Bounces are your worst enemy in a content marketing campaign. One of your biggest goals is to acquire traffic for your site, but what is that traffic actually for? You want people to stick around, read your material, and eventually convert to generate more revenue for your site. If they get to your blog and then bounce, that visitor is practically worthless to you.
Some bounces are unavoidable—there’s no shortage of tire-kickers and users who click links by mistake. But there are seven good reasons why someone would bounce from your blog after getting there legitimately, and you’ll want to prevent them whenever possible:
1. Your page took too long to load
This is more of a problem with your website than it is with your content, but it can be responsible for a bulk of bounces. If a user clicks a link to your blog, and it takes more than a few seconds to load, he/she will probably bail in favor of something else. User patience is limited when it comes to loading times, so don’t let a few seconds stand between you and a potential customer. This issue is exacerbated on mobile devices, as they typically load slower than their desktop counterparts, and one mobile quirk could ruin an otherwise clean page. If your site is running slow, install a good caching plugin, get rid of any plugins that you aren’t using, and reduce the size of your image files. If load times continue to be a problem, consider switching your hosting provider.
2. Your blog is cluttered with ads
People came to your blog to read content, not to be sold ads. One or two ads on the sides or in the header of your blog won’t make people turn and run away, but if your blog is cluttered with them, few will be willing to stick around for long. This goes for third party ads as well as pitches for your own products and services; it’s important to include some (or else you won’t generate sales), but hitting your users over the head with them is a certain path toward disaster.
3. Your content doesn’t match your pitch
Whether you syndicated your piece on social media or someone found it organically, your headline and description are the reason they came to your blog in the first place. If the full copy of your material doesn’t match the intention and focus you set up in your pitch, your users are going to bail. Because of this, it’s critically important to write headlines and taglines that exactly match the focus of your blogs. One deviation is all it takes to send a user away permanently. An easy way to present this is to make use of a “key takeaways” or conclusion section, which recaps your main points and helps users find bottom-line answers to their questions.
4. Your content bulky or impenetrable
Some users thrive on long-form content, and when they come to your site, they want to read dense, detail-ridden material over thousands of words. Most users, however, prefer to have something light and skimmable. Using sub-headers, bulleted lists, numbered lists, and other segmented sections, you can offer your users the best of both worlds. If you present your content as long, unbroken paragraphs, you might turn away that portion of the audience that’s too pressed for time to dig deep.
5. Your content is non-authoritative
People want to read content they trust. If you’re an established influencer in your industry, you might have a natural authority about you. Otherwise, you’ll have to prove your authority in the body of your posts by including counterpoints, counterarguments, hard research, and objective data. The more authoritative your sources are, the better, so look for authorities on a given subject when you cite external sources. Be as thorough as possible; if it looks like you made up your content as you went along, people are going to leave.
6. You aren’t offering anything new
It only takes a few sentences to figure out whether the article you’re reading is offering information you’ve never heard before. As a reader, if you start the second paragraph with the notion that the article is simply repeating something you’ve read elsewhere, you’re probably going to leave. This is a problem that can be addressed during the idea generation phase of your process. Choose topics that nobody’s done before, and execute them in an original way. If you’re struggling to come up with original topics, consider using polls and surveys to get a feel for what your customers want to read. Then, look at your major competitors’ blogs. What aren’t they talking about? What topics seem to go unnoticed or unexplored?
7. You didn’t invite them in further
If a user reads a piece and is satisfied, they’ll probably leave. On the surface, that might seem like a good thing; after all, they’ve probably left with a favorable impression of your brand. But they haven’t made a purchase or taken significant action on your site yet. You have to invite them in further if you want them to stick around. One way to do this is interlinking your blog posts—include relevant links in the body of your content pointing to other areas of your site, such as root content pages or other blogs. This will encourage readers to learn more about related subjects, or become more familiar with your brand. You could also intentionally leave them with unanswered questions, with a conclusion that leads them to another section of your site to answer those questions.
Don’t let any of these seven common bounce reasons get in the way of your inbound strategy. The fewer reasons people have to leave your site, the more likely they’ll be to browse your other material, and eventually convert. You may not be able to solve all these issues at once, but if you prioritize them, you can gradually tweak and improve your blog to ensure as many visitors stick around for as long as possible.