How to Improve the Bounce Rate on Your WordPress Site
When the term ‘bounce rate’ gets thrown around, it’s easy to get confused. You may have no idea what a bounce rate is, or you might have some inkling but be unsure about what affects it.
The good news is that there are some helpful tools available to make finding your site’s bounce rate easier. Once you have the data you need, analyzing bounce rates can be an effective way to find areas of your website that need to be optimized.
In this article, we’ll look at what bounce rates are, why they matter, and how they’re determined. We’ll also introduce five ways to reduce your site’s bounce rates. If you’re ready, let’s get to work!
What Is a Bounce (And a Bounce Rate)?
Google defines a ‘bounce’ as a session where a user only visits a single page on a website. In other words, if a visitor opens one page of your site and leaves without triggering any other action (such as clicking on a link or menu button), that’s considered a bounce.
In mathematical terms, the bounce rate is the number of people who bounce off your site, divided by the total number of visitors in the same time frame. This is typically represented as a percentage:
350 bounces ÷ 1000 total visitors = .35 x 100% = 35% bounce rate
Determining whether a bounce rate is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ can be tricky. There are plenty of factors to keep in mind, such as the type of website you’re running.
For example, if your landing pages are seeing a 60 to 90 percent bounce rate, that’s probably fine. After all, a landing page is meant to be a single-page experience. Most websites, however, should be aiming for a bounce rate under 60 percent.
How Do I Find the Bounce Rate of My WordPress Site?
In order to track and monitor your bounce rate on a WordPress website, we suggest leveraging Google Analytics and a plugin such as MonsterInsights.
In fact, if you’ve used our own Content Performance tool through your WP Engine account, we recommend this combination as we transition away from providing that service.
Once you set up your Google Analytics account, you can connect it to your WordPress website by installing and activating MonsterInsights. After you’ve installed the plugin, you can go to Insights > Settings > Launch Setup Wizard in your dashboard to connect MonsterInsights to Google Analytics.
You’ll need to select the Google account your analytics are associated with, and approve several requests from Google to connect to your website’s data.
Once the connection is complete, you’ll be able to access reports right in your WordPress dashboard. Depending on how large your site is, it could take a while for each report to compile. Once it does, you’ll be able to see your bounce rate, along with other valuable data.
Just keep in mind that all of the data you now have access to should be used together. Your bounce rate, when taken on its own, only tells you so much. For the best possible approach, you should consider it in the context of the rest of your site’s metrics.
5 Ways to Reduce Your Bounce Rate in WordPress
Now that you have access to your site’s bounce rate, you might find that it’s higher than the benchmarks suggest it should be. The good news is that there are several ways you can reduce your bounce rate reliably. Let’s take a look at five of the best techniques.
1. Create Quality Content
The relevance of your content has a lot to do with whether your site’s visitors stick around. If someone arrives on your site from a keyword search, and the content there doesn’t match what they expected, it’s not surprising if they bounce away.
You can work to improve this scenario by adhering to a few best practices, including:
- Establish your website’s niche, and stay consistent in your marketing and keyword choices.
- Research your keywords, to make sure they are the right fit for your content and the audience you’re targeting.
- Invite guest writers your readers will recognize to contribute to your site.
Another method for improving your content in a way that should help with your bounce rates is to add videos. It’s been found that video content can help decrease your bounce rates by 34 percent.
2. Optimize Your Content
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of tweaking your site’s content so that it performs better in search engines. Under the broad umbrella of SEO are a number of techniques, ranging from keyword usage to text formatting.
There are a few simple ways you can optimize your content in a way that reduces bounce rates. You can:
- Break up long text with headers, images, bulleted lists, and other visual elements.
- Avoid harsh background colors or font colors that are hard to read.
- Keep your sentences short, and avoid blocks of text over 300 words.
If you’re working with a lot of writers and you need to implement consistent standards, we recommend the Yoast SEO plugin.
This will give you real-time feedback on keyword density, sentence length, and the readability of your content. Your posts will be scored based on how well-optimized they are, and you can even receive suggestions for how to improve your text.
3. Internally Link Where Possible
If your bounce rate is higher than you would like, you might also want to take a look at your linking strategy. Including more internal links (links to other content on your site) can help to keep readers on your website for longer.
In addition, the more internal links you provide, the easier it is for Google to index all of your content. Of course, internal linking has some caveats to consider as well, and you don’t want to overdo it. If you avoid keyword stuffing and make sure your links are always relevant, you’re on the right track.
When done right, internal linking can make a significant impact on your bounce rate. For an example of what a detailed strategy might look like, check out this NinjaOutreach case study. It outlines how NinjaOutreach increased its organic traffic by 40 percent with a tiered internal linking campaign, and includes some useful takeaways for your own website.
4. Improve User Experience
User Experience (UX) has become an industry all to itself, and is important to all kinds of website metrics (including bounce rates). The goal of implementing sound UX Design (UXD) is to remove any barriers that might exist between the user and your content.
Fortunately, there are plenty of plugins you can use to help improve your site’s UX. We’ve already mentioned Yoast SEO, which can come in handy here as well. Additionally, a tool like Broken Link Checker can make a simple but high-impact improvement to your site’s UX.
This plugin will monitor all the links on your website, including those in posts, pages, and comments, and find any that aren’t working properly. This can help you prevent users from becoming frustrated with links that don’t work, thus improving their experience and keeping them on your site.
5. Make Your Website Compatible With All Devices
Globally, there were 4.18 unique mobile internet users in January 2020. When you consider that there were 4.54 billion active internet users total in the same time period, it’s easy to see that mobile matters.
Mobile optimization is vital, because mobile users consistently bounce at a higher rate than desktop users. To combat this effect, there are a number of things you can do. You can:
- Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing tool, to see how your site stacks up in terms of mobile usability.
- Make sure your site’s design is fully responsive.
- Explore using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to improve your site’s mobile experience.
Of course, one of the first and potentially easiest ways to create a better mobile experience is to build your website with the right theme. For example, here at WP Engine our hosting plans come with free access to dozens of StudioPress themes.
Built on the Genesis Framework, these themes can help ensure that your site will be optimized for mobile use right out of the gate.
Keep Users Engaged With WP Engine
If you’re in the business of increasing traffic and improving conversions, monitoring your website’s bounce rate is one way to keep your monetization goals on track. Here at WP Engine, we’re excited to share all the best developer resources we know about, so you can offer excellent digital experiences to your customers.
We also provide a variety of hosting plans for reliable and secure WordPress implementation. Whatever your next project is, our plans and resources can help!