How To Keep Your Readers Engaged & Your Bounce Rate Low

Studying at laptop
Image by: Saad Faruque
By Michael Sterling

To those who have an online business, it’s always a hassle trying to keep your bounce rate low. It is, after all, how one gets the big bucks from paid advertisers. The lower the rate, the more likely they will invest in your site knowing their services will be seen by viewers.

But something most online business owners fail to see is that it takes more than a visual aspect to keep customers intrigued. It’s content, engagement, and interaction.¬†Together, these qualities will make any website come to life, and keep you laughing all the way to the bank.

Bounce Rate 101

Wikipedia defines a Bounce Rate as the percentage of visitors who enter the site and “bounce” (leave the site) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site. In other words, it’s the number of people who leave. A low bounce rate gives you an incentive to ask for more money from advertisers, plus gives you leverage to promote your site on a higher platform.

To keep one’s bounce rate low, business owners have took it upon themselves to develop their own strategies. Many of them have worked out in the long run, but others have failed miserably. The key ingredient is not to “look the part” in a fancy shmancy layout, but to grasp the attention of your readers. This is why they stay on your website. Period.

Content Engagement 

Let’s look at the website Upworthy, which uploads daily inspirational and comical videos. A year after it launched, the site had over 10 million unique visitors a month, yet, their layout is not engaging at all. It’s plain, it’s empty, and only allows room for it’s video que.

But their intention isn’t so much for people to visit their site, it’s to get them to share their videos. The content, then, speaks for itself.

Their motto is “if it makes an editor cry, it’s Upworthy.” They’re constantly searching video sharing sites like YouTube for uploads that may have been forgotten by the public. Many of Upworthy’s digital content, believe it or not, is over a year old. By making sure the content stays emotionally connected, it gives more of a chance for readers to share them on social media.

Upworthy is one of the most shared video sites in Facebook, and the best part is, this affects their bounce rate. Keep this in mind when you’re planning your content strategy. If it doesn’t make you feel something, what makes you think it will be any different for your viewers?

Viewer Interaction

Videos, slideshows, top-10 lists, and online games not only focus the reader’s attention on your content, but it keeps them on the page longer without even trying. A good slideshow or FAQ-type of article will keep a viewer on a single page for at least 5 – 7 minutes, which will greatly affect your bounce rate.

In order for it to be a genuine interaction, it must be relatable to all markets. Whether it’s about the human condition, relationships, breaking news, recent pop culture, or universal problems everyone deals with, the main idea is to stay as current and poignant as possible.

*Tip: When you’re building slideshows and lists, think of it in a similar structure as telling a joke: Set up, build up, and punchline. This keeps them invested the entire time.¬†

Hot Topic Engagement

Staying up to date with pop culture can be beneficial, because it brings more eyeballs to your content. Do a Google search on current news every morning, and see how you can implement it towards your services. Top-10 lists are a great way to do this.

For example, if you run an online clothing store, a Top-10 list like “Top 10 ‘Twerking’ Outfits Miley Cyrus Can Rock,” with pictures of your clothing and funny write ups beneath, would have done exceptionally well last week since everyone was talking about the VMAs.

Not only do lists like this bring more traffic, but they also expose your products and allows viewers a reason to stay intrigued at a much longer period.