My freelance writing business is almost a year old, and my website and blog have only been live for a few months. As site traffic grows, I’ve been using Google Analytics to keep an eye on the stats and trends.
One metric I’ve been watching is the overall bounce rate and the bounce rate for what I’ll call “high-value” pages. The bounce rate is defined by Google (and who argues with The Google?) as the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page. Basically, it means someone entered your site, and for whatever reason, chose not to explore any additional pages.
Therefore, your bounce rate is a good gauge of your website content’s appeal to visitors. While there isn’t a hard and fast rule about what is an acceptable bounce rate, a rate around 50-60% (or lower of course) is a good target. Think about it this way – you want at least half of your visitors to stick around long enough to get to know you and your site, right?
Earlier, I mentioned monitoring the overall bounce rate – the average bounce rate for the entire site – plus the bounce rate of specific pages. While I won’t lose sleep over a high bounce rate on a post about Facebook and B2B marketing, I would be concerned if my homepage or contact page had a 70% bounce rate because those are really important pages.
As I’m examining my website content’s bounce rate, I am also paying attention to the bounce rate as it relates to certain traffic sources. For example, direct traffic (people who go to my site by typing in the URL) should have a lower bounce rate because they know me, have already seen my site or come from my professional network. On the other hand, traffic driven by a site such as Twitter would likely have a higher bounce rate because my content may not be exactly what the visitor is looking for.
So far, my preliminary website stats and bounce rates are consistent with what I’d expect although I have seen a few surprises such as one blog post (Why Would You Need a Freelance Copy Writer?) outperforming all others combined! Another surprise has been the amount of bounces on the FAQs page. Maybe the content isn’t what viewers expect or it’s a boring page, but if the trend keeps up, I’ll probably rewrite it – or maybe scrap it entirely.
While combing through website stats and your bounce rate may be slightly less exciting than watching paint dry, it is certainly worth the effort. Not only can the bounce rate provide you with insight regarding what pages lose visitors’ interest, but also the intel about pages and posts with low bounce rates can be used to shape future blog posts, website content, marketing materials, etc.
Don’t feel like sifting through site stats? Contact Round for help.