So you kick up Google Analytics, as I do nearly every day, and take a look at the myriad of stats provided to you. You get visits, pageviews, time on site, etc., all with pretty straightforward meanings. But what about bounce rate?
This measures the percentage of people who go to your site, look at one page, then leave. This is a confusing stat for most people, who either a) misinterpret it or b) disregard it as useless.
It is, however, an extremely important stat that you must take into account as a measure of your advertising strategies and the quality of your blog’s content.
When we examine bounce rate, we must consider it in two different places: the home page or other navigation pages, and actual content pages.
The former is where the true analysis lies. When people arrive at the latter, that is pages with actual posts on them, the bounce rate will be high merely because people will visit your site from Google or other sources for the content itself, and nothing else. They therefore will be less likely to navigate anywhere else on your site.
However, on navigation pages, people are looking to find content on your site specifically, and if they don’t find any and leave, this can tell you a lot about your website.
One thing this tells you is that your advertising strategies are bad, meaning the way you try and drive visitors to your website fails in getting readers and merely generates what is called “bad traffic”.
You want readers in the end, and this stat tells you they are not coming in. Common reasons advertising would fail in this regard is with traffic generation sites, which force or provide benefit for visiting sites or not much else (Entrecard, Blogexplosion, etc.), or a mistargeted ad scheme. If you believe this may be the case, adjust your strategy to get what you want, or you’re just wasting money or time.
Another thing this may tell you is that your content is just bad. If people are looking for content on your site, and are dissatisfied with what they see, they will leave. This could be either due to the above effects, that of bad advertising strategies, bad titling, or bad writing. This means you must improve your style or topic choices to better entice readers to look for more and eventually come back.
To conclude, though bounce rate is a confusing stat, it is important. It tells you a lot about how you try and market your site and how your site is in and of itself. Low bounce rate means more pageviews, which means more ad impressions, which, even for those bloggers which are not driven by the passion for writing but a desire for income, is a good thing also. When you look at your analytics page, don’t dismiss bounce rate, embrace it.
What is your bounce rate? What do you do to help lower your bounce rate?