As someone who writes on some highly technical topics, it’s no surprise when traffic comes in from Google via searches. Writing about solving a technical solution is a fantastic way to bring in new traffic. By using common error messages and phrases, you can capture people looking to solve the same problem you already did.
There is a downside to this highly technical and targeted traffic. It usually has a high bounce rate.This is a challenge that actually hits my own site pretty heavily as I write on things ranging from interacting with APIs all the way through how life changing working in open source can become. If you aren’t familiar with what the bounce rate statistic is, it refers to:
the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.
Why does technical traffic bounce?
Think about the last time you used Google to solve a development problem…or if you aren’t a developer, needed to fix something. Typically you struggle at it on your own until you admit defeat, open a new tab or grab your phone, and search for the answer to your problem. You will try out the first 2-3 results to see which you like best, close out the ones you don’t need, and then follow your found solution. When you finish fixing your issue, you close that tab, and go on your way.
Congratulations, you just became a bounce statistic.
Highly Technical posts don’t retain visitors
The reason these types of posts that contain code or step-by-step solutions end in a bounce is…it did it’s job. When you write good technical content, it solves a problem and the user can go on with their task. There is nothing wrong with this type of content, as it does a couple things:
- Brings in targeted traffic
- Helps establish you as an expert in the field
So how can we tackle this problem…
1. Diversify your content
You can write posts about code and solving technical issues until the cows come home. Until you can diversify you content strategy to contain a mix of highly technical and more abstract conceptual topics, you’ll be stuck with a higher bounce rate.
You can start by alternating your post schedule to flip between a conceptual piece, and then a technical piece. Obviously, you have to be somewhat flexible here, but it’s a good start.
2. Use internal linking
Internal linking is when you link from one blog post on your site to another. This not only builds a good internal roadmap to the user, but also is a great way to generate multiple page views per visit. You can go overkill here, however. Too many internal links and the content becomes unreadable. Typically one internal link for every 200-300 words is ideal.
3. Highlight your primary categories
Your site may have 5 or 6 categories on it, but odds are you find yourself posting in 2 or 3 primary categories more often than the others. One way to keep traffic on the site is to make a good ‘Call to Action’ or ‘Visual Cue’ to what your main focus is as a content creator, and drive them towards these topics.
This can be as simple as adding a small list of your main topics to your sidebar, or adding them as a primary navigation item. By adding them to these areas, you’re identifying them as a sort of ‘Table of Contents’ as to what value you can provide to the visitor immediately.
What’s a challenge you face with your highly technical content? What steps have you taken, or are you taking to convert this traffic into repeat visitors?