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.
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.