Uncover Navigation Issues with Your Blog’s Bounce Rate

By Melissa Culbertson

A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your blog without visiting more than one page. If I land on your home page, read awhile, and then leave your blog, that counts as a bounce. If they follow a direct link to an older posts or a page of yours and then leave, that’s a bounce, too.

Any bounce rate less than 60% is typically considered decent — and a rate less than 40% is pretty darn good.

This is why you want to track bounce rate: When you have a lower bounce rate, not only are you getting visitors to stay on your blog longer, but you’re also helping them easily get the information they’re looking for by guiding them with good navigation design.

People are naturally skimmers when it comes to online content. If you can make both your content and navigation design awesome, you’ll keep people on your site longer.

To find the bounce rate for individual posts and pages, take the following steps.

  1. Visit your Google Analytics dashboard and log in.

    If you have more than one blog, select the blog you want to look at.

  2. From the left-side menu, choose Content→Site Content→All Pages.

    This brings up data on all individual blog posts and pages, sorted by page views.

  3. Click the Performance button.

    Look for the third button on the far right; it looks like three stacked bars.

    By choosing to view the data using Performance, you can pull up two sets of data to compare.

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  4. Choose Bounces from the right drop-down menu.

    Because the left column already reads Pageviews, you can now see the bounce rate of your posts and pages with the highest number of page views.

On your blog’s home page (shown by a forward slash, /), a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If your blog layout has more than one full article on your page, visitors might read more than one post. They could even share your article via social media without affecting your bounce rate one way or the other.

However, if your blog’s home page design shows only partial blog posts with links to Read more, a high bounce rate could signify trouble.

Here are some reasons that prevent visitors from navigating to other parts of your blog:

  • Wrong keyword or phrase: People find your blog post or page with keywords that aren’t actually relevant to that page’s content.

  • Outdated information: Your blog post may contain content that needs to be updated. You could reference a product that’s no longer available, your tutorial could refer to an old version of a product, and so on.

  • Visual appeal: Does this blog post have an image? Is there enough contrast between your text and your background? Are your fonts hard to read? Any of these reasons could make a visitor click the Back button and leave your site.

  • Nowhere to go next: Are you linking enough to other pages relevant to that topic? Often, plug-ins that automatically pull related posts aren’t enough to get people to click. Try including links to relevant posts within your text (interlinking) or adding a call to action at the end where you suggest what similar post to read next (which can lead a reader to take action by visiting another blog post).

  • Technical issues: Does the page have random code showing? Is an image broken? Is something else not rendering properly? If a page looks awkward, a visitor may leave your site.

On the flip side of a high bounce rate, a really low bounce rate (like less than 10%) could potentially signify navigation design issues as well. If your blog has less than a 10% bounce rate, look closer at your overall navigation structure.

Your navigation may confuse visitors or make visitors click through too many pages to find what they’re looking for. Then again, it may just be a really great bounce rate!