Why your bounce rate is so high and how to fix it

Whenever one starts a new blog, one of the few plugins installed first is for tracking the website stats on Google Analytics. Google Analytics does a great job of tracking so many metrics about your site’s users like number of visitors, traffic sources, demographics, etc. You can embed the analytics code in your themes, but its better to use a plugin and I use the Google Analyticator for that.

In Google Analytics, there is one metric which is pretty important in telling how long a user stays on your page before going off to another site. It is the Bounce Rate and it explains how quickly a visitor ran away from the page as soon as he landed. Normally pages which has no useful content to your reader has a high bounce rate.

bounce

Let me explain with an example. Imagine you have a blog about some new programming language and a user searches for, lets say “hashing passwords in language X” and you happen to have a post which teaches exactly that. The search engine points the user to your specific page, user comes to your site, reads the post (you do explain it in detail, right?), tried your code and is happy to see it works. Once he is done coding (it took him just 5 minutes to finish it with your help), he closes the browser tab and goes home happily.

Now you, as the blog owner, would expect that Google Analytics would show 5 minutes as the visit duration, but you would be shocked to see that it is marked as 0 seconds (yeah, that isn’t a typo) and bounce rate as 100%. I hear you say, “WTF? That is impossible”.

Unfortunately, that is how Google measures bounce rate and the reason they cite is since the user didn’t go to any other page or perform any other action during the visit it is technically a bounce. Google also has a solution for this particular problem – using something called Event Tracking.

And all you wordpress blog owners, can fix it by installing a simple plugin, conveniently named “Reduce Bounce Rate“. It is pretty simple and doesn’t even have any complex settings page to confuse you.

Once activated, whenever a reader comes and stays on your blog reading stuff, the plugin regularly (every 10 seconds) gives a shout out to Google Analytics saying “Hey, this awesome reader is still reading my stuff. Don’t count him as a bounced visitor”. Result: Your bounce rate and average visit times improve considerably and showing you the true numbers.

So, make sure your blog has this plugin if you use Google Analytics for statistics. Of course all this works only if your blog has awesome content – so go there and write some now.

How to display the author profile in WordPress Twenty Twelve theme

When I installed the new wordpress site for Blogial, I used the default Twenty Twelve theme and it looks great for a starter theme. It is a no-frills theme and doesn’t have all the fancy drag and drop customizations available in other premium themes.

This is good enough for now (see the 85% solution) and I would probably go for a custom theme when I get more readers. But there was something which was missing in the posts – the author name. After a bit of searching, I learnt that the Twenty Twelve theme does something smartly when it comes to displaying author names.

When a blog has a single author, it doesn’t display the author info – which does make sense. But after so many years of having the author name displayed below the post, I wanted it badly and at last I found a solution.

Basically, there are three ways you can get it:

  1. This is the most obvious one. Have another author register in your blog and make him write at least 1 post.
  2. Copy over the content.php file from twentytwelve folder into the child theme folder (twentytwelve-child in my case) and delete the && is_multi_author() in line 47.
  3. In your child theme’s function.php, add this line add_filter( 'is_multi_author', '__return_true' );

Just choose one of the above three options and you would have your author profile along with your profile image inserted at the end of the post. Remember, to change your profile picture head over to the Gravatar site and upload a new image for your email address.