When starting out, most expert bloggers think that getting people to your blog is the easy part. whereas, most bloggers believe that it is super hard to get people to your blog. Getting the users to stay on your site is harder. Most users come to your site and end up leaving without even going to the second page. When a user leaves without even going to the second page, it increases your bounce rate. It also decreases your pageviews per visit. On a bigger picture, it decreases your ad revenue. In this article, we will share with you tips and tricks that will help you increase pageviews and reduce bounce rate in WordPress.
Before we start
Let’s cover some basics regarding terminology and technology. Bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who enter your site and “bounce” (leave the site) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site. A page view is a request to load a single page on an internet site. We use Google Analytics to track our data. You are welcome to use another analytics service, or you can simply install google analytics on your WordPress site.
Now that we have taken care of the basic terminology, you are probably wondering why the heck do these numbers matter?
If you are running a site that is primarily monetized by banner ads, then the number of pageviews matter. If you are trying to build a loyal audience, then the number of bounce rate matters. Also the lower your bounce rate, the better ads eCPM (cost per thousand) or CPC (cost per click) you will get. When the same user views the next page, your ad provider most likely has a better ad to serve them thus giving you a higher eCPM or CPC.
We have consulted with a lot of clients helping them increase their pageviews and reduce bounce rates. We have also done a lot of experiments on our own sites like List25. So all the methods that we will share are the ones that we have used in the past and know that they work.
P.S. These techniques will ONLY work if you have Good Content.
Interlink Your Posts
Anytime that you can interlink your other posts within the post content, you are going to see an increase in pageviews. In WordPress 3.1, interlinking got even easier because you can simply search for the post you want to link while adding links. Interlinking techniques work great when you have a site with a lot of articles. If you are just starting out, then you will be a bit limited. So how do you go back and interlink older articles when you have something new? You can manually do it, but it will take some time. There are plugins that let you automatically link keywords in WordPress (Although that article is showing you how we did this for affiliate links, you can use it for internal linking purposes as well). Not only does interlinking help you increase pageviews and reduce bounce rates, it also helps with SEO as well.
If you want to see an example of interlinking, then just look at the paragraph above.
Show Related Posts After the Post
One of the main reasons why the user leaves your blog after reading the post is because you are not showing them what to do next. By showing the user with a list of “related posts” or “other popular posts”, you may get them to go on to visit another post on your site. There are a lot of ways you can add related posts to your blog. You can use a plugin called YARPP that has its advanced algorithm that picks the related post. You can show related posts by category or tags without using a plugin. You can also show related posts by showing other posts by the same author.
Show Excerpts on Front / Archive Pages
Showing excerpts on front/archive pages have two advantages. First, it decreases page load time. Second, it helps increase the pageviews. You should almost never show full posts on your front page or archive page. Imagine having like 25 images in one post, and then have 5 of those on one page. It would be a horrible user experience because of (slow load time and super long page) which would make the user leave your site. We have a tutorial on how to display post excerpts in WordPress themes. Most good theme frameworks like Genesis, Thesis, Headway etc. already have this option built-in.
Splitting up Long Posts
Are you writing a super long post? Well, you can split it into multiple pages using the WordPress <!–nextpage–> tag in your post. Simply add it wherever you want, and your post will split into multiple pages. You can see an example of how we split our posts into two pages or even into five pages. You have to be very careful when doing this because if you do not have a sufficient amount of content on each page, then the user might get pissed of. We have seen a lot of big name sites like Forbes, NY Times, Wall Street Journal and others utilize this technique.
Your sidebar can play a crucial role in increasing pageviews and reducing bounce rate. You can show your popular posts in the sidebar. You can even customize it to show popular posts by week, month, all time. You can also show your most recent posts only on single post pages. We have seen sites that create custom images to navigate to specific posts of theirs. You can integrate other sections of your site in your sidebar for example look at our WordPress Coupons section or the gallery section in the sidebar.
Encourage Random Browsing
On List25, they created a feature called I’m Feeling Curious. When a user clicks on this button, they will be redirected to a random post in WordPress. We put the button in our header bar which was a very hot spot. After seeing good results, we ended up putting it on Anantvijaysoni as well and called it Explore.
When we started out List25, we faced a lot of criticism. People were saying that sites like these fail to grow because it is hard to keep a loyal audience. We asked around and a lot of people who had done something similar in the past reported that the bounce rate for a similar site was soaring in 80% range. The average user would view only one page per visit and leave. We started the site out to get some base data. Our bounce rate was in the 75% range. We slowly started implementing the changes mentioned above. Bounce rate decreased from the average of 76% to 42%. Our pageviews per visit increased to 2.79 / pages per visit. Average time spent on page went to the average of 3 minutes and 40 seconds << This is the average time spent by our 1 lakh unique visitors! What are you doing to increase pageviews and reduce bounce rate? Share with us.