What's your blog's bounce rate? Do you know what “bounce rate” is?
bounce rate is the percentage of people who arrive on your site and leave without visiting a second page
There's a lot of discussion online about what's a good bounce rate, and it depends on the type of site you have, but generally, around 50-60% is good benchmark. If it's 50%, that means that 1 out of every 2 people who visit your site go deeper, and click on an internal link. My main blog has a 50% bounce rate, but my coupon codes blog has a 70% bounce rate, which is exactly where I want it, because the goal with the coupon codes blog is to get readers to exit and buy via my links. But with my main blog, I'd like them to stick around, join the conversation, and find something that will entice them to come back.
There are ways to make your bounce rate better (decrease it) if yours it too high. Most importantly, you should deliver the kind of content you “promise” with your keywords. But here are some other ways to keep readers on your blog:
I use the LinkWithin plugin, but I'm sure there are others that are also good. When I look at my stats, the LinkWithin widget at the bottom of every post is consistently one of my top internal “referrers,” which indicates that readers are finding them useful, and that they entice them to poke around the site more.
One of the top pages on my site is my about page; I have it linked to in the sidebar (at the top) and via the top navigation on my site. I also have a link at the bottom in the footer, and sometimes I'll link to it in the body of a post if it's relevant. Linking to your about page from several locations on your site is essential for creating a relationship with your readers. If they come to your site and like what they see initially, one of the next things they'll look for is more information about YOU. Use your about page to get a little more personal, and maybe add links to some of your favorite posts.
Sometimes asking questions at the end of a post gets a bad rep, but I have found that it increases reader participation and encourages conversation around blog posts. If you don't ask a question in your posts, at least encourage readers to share stories, or add their input; this goes a long way towards creating a vibrant and loyal community on your blog, which will keep readers on your site, and then coming back for more. If a first-time reader sees that you answer comments and really engage with other readers, they'll be more likely to read more.
There are plugins for this too, but you can also rotate links in your sidebar by changing them out every week. Readers love to see what content on your site OTHER readers love, so this is a very important component to keeping them on your site. keeping track of your popular posts also helps YOU to keep track of them and update them as necessary.
Always have a link to your blog's archives somewhere on your site (mine are in the sidebar). I also use the Smart Archives Reloaded plugin to create a detailed archive page for my site that lists every post for the last nine years. Again, linking to existing content and making it as easy as possible for readers to find and go through is essential for keeping them interested, and wanting to come back.
Of course, producing consistently good, relevant content is the most important factor in acquiring and keeping readers on your blog, but the things I mentioned above are also great, easy ways to help it along. What have you found that helps keep readers on your blog? Have you successfully decreased your bounce rate over time?
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