A few months back, I left the world of WordPress analytics (Jetpack) for the more in-depth world of Google Analytics. I still use WordPress’ Jetpack on a daily basis to see how many hits I’ve gotten on that day, but when it comes to really breaking down your traffic and getting detailed analytics, nothing can take the place of Google Analytics.
It’s easy enough to install on your blog, too. I use Yoast’s Google Analytics plugin. Once you have it installed, you can start to mine your data.
Google Analytics almost gives you too much information. It can be quite overwhelming. One thing you may want to be aware of is something called your Bounce Rate. Bounce Rate is the amount of people that come to your blog and read just one page before clicking off and going to another website.
In the grand scheme of things, you want your bounce rate to be as low as possible. You want people to stay on your site as long as possible. But for bloggers, your bounce rate may be higher than a traditional website, because it’s possible people may come to your site just to read today’s post (because they’ve already read your past posts), and then get on with their day.
Bounce rates for blogs are much higher (70-98% according to this source) than standard websites (somewhere around 40%).
My current bounce rate is around 71%.
Here are some things you can do to help lower your blog’s bounce rate:
1. Internal linking: This is when you reference a previous blog post you’ve written in a post. I often start a blog post with “A few weeks ago, I wrote this post on x” and hyperlink back to the original post. What this does is it leads the reader down the rabbit hole of your blog; they’ll want to explore more deeply and read past posts. In addition, internal linking is great for SEO!
2: Install a “related posts” plugin: There are tons of them out there, but I use YARPP. It automatically generates a tag at the bottom of every post that says “If you liked this post, you may also like…” and shows the reader four options. Options are generated based on keywords and tags, but you can modify them if you like. You also have the option to have the plugin be very visual (showing images) or not (plain text).
3. Serial: it’s not just for breakfast anymore! A great way to get people to delve deeper into your blog is to write serial posts. This is when you write a series of posts related to a certain topic, and publish them on a regular basis. You could do several posts in one week, or a series of posts over many weeks or months. Just be sure that you link from one post to another, or create a new page on your blog that lists all the posts in the series.
4. Convert first-time readers to subscribers. To some degree, your bounce rate becomes moot if people are subscribing to your RSS feed. Because you know they are coming back every time you publish a new post. You have a bunch of options here. I use a couple of different plugins: What Would Seth Godin Do puts a reminder to first-time viewers of your blog at the top of each post. If the reader doesn’t subscribe, after about 5 times, the reminder goes away. I also use another plugin, Subscribe Remind, which shows up at the bottom of each post, reminding the reader to subscribe to my RSS feed in a reader, or by email.