Yesterday I started to worry about the complete lack of any site navigation on The Hobby Blogger. Besides scrolling down my long homepage, there’s no other way for readers to easily discover THB’s content.
This obstacle to exploring site content is probably not helping my bounce rate—the number of single-page visits. Of course, how would I know for sure? I haven’t been measuring my bounce rate, so I have no idea how bad it really is.
I’ll get back to that issue in a minute.
Links to popular posts
To address the lack of navigation, I added a Links widget to my sidebar containing links to the blog’s most popular articles. I’m not doing anything fancy. I’m just listing the four posts with the most page views this month as reported by my AWStats logs.
Alternatively, I could have assessed popularity based on the number of post comments, but I don’t get enough comments yet for that metric to be an accurate measure of post popularity.
If I wanted to look into it more thoroughly, I could install a plugin like WordPress Popular Posts to do this automatically. But, the Popular Posts links are only a stopgap measure until I update the blog with more comprehensive site navigation. I don’t want to spend too much time perfecting Popular Posts until I’m certain it’ll be a permanent feature.
At this point, it’s more important to just get something up so that visitors will hopefully dig a little deeper into my content.
Back to bounce rate
Because I have no idea what my bounce rate is, I used this as an opportunity to install Google Analytics to start tracking bounce rate, as well as getting familiar with the rest of GA. This is where I’ll start.
It’s too bad I didn’t already have Google Analytics running before adding the Popular Posts section. It would have been easier to tell if the Popular Posts links were improving bounce rates.
- Make sure readers can easily browse your content.
- Install Google Analytics as early as possible.
How do you reduce your bounce rates?