Friday, March 11, 2011

'Read more' in an effort to bounce less

I've altered the structure of my blog so that, instead of presenting the whole of each article on the main face of the blog, only a snippet is provided, and the rest of the post can be accessed by clicking the link 'Read more >>' at the bottom. I'm not doing this with the purpose of annoying my regular readers (although I wonder whether that will occur), but rather with the intent to create a site that can better be analyzed by Google Analytics. In particular, I'm interested in seeing if my bounce rate - the rate of visitors who arrive on the main page and then immediately depart from it - will improve if my full articles can only be accessed by clicking onto a derivative page.

My bounce rate, of course, is really not that important to me at this stage in the game. I'm not selling any product, and I have no ads on my blog with which to garner income, either. Technically speaking, my readership will probably be no different whether or not I have the 'Read more >>' function enabled, and my bounce rate will probably not differ other than to more accurately reflect who is actually reading. However, I'm interested - on the one hand - to know how many people are actually reading my posts - which can only be determined with complete accuracy by forcing a knowledge of how those 'bounces' actually break down - and - on the other - I'd like to improve my knowledge of how to create websites that thoroughly engage visitors.

The purpose? In the long run of things, whether I'm self-publishing e-books or if I get published by a big house, I'm going to want to sell books. And an important part of doing that is having a website that is engaging to readers, and that draws them in in such a way that causes them to want more. Creating the 'Read more >>' buttons creates a situation that, although it doesn't necessarily make the blog more engaging in and of itself, allows me to better analyze what kind of blog content is most interesting to readers, and how readers act while they're on my site.

By the way, if you have a website and you're not currently using Analytics, do it now. It's easy, and even if you don't use it in a 'hardcore' way, it's fun to look at the graphs - variously pies and lines - that show the action on your site, as well as the worldmap that shows where your hits are coming from (that's exactly what I've been doing until now). My objective with this new blog style is, in fact, to actually take full advantage of Analytics' capabilities, and make use of those capacities to determine the way my blog is experienced by readers, rather than just the raw numbers that are concerned.

Wish me luck!



  1. Does Google Analytics measure all the people who read via RSS feed? Because that is what I do. Please don't alter your feed so it only displays the first few paragraphs words of the post and then requires clickthrough to see the rest. I find that very annoying. I would probably not click through.

  2. I'm new to the "analytics" party; I use Feedburner, and it provides a neat line graph, but I don't check it more than once or twice a month usually. "Read more" sounds like a good way to keep track of your actual readers. Whatever works, right?

  3. Rahul: I have no idea what my RSS feed looks like. That's something to check on.

    Milo: Methinks I better check out Feedburner, also.

  4. I use Feedburner only because it's more convenient to send to Twitter automagically. I look at Analytics' "In-Page Analytics" once a week to see how many visitors click on stuff, but other than that I let it develop as it may.

    Since I use Twitter or my site blogroll to come directly to your new posts, Read More... will have no effect on me.

  5. Well, I *am* affected by this new "Read More" scheme, and I have to tell you, sir, that I am deeply annoyed at being forced to make one extra click of the mouse when I visit... ok, I'm exaggerating. Makes no difference to me, I shall click away!