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5 Ways to Speed Up Your Blog and Lower Your Bounce Rate
Your bounce rate is how fast people leave your site. The faster they do, the higher your bounce rate. A 99% bounce rate is not a good sign of a good site! But a 10% bounce rate is! And the better (lower) the bounce rate is, the better rankings your site will be given in the Search Engines. One of the best ways to reduce bounce rate is to have great content that makes people stick around and read it. As well as good site navigation, structure and infrastructure. From some simple design changes, to layout and speed optimization. Let's discuss some of those ways to do that!
Make it Eye Friendly
Font sizes, colors and contrasts play a massive role on how "readable" and "eye friendly" your content actually is. Too small and people will squint and get tired of squinting. To large and they'll be forced to try and shrink your site which could have an effect on how it looks and works. Plus if your colors are off and aren't blending well this doesn't have the same effect as colors that blend and merge well together.
To find the perfect balance of font size, make sure your font size is to the optimum of 60 characters per line. Make sure your background colors don't make it hard for your readers to read the text on it and make other elements of your site have matching shades and hues and using the same colour palette.
Speed it Up!
- Use colors that match and compliment each other.
- Make your font size so there are around 60 characters per line.
- Make other elements on your site use accented matching colors.
- It's best to use small pale gray text on a pure white background.
How fast your website loads is a big deal! Slow loading websites are abandoned and plagued by no returning visitors. Why would they when they can get that information they need that your site has when they can get it from a site that loads quicker? Thus saving their time & bandwidth as well. So you need to optimize your site and page load speed times. You need to make sure it loads fast and right. It's just part of knowing your on-page SEO.
Whether it's from shortening your content and what else shows on each page (do you really need your blogs categories or latest posts widgets to show on every page?) to making tweaks to your sites code like removing any white space or operator instructions to optimize it, to optimizing and reducing your images data size, even the EXIF data of them. To localizing externally referenced scripts, files and images etc.
These are things you'll have to do regardless to the platform or CMS system your site is using. For WordPress users, every plugin you add to your site will add more time onto your sites page load times. Some plugins may access external scripts, slowing the page load complete time even more. Fortunately there's many good tools out there to check your WordPress page load speed times.
One such tool to use to test the before and after page load times after you install a new plugin is to test your site’s speed on GTMetrix.com
before you install/activate that plugin and then after it to see how much time it added on to load that extra plugin. GTMetrix.com
will also show you other areas of your site like where bottlenecks are so you can optimize to reduce its page load speed time.
But a lot of WordPress users think that WordPress is SEO friendly out-of-the-box
, well it is and it isn't. It's a great CMS out of the box, but it's not fully SEO optimized out of the box. Like most sites, you'll need to add other things to it to make it more SEO friendly and to speed it up. Such as file compression, minifying CSS files and minimizing HTTP requests to caching or cloud hosting, DNS resolution to using a CDN (Content Delivery Network
All these things play a role in how fast your site loads. But WordPress does require several plugins to make it more SEO friendly such as a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache
and an SEO plugin like Yoast
or All-in-One SEO plugin
. Plus these will need tweaking to get it working right on your site but do help in the long run to making WP more SEO optimized and run faster.
However, you can do the same things these plugins do if you know how they work. You can use your .htaccess file for to do a lot of these things alone such as adding compression and browser caching, to blocking certain bots from accessing your site which use up more resources that can slow your site down and more. But you can find a wealth of information out there on how to use your .htaccess file to speed up your site without having to dig too deep.
- Test your current page load speed times and try to get the time down.
- Optimize your sites code and minify locally accessed scripts or external files.
- Benchmark your sites page load speed times before and after installing new plugins.
- Use GTMetrix and Pingdom.com's website speed test tool to test your site.
- Try to not use many plugins as they slow down page load speed times.
- Try to localize all externally referenced scripts, images etc.
- Optimize all your code, remove white space and operator comments etc.
- Harness the power that the .htaccess and ever .robots.txt file can have on site speed.
Some things are out of your control to a point. Such as the speed of your web host. How fast they are delivering your sites to people. How fast their servers work. So choosing the right web host is also important. Choose one with too many other sites hogging their bandwidth and it could suffer during peak times.
Drop Your Advertisers
I know that ad revenue helps you to run the site in the first place. I get that and I think even most of your website or blog's users will too. But if you don't really have any more than 1k organic UV's per month they're only going to really hinder more than they'll help. They'll only slow your site down even more and serve as an added distraction to your sites readers who are looking at them and not your call to actions. Nobody clicks those in-text Infolink ads and drop anything using a CPM structure, anything else that pays per eCPM is only going to slow your site down more than it's worth it and doing more damage to your sites rep than it is earning you money. If you must use ads, limit to how many per page you have. Only use small unobtrusive and minimally distracting ads.
Optimize Social Sharing Buttons
- Ads can slow down your site so decide whether it's worth having them or not.
- Ads can be distracting and annoying for readers who like ad free sites.
- Use your content to draw people into your offers rather than use ads.
Adding social sharing buttons to your blog posts, products etc is a great enabler for people to share them. But some popular share scripts are externally referenced and may slow your page load speed time down even more. Some of the most popular and fairly light weighted ones are ShareThis
. But DiggDigg
is well worth checking out since it only loads on the page when the user hovers over the button instead of first or last. DiggDigg
is all in one share buttons plugin for WordPress that adds a floating bar with share buttons to your blogs posts/pages etc. Just like Mashable!
Consider the Sidebar
Oh the sidebar has been with us for as long as websites and the Internet has. They're either on the left side or the right side and they're useful for putting things like social widgets, recent posts, categories, subscribe forms and ads and the like. The best side to be on from a page load speed point of view is the right side. This is because if it's on the left side, it will be the first thing that Google crawls, you don't want that, you want it to crawl your content first and load your widgets, social widgets, categories etc after. If you have a lot of stuff on your sidebar though, a lot of widgets and the like, it can slow down your site. So optimize it! Get rid of unnecessary stuff and only have there the minimum of things or not too much stuff anyway.
At the same time, having the right elements and widgets in your side bar can help to improve interactivity and value to your site. By displaying social media feeds, subscribe forms and other such elements. But you will need to get the right balance of only using the right amount and not too much. If it's not really helping keep people on your site longer and slowing it down, dump it!
- Make sidebars load on the right hand side so your content is crawled first.
- Don't overload your sidebar with unnecessary widgets or elements that aren't needed.
There are many ways to speed up your site and reduce your page load speed times and bounce rate for that matter. Doing all these things alone is part of achieving that. Plus other things as well as mentioned like file compression, minifying CSS files and minimizing HTTP requests to caching or cloud hosting, DNS resolution to using a CDN to using your .htaccess and robots.txt file. All ways to speed up your site, but you'll still need to create and publish amazing content that people will love to read and share. Without that none of this really matters.
Do you apply any of these methods to your blog?
What other methods of reducing your blogs bounce rate do you use?
What is more important? Page load speed or content?
Hope this helps!