It seems that many of the companies I've worked with have been possessed when viewing pages per visit and reducing bounce rates. Since it's such a well-known metric, I see many companies put goals into place for their online directors to improve them. I don't advise it and I rarely care that my bounce rate is over eighty percent.
Perhaps the funniest reaction to this I've seen is people breaking up their pages or blog posts so that people have to click a link to continue to the next page to complete reading the article. This is also common with sites that are paid by advertising…. more pageviews can equal more revenue and more ads to place.
Sure enough, the pages per visits increase and bounce rates decrease – never mind that conversions drop too, though, because readers are irritated they can't get to the content they were looking for.
If you want to sincerely increase pages per visit and reduce bounce rates, I'd recommend the following:
- Make your page easy to read! Write pithy, highly-compelling content that utilizes headings, subheadings, bulleted lists, numbered lists, and bolded terms effectively. This will allow people to digest your post easier and decide whether or not they want to dive in further. Landing on a giant page of text is a surefire way to make people bounce.
- Provide your visitors with alternatives! Accompany your content with related content. By supplying related posts, pages, or call to actions along with your content, you are supplying some additional options for your reader rather than having them bounce altogether. For WordPress, I utilize the WordPress Related Posts plugin. It's very accurate.
Personally, I believe that bounce rates and pages per visit are a ridiculous metric for businesses to gauge their online marketing success on. Unless you can provide some kind of correlation between conversions with pageviews, why would you care if people find your site and bounce? Maybe they weren't the right visitor? Perhaps your site wound up on a high search result for an irrelevant keyword. Are you going to penalize your marketing team for that?
As a business, your web site or blog should be driving new leads, helping to retain current customers, or helping to create authority for you in your industry (which drives new leads and helps retain customers). Conversions should be your metric! Not Pages per Visit or Bounce Rates. I'm happy if my customers land on my site, find the contact form, and bounce!
PS: If you're a web publication and your money comes from advertising revenue, then you may want to worry about bounce rates and pages per visit because it does correlate directly to your site's revenue. I'm strictly speaking about companies and their sites, though.