiple devices to make sure it adapts to many screen sizes.
Remember, there are a lot of internet-browsing devices out there.
A great way to check is with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page. The test will even give you suggestions for improving elements that may not render well (or quickly) on mobile devices.
8. Avoid Pop-ups When A Page is Loaded
One surefire way to make people leave your website is to immediately bombard them with a pop-up. Trust me, when someone clicks on an article to read, they do not want to subscribe to your email subscription before actually reading the content.
In most cases, the visitor will leave immediately instead of closing the pop-up.
Keep in mind, though, some websites will choose to put certain popups when a page is loaded for good reason.
For instance, a lot of visitors choose to use some type of ad-blocking extension on their browsers. This can cripple the money a website earnings through advertisements.
Thus, it’s normal to ask someone to turn off the ad blocker.
However, these types of tactics are not going to help reduce bounce rates. But it is a fair argument to not want visitors to view your content for free.
9. Don’t Use Click Bait or Misleading Titles
This should go without saying, but if you try to mislead visitors to click on an article, the majority of them will leave your page the moment they realize it. And this can do some serious damage to your website’s bounce rate.
Of course, there are some advantages to increasing your traffic by using such methods.
For instance, one of the main advantages of using clickbait is its sharing potential. On social media platforms, there are a lot of users that simply read the title as fact. That’s right, they won’t even bother reading the article or fact-checking it.
That can help them grow at an exponential rate, at least until they get called out on it, which can really hurt their reputation.
Just make sure you understand that clickbait does not reduce your bounce rates.
10. Add Multiple Ways For Visitors to Interact
Now, improving the user experience is a great way to fix the bounce rate, but another way is to make it easy for visitors to interact with your content.
For example, think about the simple ways someone can interact with a web page. They can leave a like or dislike, leave a comment, click on a carousel to see an image, add a rating using stars, interact with social media buttons, and more.
And here’s the thing, they just need to interact once for the visit to count.
Implementing any of these is simple and highly encouraged because it really helps. And the best part is that the interactions don’t even have to be positive (more on that in a sec), all interactions are equal for search engines.
11. Fix Spelling Mistakes
This ties into creating quality content, but it’s important enough to get its own point. Let me ask you if you were reading a post and noticed numerous spelling errors, would you keep reading?
If you are being honest, then no and that will hurt your bounce rate. You would close the page and find a better article.
Poor spelling within articles immediately makes many people stop reading and double-check what they just read. And if it happens frequently enough, it really just ruins the entire article.
The good news is that there are plenty of tools you can use to help.
For instance, you could add Grammarly as an extension on your web browser. It can catch a variety of spelling and grammar mistakes as you are writing content and works really well with WordPress Gutenberg.
12. Break Up Text With Images
Have you ever clicked on an article and been presented with a wall of text? The odds are yes, and the odds also say you left that website. Most websites avoid large text sections by adding images.
Images are a great way to attract visitors. In fact, any users will start off by skimming through the article and looking at the images.
Thus, if you want to keep users on your pages longer, you need to make sure the images are high quality. We talked about image compression earlier, but we didn’t talk about the actual images you should add.
For instance, I think we can all agree that memes are a great way to get users to stop for a second and get a laugh. They might even want to share the meme with their friends. So, don’t be afraid to add lots of images into your content to break up the text.
13. Make Sure You Reach Your Target Audience
Potentially, the most important aspect of improving your bounce rate is to make sure you are reaching your target audience.
Think about it; if your content is targetting teens but instead reaches people in their 70s, well, they are less likely to have interest in your content.
This is going to cripple your bounce rate even if the content you create is “perfect.”
For this reason, you need to carefully use analytical tools like Google Analytics. These tools can help you pinpoint the audience your content is reaching and that information can be used to better improve the site for them.
Alternatively, if you are unhappy with who your content is reaching, it means you need to make serious changes to the way you are marketing your website.
If you reach someone uninterested in your content, they won’t bother to stay on the site.
14. Take Advantage of White Space
Have you heard of the term “minimalist” in WordPress? It’s a design philosophy where the web designer adds as little as they can to a page.
The benefit is that the items that do appear on the page stand out.
Most minimalist themes are white, which has created the term “White Space” in web design. Of course, this isn’t a new practice.
For example, visit Google.com. Notice how it’s all white except for the logo and the search box? That immediately draws the user’s eyes to what is important.
And that ultimately helps keep visitors on the page when they can find what they need to find. Take some time and consider decluttering your website to really make your important elements stand out.
Otherwise, visitors may get tired and leave.
15. Display Related Posts
One of the most common ways to keep visitors on your website for longer is with related posts. And the good news is that it is really easy to display related posts in WordPress.
And even better news, there are multiple plugins that you can use to do it.
So what is a related post? Well, put simply, it’s a post that is somehow related to the one you are reading.
For example, let’s say you read an article about the Avengers. Do you think the reader would be more interested in an article about Spider-Man or knitting?
Well, I think we both, know they are going to be more interested in an article about Spider-Man.
One way to make this easy is to show posts from the same category at the bottom of the post. It’s simple but highly effective.
Not All Interactions Need to Be Good For SEO
The thing about a lower bounce rate is that it doesn’t actually matter how a user interacts with your content.
For example, imagine that a website has thumbs-up or thumbs-down buttons. It doesn’t matter if the next one thousand visitors decide to all give the content a thumbs-down. As far as Google is concerned, they interacted with your content.
Therefore, it is not a bounce.
Search engines are unable to differentiate between good and bad content like humans can. They look at a series of statistics and bad content can have a great bounce rate if users interact with it. Or in other words, let the site owner know it’s bad.
It’s very similar to how the dislike button on YouTube actually helps the content creator. At least to a certain extent.
Is A “Good Bounce Rate” the Same For Every Website?
In your quest to learn how to reduce the bounce rate, you might be trying to desperately fit in the rates I previously stated. However, the truth is that there are many exceptions to this.
If you remember, blogs want to be in a range of 65-90%, but this is terrible for most other types of websites. This is because there are not that many ways to interact with the content other than reading it, leaving a comment, or interacting with social icons.
And frankly, this type of content is going to exist on most websites.
For example, it’s becoming more common for eCommerce sites to have blog content. This can actually raise the bounce rate of the entire website. Yet, this doesn’t really mean your website is doing badly.
What it does mean is certain content is raising the average and you just need to make sure that is in line with that type of content.
Is Longer Content Good to Reduce Bounce Rates?
There are a lot of benefits to writing longer content, especially for SEO, but the impact on bounce rate is tricky.
Let’s say you are writing a long blog on how the stock market behaves. That is going to require a lot of writing to make sense and that’s most likely what visitors are looking for.
Yet on the flip side, let’s say you wrote a 5,000-word tutorial on how to open a new document in Microsoft Word. People are going to look at it and leave. It’s far too long for something so simple.
Now, you might be wondering, how exactly would someone know how long a tutorial should be if they don’t know how to do it?
It’s a fair question. In a general sense, people typically have a rough idea about how long something will take. And when they see a really long piece of content, they might be inclined to check elsewhere to see if every guide is this long.
This can have a pretty negative impact. It’s very similar to seeing two guides on YouTube. Most people will click on the shorter one.
Work to Reduce Your Bounce Rates
I hope you’ve found some options in this article that will be useful in reducing your website’s bounce rate.
No single “fix” is going to show results overnight. You may have to tweak, adjust, and measure results using website analytical tools. But the tips I’ve presented here to reduce your bounce rate should help get the process started.
Now that you know a little more about this key metric, you can start implementing some of the practices. Each issue you address will go toward reducing the bounce rate on your site.
Show that you care for your website, provide excellent content, and have built your WordPress site to ensure success.
How long did it take to reduce your bounce rates?