3 Ways to Reduce Your Bounce Rate on Long-Form Content
If you want to perform well in terms of SEO and online visibility, the importance of long-form content has been well documented. But in your pursuit of developing rich content that drives leads, you have to be cognizant of your bounce rate.
What is Your Bounce Rate?
As marketer Amanda Zantal-Wiener explains, “Your website’s bounce rate is the percentage of people who land on a page on your website, then leave. They don’t click on anything else. They just get to one of your pages, hang out for a bit, then leave.”
In other words, your bounce rate is the percentage of “one and done” visitors who land on your site. In most cases, these visitors never return to your site – which makes them missed opportunities. By reducing your bounce rate, you’ll almost always see a natural lift in your conversion rate. If nothing else, you’ll experience more meaningful engagement.
3 Ways to Keep People Engaged
Long-form content is great, but for all of its strengths, it has one glaring weakness. In a day and age where attention spans seem to be decreasing, long-form content asks a lot out of your readers and often intimidates them.
If you’re going to invest in long-form content – and you should – you need to make sure you’re thinking about how you’re holding their attention. Keeping bounce rates in mind, here are some tips for maximizing engagement:
- Break Up the Text
Nothing turns a reader off more than seeing paragraph after paragraph of black text on a white background. It’s mind numbing and disinteresting. If you’re going to develop long-form content with lots of text, make sure you’re breaking that text up.
This article from Kissmetrics is a nice example. It features subheadings, images, graphics, and hyperlinks to provide visual relief and keep the reader engaged throughout the post. The more you do this with your own posts, the better your numbers will be.
- Make Navigation Intuitive
When you have a 3,000- or 5,000-word post, it’s easy for the reader to get lost in the middle of it. And when people get lose track of where they are on the page, they have a choice. They can either spend the energy to get back on track, or they can leave the website. Since most people are lazy by nature, bouncing is the more likely outcome.
One way to reduce your bounce rate is by making navigation as intuitive as possible. This page from The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall provides a good look at this issue. Notice how, periodically throughout the article, there are links that say “Back To Top” with arrows pointing up. These simple elements give the reader the chance to revert back to the top of article without having to manually scroll all the way. It takes virtually no time to implement, but can dramatically lower bounce rates.
- Include Multiple Conversion Opportunities
Before people leave your site, you want to make sure you complete your conversion goals. While you’ll probably have an opt-in form or sales pitch at the top and bottom of the page, make sure you’re also including conversion opportunities throughout the body of the content. A lot of readers will fail to make it to the bottom of your page and these transitional conversion forms will help you capture a percentage of this readership.
Never Stop Optimizing
No matter how low you get your bounce rate, you can’t ever stop optimizing your website. Keep looking for areas where you can improve and don’t settle for anything less than perfect. You’ll never reach a zero percent bounce rate, but you should try.