Analytics: Bounce Rates

You may want to catch up before reading this post:

Analytics Part I: Tips and Tricks
Analytics Part II: Who, What, When, Where
Analytics Part III: Why Subscriptions Don’t Really Count

It’s no secret that I love analytics. But what’s really fun is trying to tell a story through analytics. How do people find you, and what do they do while they’re there? Who sends you the most traffic? What search terms do people use?

Recently, I got a question about bounce rates, and I thought I’d try and help explain what they measure and what they mean to bloggers.

According to Google:

Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Use this metric to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site and convert. You can minimize bounce rates by tailoring landing pages to each keyword and ad that you run. Landing pages should provide the information and services that were promised in the ad copy.

Google Analytics is the best tool to use to measure this particular metric, and you can find it under Visitors>Behavior>New Vs. Returning (on the old version of GA, it’s under Visitors>Visitor Trending>Bounce Rate).

It’s hard to declare that something can be a good or a bad bounce rate, because it really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish on your site. Let’s say you’re trying to get someone to sign up for a newsletter? You want them to come and go, so a high bounce rate is normal.

But if you’re a blogger, with lots of great quality content, you want people to stick around, and go from page to page.

(BTW, my analytics hero, Avinash Kaushik says in “Measure Effectiveness of Your Web Page” that:

“My own personal observation is that it is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%, anything over 35% is cause for concern, 50% (above) is worrying.” — Avinash Kaushik

To give you an example, here are my bounce rates for the last 3 months:

  • 13.5%
  • 8.7%
  • 9.9%

But that’s most likely because I do a lot of how-to posts, and link to other posts that may be helpful. I’ve also redone my design, added new elements to my navigation bar, started using the nrelate plugin to recommend other posts and more.

In 2010, when I was still trying to redefine my blogging goals, my bounce rates were much different:<

  • 65.77%
  • 60.58%
  • 67.14%

What qualifies as a bounce?

  • Someone comes to your site then clicks a link to leave (if you link to someone else’s blog, for example)
  • Someone goes to the address bar and types in a new URL
  • Someone closes the tab
  • Someone clicks the back button to exit the site
  • The session times out

In general, the more you help guide your readers to the next step through navigation, internal links and design, the more likely they are to stick around and the lower your bounce rate will be.

I can’t say it much better than these guys, so read on — then let me know what other questions you have about blogging and/or analytics!

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  1. says

    CRAP. Mine is like 80% bounce rate!

    I think my numbers are skewed though because I have a product review that EVERYONE seems to find my blog with. They are only looking for the review so they read it and leave.

  2. says

    Question on nrelate vs. linkwithin…When a person clicks a thumbnail from the linkwithin plugin, does that take them from my site, somewhere else and then back therefore counting as a “bounce”? Is that why I’ve heard nrelate is better? (no “bouncing” going on?)

  3. says

    Blogs tend to have higher bounce rates than other websites. Your bounce rates are super amazing so good job! I work with a web design company and we generally tell clients the range of acceptable is between 30-70% and you always want to be closer to that 30%. Blogs tend to skew higher toward the 70% (or something over) from the stats I’ve seen. Yeah, it’s super fun looking at bounce rates of hundreds of sites. 😉

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