I noticed recently that my behaviour when reading and visiting other sites, was different from the behaviour that I was hoping for from my blog visitors. I’m starting to think that increased bounce rates might be the new normal.
How do you find content to read?
I find content to read through:
- blogs that I subscribe to
- email newsletters I read
- social media accounts that I follow
- hashtag stream research
I subscribe to a lot of blogs. I use NewsBlur to read them all, otherwise the information overload would be unmanageable.
How do you consume content?
Regardless of where I find the link to the content my reading approach seems to have become:
- Find link to content
- Click link
- Consume Content
- Leave Site
- If content added value, curate content
I don’t tend to stay on the site very long.
And in the case where I consumed the content through the RSS feed, I don’t even register on their metrics.
What to do?
In response to this, a lot of people will restrict their RSS feed to a preview feed, rather than a full feed.
When I encounter a site like this, I usually delete the feed rather than consume the feed. I think a preview feed is a limiting strategy. Don’t do this.
A lot of sites, on first visit use overlay popups and other incredibly annoying techniques to try and capture my email address so they can send me stuff. I haven’t even consumed the content yet. Bad move. I’m an instant bounce without reading. Clearly the site has recognised that bounce rates have increased and want a way of continuing to send me information. This isn’t a way that works for me. I don’t do this.
Don’t fight it.
In a time of massive content overload, don’t fight this behavior.
Bounce Rates may not be the metric you want to concentrate on.
Curating leads to Sharing leads to Consumption
After all, the last line in my “Consume Content” approach was “Curate”. If the content added value to me, I shared it, thereby continuing the cycle where new people will: find, click, consume, bounce, curate.
Therefore we want to create content that people will curate and share.
Measure Call to Action Success
If the content is a call to action, then the metric you care about is taking you up on that call to action:
- if your content is to drive email sign ups, then measure email sign ups from that page
- if your content is to drive traffic to a download then measure downloads
If you created a call to action, then a non-bounce, where people ignored it and moved on through your site might be viewed as a failure.
Maximise chance of finding
You want people to find your content and consume it. Therefore we need to concentrate on the basics:
- promotion through social media
- promotion through email lists
I tend not to worry about drip feeding my publishing schedule any more. i.e. I publish when I have written the content. This maximises my SEO opportunities. This builds on the fact that people have subscribed via RSS.
I do drip feed my promotional activities.
- periodic emails
- drip feed tweet announcements of content
- schedule re-tweets
It is important to re-promote content, because people miss your announcements. Some people curate content based on hashtags, so we need to re-promote with different hashtags.
We need to build on the fact that most people stumble upon, rather than follow your content, so increase the chances of people finding it.
Re-purpose content to increase the opportunity for people to find it.
This then allows you to:
- promote the new re-purposed content
- refresh your old content by including links to, or embeds of, the re-purposed content
- a refresh, allows you to re-promote the old content
All of this increases the chance that people will find your content.
I do try to pay attention to the moments when I visit a site to consume the content and find myself… not bouncing.
I rarely browse. Not bouncing is now an aberration. Bouncing is the new norm.
Therefore I need to study this aberrant behaviour in myself to learn what someone else has done on their site to trigger it.
By finding the examplar sites which have managed to influence my behaviour, I may learn how to influence others and create content which is designed to trigger a browse rather than a bounce.