Analytics and metrics matter. They’re not the end-all, be-all measure of success (I think you’re better off asking yourself these two questions) but they count, especially if you’re making money from your blog.
Contrary to popular belief, page views, unique visitors and social media followers don’t always tell the whole story about your engagement or how well you can deliver a message but they should be on your media kit.
What should not be there? Two stats that I see time and again on media kits that people submit to me for review.
What are they?
According to Google, this is defined as:
…the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).
There are a number of factors that contribute to a high bounce rate. For example, users might leave your site from the entrance page if there are site design or usability issues.
High bounce rate=bad, right? Not necessarily. Sure, it’s always worth taking a look at your user’s experience. If your design sucks, if it’s not mobile optimized and you have a lot of mobile traffic, if your site is cluttered with ads or bad formatting, it will certainly send people away.
But let’s look at the rest of Google’s definition:
Alternatively, users might also leave the site after viewing a single page if they’ve found the information they need on that one page, and had no need or interest in going to other pages.
If you’re a food blogger whose traffic comes primary from search engines or Pinterest, you’re likely getting people to one particular post, not the homepage, and they find everything they need on your post then scurry off to make your delicious recipe, that’s a win. (If they had to hunt around to separate pages to find the ingredients, the specific steps, instructions on serving sizes, cooking times, etc., you’d have a lower bounce rate but probably a pretty annoyed reader who wouldn’t share or pin your content for others to see).
If you’re a technology blogger who perfectly lays out the steps to setting up a new blog, and your reader is able to take all of the information and put it into action without having to go to other sections of your website, you’ve probably written a pretty amazing post.
So, what is a good bounce rate?
That, again, depends on who you ask and what kind of blog or website you have. “Good” is relative. And that’s why I don’t think it’s a metric that’s worth using without context — and certainly not something that you need to include on a media kit.
Sponsors, in particular, should not care one bit because their goal is not to keep people on your site. They want to know how much traffic they can expect to THEIR posts — and if someone comes, reads/shares/saves and leaves, it makes no difference.
Good reads on the topic:
- What’s the Average Bounce Rate for a Website? (via RocketFuel)
- What You Can Learn From Bounce Rate (via Kissmetrics)
- Typical Bounce Rate for Those With High Rankings (via SEO Chat)
Oh, and BTW — if your bounce rate is crazy low, like in the teens, you likely have your analytics tracking code installed twice. Nobody is THAT sticky.
Which brings us to…
Time on Site
It is exactly what it seems like: a measure of how much time someone spends on a post or page of your site. But it fails on so many levels.
- You don’t know what people were doing during that time. Maybe they were on your site for five minutes, but it’s because they couldn’t find what they were looking for and had to hunt it down in frustration. Sure, you get the nice long time on site but you have NO chance of getting social shares or engagement, and that person sure isn’t going to come back.
- You don’t know if the person was actually using your site or just had it loaded in a browser while he/she was taking the dog for a walk, watching TV or reading content in five other open tabs.
It’s just not relevant without context and again, if it takes someone fifteen minutes to read a post on your site, maybe that’s a sign that the post is too long or too difficult to follow. Not good, right?
So, forget these two metrics — they don’t matter without context and even then, they shouldn’t matter much at all.
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