Intro and some general questions

13 replies
Hey guys. My just-for-fun site caters to a niche group: motorcycle enthusiasts in the greater Toronto area, my site provides how-tos, info for new riders, local roads, motorcycle trips, etc.

It took a while to catch on, but I now seem to be getting more visitors from my involvement in the local riding community. The biggest change was in the past quarter or two where I've taken more of an active interest in my site and doubled my content.

Referals in the first year (before being active in making my site happen) was was only 30%, search engines were 60% of my traffic (with about a 70% bounce rate). Since really pushing to create more and better content and spread the word around visitors have doubled to around 20-25 uniques/daily. Referrals are now 48% of our traffic sources, and seach engines are 37%.

The trouble is, my visitors from search engines (google specifically) now have a bounce rate of 80%!

I'm looking for any/all tips and suggestions on how to improve bounce rates and the site in general.

Each month I seem to double or triple the visitors from the same month the previous year, but I'm still only getting 20-25 visitors/daily. I'm not selling a product or service, but I do want to continue this trend as best I can, and then later down the road focus on advertising, maybe acting as a reseller, etc.
#bounce rate #general #intro #new site #noobie #questions
  • Profile picture of the author adribabe
    Would it help if I shortened that?
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    • Profile picture of the author wilsonm
      Checked out your blog, the way the titles are written, it looks like a personal blog aimed at friends. If a stranger came to the site, they may well leave quickly as it is a family affair.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Alves
    If you want to keep your visitors, then you need to build an email list through the site. Put a squeeze page opt in box on the site, and give away something that is motorcycle related for free that people would be interested in. After you create a new blog post, you can send an email to your list telling them about it. This will increase your traffic. If the blog post has valuable content, people might post links to your page. Then, you will get more traffic and more opt in subscribers. Eventually, you can create a blog post about motorcycle related information and add a link to a product in it. Then, you can make money.
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  • Profile picture of the author RaptorGabe
    Build a email list, but DEF make it look a little more professional. Although people don't want a "professional" site sometimes, they do want to at least THINK the person is a expert, aka they need a cool site. Hopes this helps
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  • Profile picture of the author FrankWhite
    I think the site is visually stimulating, but I agree with wilson. If someone visited the site it is not exactly clear what they may find. Maybe a slogan or site description would help.

    One thing to also consider is the words that customers are using to find your site. Google analytics will show you the terms that they are using to find your site. Any traffic is good, but there me be a mistmatch between their expectations and your site content and an opportunity to add more relevant content.

    Also when I just glance at the menu on the left the gray on gray makes it hard for me to focus on one specific piece of text, and I find myself glossing over the text.

    One other suggestion would be also to not have the large picture box on every page as in order for someone to read an article they have to scroll as soon as they enter the page.
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    By the domain, by the design, by what is seen when I arrive to the site... I would have never guessed it was a "biker" site (I knew because you told us in OP).
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  • Profile picture of the author adribabe
    This was exactly the food for thought and constructive criticism I was hoping for. On my way to work now but I'll definitely review this and put it into effect. Read over everything quickly thanks for all the ideas and suggestions - giveaway and email list, good idea, duh, why didn't I think of it!

    I purchased/own the domain Youmotorcycle.com - anyone think switching to a new URL (proper redirect and submission through google webmaster tools etc.) would help?
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    • Profile picture of the author adribabe
      Hey everyone, I've been busy finishing university, starting a full time, moving out, and working on my site now and again. In the past two days we've received 240 visits (first time getting over 100 visitors / day consecutively). Made $7 in adsense for those two days. Decent for a hobby site that costs $0.75/month

      Little by little I've been going through all of your advice.
      To date:

      wilsonm's advice: make the blog less of a family affair
      Thanks! I've been posting regularly now (at least two articles a week for some time) and changed styles, thank you, I'll also be changing domains to youmotorcycle.com and restructuring the site as a more "community" oriented place (welcoming user submissions, etc.)

      John Alves' advice: build an email list
      Thanks! I've done this in two ways: One, I offer a free license testing for motorcyclists using ministry questions, it requires using submitting their email address, the other is by offering a free motorcycle magazine subscription for anyone on my mailing list. This is actually of no cost to me and seems to make a good incentive. I promise to announce a new winner in every newsletter, so I'll try to keep newsletters limited to a monthly summary.

      RaptorGabe's advice: make it look a little more professional
      Thanks! Work in progress. I've started by using better coding and using pics by professional photographers (with credits and a thank you to them). Any specific comments on improving the appearance quality?

      FrankWhite's advice: look for a slogan or description, consider keywords, change the grey on grey side menu, get rid of picture box
      Thanks Frank, I'll be honest, I haven't really gotten to your suggestions, yet! I will be firing up the site as youmotorcycle.com and focusing on branding with a consistent logo and message integrated across multiple platforms (site, facebook, twitter, real life motorcycle decals, cards, etc.)... the picture box does involve scrolling but is also very good for getting more hits to particular articles. They need to be refreshed though as they don't currently feature my best content. I'll keep working on all of your tips!

      Istvan Horvath, pavionjsl, Zachmo: No "biker touch" to the site, "no direction or feel to it"
      Hey guys, I could use some help with this! I'm really hoping that rebranding the site as youmotorcycle.com and building a site with good support from users will make a difference. I'm not sure what's meant by a "biker touch"? By the same assumption a website about italian people should have all kinds of mafia references? Could you help me understand this?
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by adribabe View Post

        I'm not sure what's meant by a "biker touch"? By the same assumption a website about italian people should have all kinds of mafia references?
        No, but there are many Italian sites with either the Italian flag or a little outline-map of Italy as a prominent picture near the top of the page, in the header-design, or whatever. And for the same reason you could/should have a picture of someone sitting astride a bike wearing a crash-helmet, or something ... and/or a title with the word "biker" in it ... something like that.

        When visitors go to your website, you have about 3 seconds to interest them, before they click the "back" button. You don't want bikers leaving this site without knowing what it's about, so make it really clear even to people who glance quickly.

        Changing the url as you suggest will help, too, of course (though having the word "you" at the start of the url, as you mention, may not be the best solution: in general "keyword-otherword" is a better domain-name than otherword-keyword". Just saying).
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        • Profile picture of the author keleli
          First impressions matter alot, when i click on your site i want to see something that will make me stick there and want to come back, thre are thousands of free templates, check them out.
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          • Profile picture of the author Kay King
            The site looks ok - if a bit busy. But I don't think you are targeting a bike market segment.

            A serious biker dude is not going to stay on a site that talks about scooters - and the scooter set will be intimated by a serious biker site.

            Identify what market segment you are going for and target that segment. If you have a site about vehicles - you don't talk about big-wheel trucks and minivans on the same page (or the same site).

            If the focus is scooters and road bikes - say so up front and go for that market. Organize the site so you have a section for scooter/bike reviews and features/accessories and one for safety/laws and another for events/charity. If the "news" reported is going to be all-Canada, make it a Canadian scooter/street bike site.

            In the "get off the phone" page you show a car, not a bike - what's the point? Made me realize I've never seen a biker using a cell phone while driving Guess that makes them smarter.

            kay
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