No one launches a website or blog with the intention of no one ever seeing it. That’d be like throwing a party that no one shows up to. It’s not really enough to just get visitors to your site, though. You have to keep them.

Are people coming to your website and staying for a while, or are they hitting your home page, and immediately leaving? Looking at the number of people who visit your site but immediately leave – your “bounce rate” – is a great metric for determining how well your website or blog is working for you.

What’s your goal?

Avinash Kaushik, author of “Web Analytics 2.0,” says a bounce rate of 40 to 60 percent is a good starting point. This means that for every 10 people who visit your site, four or five stay for a while. That rate is better than a direct marketing campaign, which might only catch the attention of two or three people, but there is still room for improvement. This is where taking an objective critical look at your site comes in handy.

Reaching more people

You have most likely identified the keywords that best support your blog’s intent and that match the things your visitors are looking for. If you do pay-per-click marketing, you have carefully selected ads which will complement your site’s content. If you haven’t already, you can investigate site retargeting campaigns that can put relevant ads for your products or services in front of readers. And you can ensure that the copy on your site or blog is as engaging as possible with the use of white space, colorful and informative graphics and easy navigation.

Evaluating content on your website or blog

One key to reducing bounce rates is to give readers something worthwhile on your site. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your copy engaging? Do you hold the readers’ interests? Is it an entertaining read, or does your copy seem more like a lecture from the most boring professor on campus? If you’re bored reading it, so is your reader, so change it up. Add some humor and pizzazz! Make it entertaining and give your readers a reason to stay
  • When was the last time you updated your copy? If you can’t remember, it’s been too long. Sites themselves are static, but the information needs to remain fluid. People who come to a site and see the same opening line as they saw the last time aren’t going to stick around
  • Is your PPC advertising paying off? Your bounce rate tools will let you know which advertisements are working for you. If you have decided that 40 to 60 percent is an acceptable bounce rate, then examine your ads and see which fall within that range or lower. Keep the ones that meet your standards and reevaluate the ones that don’t
  • Are your keywords working for you? Just because they worked for you last year, last month or even last week does not mean they are working for you now. A rule of thumb is that you should change your keywords every six months.

Putting it all together

Identify what you want your bounce rate to be – what’s acceptable, and what’s ideal. As you evaluate your site or blog over time, look for ways to reach that ideal goal.