You’ve probably heard marketing experts advise bloggers to “make your site sticky and reduce bounce rates.” This marketing jargon confuses and frustrates blog authors, and they’ll often ignore this advice in favor of more easily understood tips and strategies (like targeting long-tail keywords in blog posts).
Stickiness is simply getting visitors to engage deeply with your content, and hopefully with your products if you’re selling something online.
Bounce rate is simply a measure of how many people visit your website, look at one post or page, and then leave.
The two ideas go together, and you can estimate your blog’s stickiness and learn your exact bounce rate by looking at your monthly analytics. Bounce rate is more in your control as a blogger by making some tweaks to your layout and adding some obvious pointers for new visitors.
On the design side, choose a theme or layout that loads quickly and minimizes distracting clutter. Graphical elements and images within posts should make sense to readers and support the text they are reading. Likewise, color contrasts can be leveraged to improve readability and hold attention–and encourage clicking on internal page links to bring readers deeper into your blog. Keep it clean and simple: black text, white background, and blue links feel comfortable and familiar.
When you embed link text into your blog posts, always have the link open into a new tab or window. People often forget where they are as they click around, and having to use the back button in the browser is old-school. This is especially important when links lead away from your blog to third-party sites.
On the content side, obviously you want quality content that answers the visitor’s need or question. Beyond that basic, pay attention to ease of reading. Depending on your audience, you may need to simplify the language of your blog posts to a more readable level. Also, make sure your grammar and punctuation are absolutely perfect.
Finally, leverage related content to keep visitors from bouncing away. Many themes and plugins make this task easy, but as you build content keep referring to older posts in helpful and subtle ways through internal linking. Splitting longer posts into several installments is an excellent way to keep readers clicking along and getting comfortable with your blog.
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and honestly analyze what could cause high bounce rates. Getting people to visit your blog is only the first step: keeping them there turns you into a highly regarded resource and encourages deep engagement.