If You Build It… They Will Bounce

The real joy of tools like Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics is that you can find out just how much of the internet looks at your webpages for 10 seconds or less. In my case, it’s all of it.

Which is to be expected for two basically brand new blogs (even if the model horse website has been around for a bit), but my goal is to improve those numbers by the end of this month. I’m not setting and hard goals for percentage improvement yet, I’m just looking to see if anything I can do will bring those numbers up.

Perish Twice, my blog on dual-boxing in World of Warcraft currently has a score of 90.76% Bounce Rate, 00:00:10 Avg. Time on Site and 96.74% New Visits.

Custom-Models.com, my blog about model horses isn’t currently tracked by Google Analytics, so there’s no place to go but up!

In order to increase the length of time people spend on my blogs (and to decrease the bounce rate), I need to focus in on what people are looking for when they drop by. Most likely my pitiful numbers are because folks surfed in expecting something that I didn’t provide. So let’s check out the warcraft blog, since it’s the only one I have data on at the moment.

What Do They Want?

First step is to figure out the most popular thing on the blog, which at the moment is the post about controlling Hunter Pets. It gets a whopping 15.38% of the site traffic, which could mean I have a good topic I need to expand upon.

Using Analytics I can then drill down and check on each of these pages to how they got here (google, links, etc), and how long they stayed before leaving, and if they went to another page or just headed out again. Most importantly, I can see what keyword brought people here (ie what were they looking for?)

  1. city of heroes pet macros
  2. pet macros aggresive
  3. basic hunter macros turn on off growl
  4. can hunter pets be keybound
  5. cast feed pet macro
  6. city of heroes macro pet
  7. dual boxing macro
  8. how to macro your pet abilities to your attacks
  9. hunter dual box pet talents
  10. hunter pet dungeon turn off growl

Well, sadly two of the ten items are things relating to another game, and although I did love playing my Mastermind over at City of Heroes… that’s not what this blog is about. But thankfully the rest of the items are things the post was actually focusing on. Still, the average time spent on the page and the bounce rate make it unlikely they are finding what they need.

So now we step back a moment.

Pretendy-Fun-Time Games

Close your eyes (or don’t, because it’s hard to read with your eyes closed) and imagine you are a surfer. You have typed in “cast feed pet macro” and you see the post for Pets, Pet Macros, and Stupid Things MeatShield Does. Now open your eyes. Was this what you were looking for?

Well, no. The bits I was looking for were at the very bottom of the post — and it’s a long post. Being a jaded internet surfer and not wanting to waste my time, I click back and try another search engine link.

So I went back and added bookmarks to the top of the post, allowing people to hop to the bits they were interested in. Since 40% of the incoming search terms were referencing information actually found on the page, we’ll see if that increases any of the page stats. (And I’ll keep it in mind for any longer posts I write in the future.)

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

I’ll need to go back and do this for every post that Google shows anyone surfing in on. I need to take the content I already have and make sure that people know they have found what they are looking for. I’ll also need to make notes on which topics seem to interest the travelers most, because that’s while I’ll need to focus on for my next blogging adventures.

Which will take a good bit of time, and it’s why I’m not setting and specific goals for how I want my traffic patterns to change. I’m certainly no expert on how to keep readers reading, but I figure I’ll learn as I go.

(Next week I’ll work on developing the ‘keywords’ that I want each blog to be aiming for…)

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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