If you’ve successfully created good content and you have people clicking on your website, you’re doing great. However, a mistake that many website owners make is forgetting to give people reason to stick around after reading what they’re looking for. In this post, we’ll be discussing this common mistake, how it can impact your bounce rate, and our favorite plug-ins to show related content.
I have an admission: I’m a chronic Googler and I’ve googled some really weird things. Sometimes, I find a website that perfectly answers my question and it’s clear that they’re an expert on the topic. However, once I read the information that I came from, I’m left looking for more content on the topic.
Occasionally, I spent a few minutes searching for other content along the same page or looking through their menu unable to find what I was looking for. Then, I get frustrated and leave their website. If only their website showed more posts on the topic, I would have continued to read at least a few more pages. Simply, you don’t want to lose a potential loyal customer or reader because they couldn’t find the content that they’re looking for after they read something so good that they want to remain on your website.
As a website owner myself, I didn’t always think about the experience of the user browsing my website, however as I’ve made further optimizations to improve the user experience, my bounce rate has decreased significantly. It’s been really encouraging to personally hear from readers who contact me about their trips to a destination who had initially only searched for one query, but ended up lingering on my website after being impressed with what they read and seeing other relevant posts. Simply, you want clients/readers to stay on your website, not to get frustrated and leave.
Here, I’m going to be going through seven of my favorite methods for improving interlinking on your website and decreasing my bounce rate…
Contextual links that make sense
If you’re mentioning relevant articles, don’t be afraid to link to them. Instead of simply saying click here, be sure to describe your link. Instead of just writing “click here,” be sure to describe your link. For instance, if I happened to mention that I have written a full article about how to plan for seasonality with your content calendar, you can see what I did here. The idea that people know where they’re going.
On a related note, be sure that it’s clear where people are going and don’t cloak your link (unless it’s an affliate link). Google frowns upon too many cloaked links (e.g. bit.ly) and from the reader perspective, I won’t click a link unless I know where it leads. Be clear where people are going.
External links in new tabs
This is a common practice that I see with many website owners. Make sure that links to anything that isn’t your website open up in a new tab. The reason is that if I’m enjoying this blog and I click a link that seems helpful, I might be mistakingly brought off the page to someone else’s website. I understand that some people like to choose whether to open things in a new tab, but I rather not take that risk.
This is big one, but be sure to well define your categories to address topics that your website covers often. If you run a travel blog and your main category for the United States is only “USA,” you can imagine that this is problematic if someone loves your article about Chicago. They navigate back up to the top to check the categories and they’re unable to find your posts related to Chicago or Illinois for instance. This is also good for your SEO as it helps Google see you as an expert on a niche that you write a lot about.
Clear menu dropdown
Before you add every possible topic to your menu, stop! It’s important to remember that many people navigate your website on mobile and you want to chill on your menu. In general, less is more when it comes to menus, so see how it is navigating your website on mobile as I find that this is where a lot of website owners go wrong.
Simply, if you have a lot of articles or pages on a certain topic that you consider your website to be an expert on, consider making an easy link to a page or category outlining your website’s resources on a certain topic. Don’t make people struggle.
Box near the end
No matter what platform you’re on, make it easy for people to find the related posts on a topic. Something so simple as reminding people with a box that you have lots of other great content on a related topic works really well. I have the Divi theme and I’m obsessed with their learn more box. Even if you don’t have it, a neat bulleted list of related posts is really effective as people who are interested in your topic will read until the end of the page–and click through these links. (Just as a related note, make sure it’s related.)
Other cool things you might want to read!
WordPress only: Inline related posts
I love the inline related posts plug-in. It comes as a free plug-in although I chose to upgrade to the paid version for $20 (for one webiste) on my own blog as it shows images.
What this plug-in does is automatically suggest related pages on your website every 300-400 words (you decide) based on tags/categories that are relevant. I find it an easy way to reduce the bounce rate in just a matter of seconds as your readers/client might see something interesting.
If your categories are well defined, it will do well. If your categories or tags aren’t perfectly optimized (or you always tag one widely used tag), you might want to manually insert relevant webpages where it seems relevant. I find that my bounce rate has dropped as I’ve chosen which posts are shown where.
Related pages/posts plug-in
No matter what platform you use, you should have access to something that shows related posts. I use Shareaholic as my sharing plug-in and although I didn’t have access to plug-ins with Weebly (my previous platform), I used Shareaholic’s “related post” plug-in, which showed previews of posts at the bottom of the page. I combine this tool with the other techniques for interlinking that I use.