This post is inspired by a “conversation” I had on the Elance LinkedIn group yesterday. Vivek shared a post titled “how to stabilize the bounce rate a website” with 7 tips. I found the tips helpful, but perhaps not terribly actionable for non-technical people. I thought I’d add 3 of my own that are quite actionable (and easy), though you’ll definitely want some help implementing if you’re not comfortable adding plugins and configuring widgets on your WordPress site.
First, a definition of bounce rate:
Bounce rate measures the percentage of people who come to your site and leave immediately.
There’s more to it (of course!). A more complete definition of bounce rate is available on author Avinash Kaushik’s site. (It’s an old post, but the comments are very recent.) The idea around managing bounce rate is to engage readers and keep them on your site. If they’re not staying, it’s because they’re not finding anything relevant or valuable. Of course, it’s possible they’ve stumbled on your site and what you have is not relevant to what they’re doing. But if it is, you want them to stay.
Here are three simple to implement WordPress plugins to put more content in front of your readers to keep them engaged longer:
- Add a related content plugin. I like nRelate. It’s really easy to implement, and very powerful. It easily allows you to incorporate advertising if that’s your thing, or to pull related content from other blogs if you’ve got multiple sites. You’ll see the results at the bottom of this post because I have it running here. I had tried 2 other 3 other plugins first, none gave the me confidence or simplicity of nRelate.
- Add a popular posts plugin. I like WordPress.com Popular Posts. Again, really easy to use and works in conjunction with WordPress.com stats so you don’t need to add another stats database/plugin to the server. You can see the results in the sidebar to the right.
- Present recent posts of the same category. I like the Advanced Recent Posts Mod plugin. It lets you limit the recent posts shown to the category of the current post you’re viewing. This helps to improve the relevance of the content displayed to the reader. I also use the Genesis Simple Sidebars in combination with this plugin to put category specific recent plugins in the side bar of pages for the different offerings that I have. You can see this if you look at my Technology Product Advisory Offerings compared to my Coaching Offerings. The recent posts listed are different. By the way, I use the Genesis theme framework, so I can use the Genesis Simple Sidebars plugin.
The overall objective is to present relevant content to the reader. Related content brings up anything from the archives based on the plugin’s formula for determining relevancy (usually based on Category and Tag), while popular posts share the list of posts other readers have read most. Recent posts simply presents the latest posts in the same category. All-in-all, 3 different ways to get relevant content to reader.
Image credit to Unbounce.com, I took this and repurposed it from their post titled “Landing Page Design for Testability – 3 Simple Ways to Minimize Testing Costs” (as it turns out a very interesting post, on a different topic). Unbounce is a do-it-yourself Landing Page Platform that I have absolutely no connection to other than the image I borrowed.