Page Load Increased & Bounce Rate Through The Roof With Genesis?

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  amplifiedsteve 7 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #87951

    amplifiedsteve
    Member
    Post count: 12

    Hey guys,

    I’ve recently moved over to Genesis and am very pleased with how everything is working out. Except for 2 major issues that I have noticed and are a real concern for me.

    1. Page Load Speed / Page Size 1.4mb
    2. Bounce Rate skyrocketed to 75%

    The website is http://britesocial.com is about 5 months old (Genesis for about 4 weeks) and has been set up very carefully and I am using it to build my personal brand. I am en experience WordPress user, and internet marketer / blogger so I’ve taken a lot of time in getting this blog set up. Which is one of the reasons I switched to Genesis.

    However I am concerned with the 2 points above. So I would like to throw this out there to see what the feedback / comments are like. Any advice is appreciated.

    OK, lets deal with the page load times first.

    I am using the Genesis Sample theme with some very basic styling tweaks & when tested Pingdom today I see that that

    Leverage browser caching is graded 6 out of 100 and
    Combine external CSS/JS is graded 18 out of 100 and
    My total page load speed is 5secs & 1.4Mb

    I must add that these were much worse but I have since done research and installed and activated the W3 Total Cache plugin (free version – is the paid version worth getting?)

    75% Bounce Rate?!

    Since installing Genesis Framework & Genesis Sample theme my bounce rate has increased from 43% to 75% and my analytics pretty much pinpoint in the increase around the time I installed Genesis.

    This lead me into researching reasons for high bounce rate, one of the main reasons was page load times (which lead me to investigate the above and decided on the W3 Total Cache plugin).

    My content is highly targeted and most of my traffic comes from G+ and reading a teaser intro post I made – which includes a link back to the relevant post. So it is possible that the G+ user sees my post on G+, clicks through to read the post on my website and then leaves. However, 75% bounce rate is still very high!

    So my questions to the community are:

    1. Why do you think the page load / size are so high? And how can I address this?
    2. What is the bounce rate so high? Has anyone else experienced the same issue since moving over to Genesis Framework?

    Apologies for the ‘War & Peace’ length post but I thought by adding as much detail as possible will help clarify my issues and hopefully strike up some dialogue amongst more experienced Genesis users, so that we can all learn from this.

    Thanks for your time.

    Steve


    Steve Mullen – owner Brite Social – find me on Twitter and G+
    Digital marketing consultant, WordPress builder with focus on leisure, destination and entertainment.

    http://britesocial.com
    #87953

    David Chu
    Participant
    Post count: 1360

    Hi,
    An interesting and complicated question. I noticed a few things that may matter, but have no conclusive solution. The site looks good, and loads pretty quick.

    Your images are pretty much all 1/3 larger than they need to be. Every client I have tends to do this. :) They’re weighing in at about 900 width and change, and Mr. Browser is squishing them down to about 600 and change so it fits on the page. That’s an easy thing to fix.

    Your hosting is apparently in Oz, and that’s a very big hop to me in the US. That may also figure in speed, regardless of your well-intentioned efforts to use a cache. And if the host is at all funky, that will also be a bottleneck.

    Pulling in a Twitter (or any other) feed can also be a small bottleneck, which can generally be mollified by caching the plugin’s call.

    But I see nothing else obviously wrong, and really, the site looks pretty good to me.

    Dave


    Dave Chu · Custom WordPress Developer – likes collaborating with Designers

    #87955

    songdogtech
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    Well, I’d assume that bounce rates can be a combination of a slow site and the content users first see on the site.

    Your site is slow because of a cheap host, heavy images, incorrectly scaled images, a bad cache plugin (use WP Super Cache), and no true browser caching/expires headers in .htaccess.

    And using the dynamik website builder for a theme probably doesn’t help, as frameworks like that create heavy php and database intensive themes.

    See http://gtmetrix.com/reports/britesocial.com/ihSiyfS4 for a speed report. Forget about combining JS and CSS or deferring JS; you won’t gain much. Using asynchronous social networking resources can help.


    I’m on WordPress Answers (Stack Exchange) and WordPress.org Support Forums and check my consulting and portfolio site at markkratledge.com

    #87956

    amplifiedsteve
    Member
    Post count: 12

    Hey Dave,

    Thanks for chipping in – much appreciated :)

    The reason I use 960px width if for repurposing the same image for say a full page width post – or sharing in Pinterest. I resize the image in WordPress to the correct width byt adding a width attribute to the image. I also try to compress the data wight down to 100kb in photoshop ‘save to web’. However, I do see that I haven’t compress the featured image in the most post – it was getting late! So I’ll compress that reattach and test the load time again.

    Interesting point about the hosting being in Australia and that having an impact on load times …

    But I still don’t get how the Bounce Rate has changed so much. It could be:

    1. Page Load
    2. Content not compelling enough (worrying, but entirely possible!)
    3. Theme layout / internal navigation not compelling enough

    I’ve made a real difference to load times by installing the W3 Total Cache (which I now fully recommend others do). So lets see what happen over the next few days.

    I’ll report back here if anyone’s interested to learn the outcome.

    Thanks again Dave you rock \m/

    Steve


    Steve Mullen – owner Brite Social – find me on Twitter and G+
    Digital marketing consultant, WordPress builder with focus on leisure, destination and entertainment.

    #87958

    amplifiedsteve
    Member
    Post count: 12

    Hey SDT,

    Thanks for your input.

    True enough bounce rate can be attributed to the content visitor sees and decided whether or not to engage with. Time on site is decent so content is being consumed. It can also be down to the layout of the site – I just found it intriguing that the bounce rate shot up after moving over to Genesis.

    Interesting point to make about the hosting, I’ve been considering a more serious player but again, the issues seem to have arisen after moving over to Genesis so Im exploring whether there’s a correlation / cause & effect.

    Also, the point you raised with Dynamik. I will take a look at again in more details – thanks.

    I have just installed WP Super Cache and I have to say that the load speed has been improved from just over 5 secs to 1.3 seconds – thats just great! Thanks for the heads up on WP Super Cache – never really considered that plugin before.

    Cheers


    Steve Mullen – owner Brite Social – find me on Twitter and G+
    Digital marketing consultant, WordPress builder with focus on leisure, destination and entertainment.

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