Wordpress · Wordpress Setup

What is Bounce Rate? How Can You Improve Your Bounce Rate?

The Bounce Rate in your Google Analytics is a very useful metric to track your website visitors who view a single page for less than a few seconds and leave without visiting any other pages.    This will indicate how effective your pages are and how useful other people find it.  Depending on the type of website content you have, for mine, having a high bounce rate is not the best.  I would prefer a bounce rate of around 50%.    My Bounce Rate is hovering around 70% which is horrible and I intend to improve.

Google Analytics Bounce Rate Sept 2011
Google Analytics Bounce Rate Sept 2011

After doing some research, one of the major reasons for a high bounce rate are invalid links, deleted posts/pages.  You might have some deleted pages, or invalid links that are roaming around the internet somewhere that you don’t know about.  So visitors are following those broken links to access your website and they land on a 404 Error Page.  If your 404 Error Page is not optimized, visitors will leave immediately.   So a simple way to reduce the Bounce Rate would be to optimize your 404 Error Page.

Creating your own 404 Error Page

You want your visitors to have a good experience when visiting your website.  When they land on a 404 page they probably are frustrated or disappointed they did not find the information they wanted.   So create an error page that will help point them in the right direction. A good 404 Error Page format is:

  • Search Bar
  • List of Popular Posts
  • List of Updated Posts
  • List of Recent Posts
  • Contact Information to Report a Broken Link
  • Creative Image

How to Create Your Own Wordpress 404 Error Page

There is a 404.php file in your Wordpress Themes directory that controls your 404 Error landing page.  You can put any html or php tags in there.  If your 404.php file does not exist, you will have to create your own.   you can use the page.php as a template and remove the content area.   Your 404.php file should include:

<?php get_header(); ?>
<?php get_sidebar(); ?>
<?php get_footer(); ?>

Some tags you can use are:

Display Archive by Month:

<?php wp_get_archives('type=monthly'); ?>

Display list of Categories:

<?php wp_list_cats(); ?>

Display Recent Posts:

<?php get_archies('postbypost','10','custom','<li','</li>'); ?>

How to create a 404 error page with WordPress Thesis

Creating an error page 404.php is so easy with WordPress Thesis theme.  I basically created mine in about 5 minutes.  See my Thesis Tutorial here on how to customize your 404 error page.



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