Right now, I’m compiling links about bounce rate for Brilliant Bloggers, and it struck me that a lot of bloggers out there might not even know what bounce rate is and why they should want a lower number. So, I’ll get to all the links and tips for creating a stickier blog tomorrow…today, I thought it might be helpful if we all talk about why this matters in the first place!
What is Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate is a number hidden in your states, usually reflected as a percentage. This is the one case when a lower number is better! Basically, a bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your site after reading only their entry page, the page that got them to your blog in the first place. They don’t click any internal links. They don’t go to the home page. They don’t click the “read more” button. They just leave.
So, you actually want a lower bounce rate. The lower the rate, the more people are sticking around and checking out other areas of your blog, maybe even subscribing to your RSS feed or mailing list.
They Like Me…They Really Like Me!
Traffic is a great way to measure your success as a blogger, but I think sometimes the numbers can be more complex than we’d like to admit. Traffic spikes from, for example, a popular post on StumbleUpon can make your monthly totals soar. However, when you look at the bounce rate from that traffic, it tends to be very high.
It’s not that you didn’t have great content, because if you didn’t, it wouldn’t have gotten popular on StumbleUpon, but it’s more important that a person likes you, not just your blog posts. When a person is interested in you, not just your content, they want to read more, and they even want to subscribe or bookmark so they can stay connected in the future.
Readers to Consumers
Your readers consume your content, but you want them to be a consumer in another sense as well – you want them to buy your stuff, whether that’s items through affiliate links or your own products or services. People who bounce away from your site quickly don’t become consumers. The next step after becoming a consumer is becoming a brand advocate, where they actually go out and tell other people to buy from you as well…and that definitely doesn’t happen when they bounce from your site quickly!
Bounce rate is just one part of understanding your stats. I think it’s important not to have blinders on when examining numbers. Even bounce rate doesn’t alone accurately reflect what is happening on your site. Stats are tricky! But don’t ignore bounce rate, especially when you see a traffic spike. Understanding whether or not people are sticking around to check out the rest of your blog can help you create better content.
How much importance do you put in bounce rate versus raw traffic numbers? Leave a comment to tell us!