If you are not using Google Analytics for statistics on your blog / site, I recommend that you sign up for it now and start implementing it. Itīs a great tool, itīs completely free, and it got some great features and I will be highlighting one of them right now.
Not many people that I have talked to are using bounce rates at Google Analytics for anything useful. I am actually one of those people, well, until recently that is. I havenīt done anything about it yet, but I am about to. The reason why bounce rates are so important for your site is that the bounce rate tells you if people leave your blog right away or if they actually navigate it and read other stories that you have written.
For instance, if your bounce rate for a page is 100%, that means each person who entered the site on that page viewed that page only, then left the site. And this is not something that you would like your visitors to do. You want them to stay on your blog as long as possible, you want them to love your content and you want them to come back. Many people, me included have a lot of traffic (more than 50 %) generated from search engines. Most of the people coming to my blog from these search engines will be at my site for this particluarly search and this one post that they are reading only. What I want to do is try to keep them here, either by grabbing their attention and telling them to subscribe to my rss feeds or that they subscribe to my newsletter or put some related stories close to the post they are reading. I want to build a relationship with them, and I want them to keep coming back.
If they do, it will generate more traffic for me, which means more advertising and more money. Not saying that this is the most important part of my blogging, because content really is and the fun of blogging. But when it all comes down to it, we are all in need for visitors.
Now, take a look at my bounce rates for a moment (see the picture below). I donīt have good statistics at all, they are pretty bad actually. At the moment I have an overall of 71%, that’s 71% of all people that are visiting my blog are only viewing the one post / page that they visited. They donīt click on anything other than this one post and then they leave, and most of them probably never come back to my blog ever.
My first thoughts when I saw these results were something like “Oh man, I have to do something about that!” So, I have tried a little different tweaking using my sidebar for the experiment. I want to grab the attention of my readers, and I think that maybe the sidebar is where I should be doing it (but I donīt know this for sure). If you look at the statistics a little closer, you get another picture (see below) where you can see the bounce rate of my individual posts.
I also get the titles of the posts, but I havenīt included them as they are not important for this example. In the statistics you can see how much time my visitors have spent on average on the page and you can see the bounce rate for that particular post / page.
One of the reasons why so many of my visitors leave without checking other stuff that I have written or some of my ads or whatever, is rather easy to explain. I have written a few posts that has nothing to do with anything else on my blog. One such post is the one about the incredible opera singer Paul Potts. I just felt that I had to write something about him as he was featured on the tv show Britainīs Got Talent. I wrote this story before people realized how good this guy really could was, and so my search engine rankings have been really good for keywords related to Paul Potts. I really understand why people interested in this guy didnīt stay for long at my site.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t write stories that are not related to other topics at your blog? I don’t believe so, because by writing other stories, you will most likely get other kind of visitors and some of them might actually enjoy your writing as well. You might get a few of those people to sign up for your newsletter, and by doing that you might get customers that would normally not buy anything that you sell. That means a whole new market opens up for you.
One particular problem with the bounce rate on individual posts is that by using wordpress, I don’t know if it would be possible to relate anything in the sidebar to the individual posts. What would be great was if it would be possible for people reading the article about Paul Potts would find something like this in the sidebar: “Hey If You Like Paul Potts, Then You Should Really Check This Newsletter Out”. This would probably grab their attention, but if you have Google AdSense installed, that might help you earn money. Because by using contextual advertising, you will have ads related to the individual post and that might be interesting for all of your visitors.
Anyway, by using Google Analytics Bounce Rate you know that a certain percent of your visitors leave without reading / clicking on other content of your site, and you know that you would have to do something about it. My goal at the moment is to get an overall of 50%, that’s not going to be easy, but hopefully I will be successful before the summer is over.