How I Improved My Horrible Bounce Rate and Grew My Social Media

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This kind of bouncing is good.  The bloggy kind... not so much.

This kind of bouncing is good. The bloggy kind… not so much.

I debated about writing this post because it’s not at all in my homeschooling/homesteading/tree-hugging niche but I feel like I learned something important and I wish someone had told me sooner so I thought I’d share my experience.  If you are not a blogger, I apologize. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. If you are a blogger, I hope you find this useful.

When I decided that I wanted blogging to be more of a vocation (that seems a lofty title for what I’m doing…. I’m writing this in my PJs, sitting in my recliner. Can you call that a vocation?) and less of a hobby I started looking into what I needed to do.  It became pretty clear, right away, that there were three things that every advertiser or sponsor was looking for, in addition to good content:

1) A good amount of blog traffic.

2) A decent social media following.

3) A fair ranking from Google and/or Alexa.

This kind of traffic is bad. The bloggy kind is good.

This kind of traffic is bad. The bloggy kind is good.

I decided to put a lot of effort into #2, assuming that if I had a lot of followers they would automatically come over to the blog and the upswing in traffic would make my rankings jump (or… since I didn’t actually have rankings at that time, it would make them appear).

In order to increase my social media following I started linking up to every blog hop and linky party I could find.  Every. Single. One. No matter what the focus of the group, as a whole, was I would find (or write) a post that kind-of sort-of fit into that niche and link it up.

Then I would follow every single other person on the hop.

I went from under 100 Facebook followers and none on Twitter to over 600 followers on each in less than a month.

Success!

Right?

Well… maybe not.

I watched in horror as my Alexa rank fell by tens of thousands of points, my Google rank remained non-existent and my bounce rate climbed to nearly 80%.  Eighty percent?!  What the heck was going on?!

I had followers. I had content. What was the problem?

I took a step back and looked at what I was doing.

I was linking my blog, which probably fits best with the “crunchy mom” set to parties most likely frequented by people with no children, or those who couldn’t possibly care less about which pesticides are being used on American produce.

I was reaching eyes, but they weren’t, for the most part, eyes that were going to continue to look in my direction for more than a split second.

Imagine buying ad space for your knitting supplies business during the NBA playoffs.  You may reach a customer or two but your money would probably be much better spent on sponsoring a Hallmark movie.

I decided to calm down about my numbers and spend more time connecting with fewer people on a deeper level.

Strong connections with great people is good in every way!

Strong connections with great people is good in every way!

I returned my focus to doing what I love – writing about saving the planet, promoting world peace and raising productive citizens (without expending too much effort).

I interacted with those who were reading my posts and expressing interest in the subject matter.

I went in search of others who cared about the same things and I interacted with them on the subjects they were writing about as well.

I did continue to link up at blog hops, but only those few where I’d found like-minded folks who were looking to join in conversation about how we can help each other move forward with our goals.

Guess what happened?

My social media numbers continued to grow!  They increased more slowly, for sure, but still quite steadily.

My traffic increased!  The people who were coming to my blog were sharing it with their friends.  They were coming back multiple times, commenting, interacting, and visiting multiple posts.

My bounce rate dropped!  It didn’t just drop a little.  It went from almost 80% to just over 3%.  That means that nearly 97% of the people who visit my site stick around to leave a comment or look at a second page and that makes me one very happy blogger because it means that there are others out there who care about the same things that I feel are so very important.

My Google and Alexa ranks improved!  Google finally recognized me with a starting page rank of 2 and my US Alexa rank went from 500,000th (US) to hovering right around 100,000.

Advertisers and sponsors became more willing to work with me.

Am I the Huffington Post with half a gazillion views every day?  Hardly.  I’m still looking forward to my first 10,000 view month.  I’m a tiny little blog-fish in a great big ocean. But I’ve learned that keeping true to my vision and creating and maintaining meaningful connections with others who share my passions is the most effective way for me to reach my goals and… super-extra-special bonus points!….  it helps others reach theirs, as well.

PS
I recently joined the Top Mommy Blogs Network. It would mean a great deal to me if you could click this banner. One click = one vote for this blog as a great mommy blog. You can vote one per day and, if you browse around over there, you’ll find some other awesome blogs to love as well.  Thank you!

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow Lazy Hippie Mama  by emailFacebookGoogle+Twitter or Instagram to get all the updates?

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

 

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34 responses »

  1. I’m glad you decided to write this because I needed to read it today. I’ve been trying to grow my blog also, and it’s been having mixed results. I definitely will take a lesson from you, and go back to focusing on what matters to me and trying to connect with others who are similar. (Like you LOL)

    • It can be so hard. I get really excited when something happens that gives me a little forward momentum and then, when I have 2 “slow” weeks in a row I start thinking, “why does everyone else’s blog grow so much faster than mine?” Your blog is great and I think that all great things catch on in good time.

  2. What a fantastic post and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and insights. These are really helpful points to think about, consider carefully and implement! So happy to start the day with some constructive direction! 🙂 Hope you have a great Tuesday and thanks again!

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I have have tried to increase my social media following by joint every hop as well (not the ones where you write a post, but the ones where you just link up all your accounts). My following has increased, but of course I would like it to increase more. I had the same philosophy – more followers = more readers = more “popularity.” This year, I am really trying to decipher my blogging goals and figure out what it is I want to get from it. I agree that the concoctions are the most important – not the numbers. (Although, the numbers are hard to ignore!) Thanks for sharing!

    • Yes! So SO hard to ignore! It is a constant balancing act, I think. Especially if you are trying to monetize your blog. And maybe, if I had it to do all over, I would still take the initial hit in bounce just to get the numbers moving. Maybe. On the other hand… I wonder how many of those people are even still “following” and how many have been replaced since then.

  4. I am jealous of all your success. You already know more about blogging than I ever hope to know. But my own blog is happiest when I treat it as “serious hobby/stepping tone/development tool.” (Oh man, I just called myself a tool!)

    • You are so silly! My blog is a whole different thing than yours. Apples and oranges! You would be miserable blogging the way I do.

      • You are correct. My blog is a true reflection of my brain. How is my brain so disorganized when I crave organization. Maybe that is WHY I crave organization…

  5. I feel the same way about hops, while they are good for certain things the big ones are just a mind suck, so to speak. You spend all this time liking/following others for little to no return and most of the time you don’t check out theirs as much as they would like and vice versa. Instead I do the link ups and hobs that speak to what I blog about.

    Content is king and will always be king. The queen to the king is conversation, getting to know your readers. I decided this last go round that my blog is my ‘job’ and I treat it at such. I want to know my ‘customers’ and make them happy, offer them something they love and keep them coming back. (to many years in retail everything I do is customer service related lol)

    Great post!!!

    • I love the retail analogy! It’s perfect! What good is it having a million people looking for shoes strolling through your grocery store? You’d be far better off with a hundred people ready to buy meat and eggs. (I’m hungry! LOL)

  6. I have really struggled with this one as well. I want the likes, shares, follows, but I have heard so many stories like this, that I think its like the tortoise and the hare fable- slow and steady wins the race. I want the “right” followers that will get something out of my posts, not just the empty stats. Good reminder!

    • The hardest part for me – in the past as well as in the present – is when you see others zipping past you. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Those are the days I have to sit myself down and give myself a firm talking to. 🙂

  7. Very awesome post, LHM! Thanks for this. I, too, realized that concentrating my efforts on a smaller group of niche bloggers has helped my numbers increase steadily (though I find that getting my FB likes up takes a bit more effort. If you have any ideas on this, please share!)

    Love you blog’s mission. Also, for some reason, nothing happens when I go to click on that banner. Wah! I want to vote for you!! XOXO

    • Ugh! I think “New Facebook” was invented to cause bloggers stress! If you are a part of SITs, they have helped grow my facebook numbers in a really meaningful way. Also, I find it’s REALLY easy to get people to follow on Twitter so every now and then I ask my Twitter people to follow me over to FB. I figure if they are the ones who are engaged they will respond.

    • If you Google, “what’s my page rank” you will find several sites where you can just type in your blog name and it will give you your rank. Jumping through the hoops of setting up Google analytics and authorship will help spur them to rank you. It is kind of a weird scale. Like a 1 means they acknowledge your existence. A 3 means they think you are decent and solid. A 6 puts you in the realm of blogs like Huffington Post and there are only a tiny handful bigger than a 7. Mostly things like CNN.com.

      Signing up for Google analytics will help you find out where your traffic is coming from too. The level of detail is slightly disturbing. They’ll tell you everything from your readers’ gender to their age to which operating system they are using.

      I get my Alexa rank through Sverve (a blogger/advertiser network). They keep a link to it on my profile page so I peek now and then. It changes daily but you can get an overall feel for where you fall. It ranks you both nationally and internationally. I’m sure that you can access it directly but I’ve never tried that so I don’t know how it works.

  8. This was very helpful to someone like me who is still navigating so many of these things. I have blogged for family and friends for so long that when I finally decided to branch out I realized it’s a tough world out in blog land 😉 Well just in regard to growing our blogs- because I have come across some really wonderful people that are more than willing to help the littles like me 🙂

    • I never cease to be amazed how helpful the blogging community is. You frequently hear about “trolls” on the internet but I encounter them so rarely. On the other hand, almost every day I “meet” a blogger who is bigger/more experienced than me who is willing to help me out in some way. Maybe bloggers should rule the world! 😉

  9. I would love to find more “like-minded” bloggers/link parties, but my “niche” isn’t quite as clearly defined as most. I have decided to keep writing what I love (instead of what I think will garner page views) and continue to let my focus evolve through that, rather than trying to pigeonhole myself by setting a type/genre and forcing myself to stick with that. I think that when you are really true to what you love, that is (as in the case of your blog) what really attracts-and keeps- readers. People are drawn to authenticity-I know I am! I agree with you, that is what they like, share, and come back for.:)

  10. I agree completely. Are you on Facebook? I looked on your page but didn’t see a link for it. I’d love to connect with you there. I think your blog is great!

    • Yes, I am. I had a tiny little link at the top of my page, but since you couldn’t find it, it motivated me to make a bigger one! I am not very tech savvy, so I still have to think of a way to make it show up in mobile versions, but at least it is now more visible on the site.:) Feedback is so invaluable! Thanks.:)

  11. Thank you for this post, it is something I hadn’t really thought about but definitely needed to read. It is easy to fall into the link up parties and blog hops if the content is even close to the same genre. Thank you for the tips on how to do it better.

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