I wrote a post back at the beginning of September about changing to a responsive design theme. I was experimenting with a more search engine friendly responsive design. I wanted to give my mobile visitors a better user experience as I receive close to one third of my traffic through mobile. newmediaMike is well positioned as a test bed for mobile experiments and it definitely keeps in line with my tagline “playing in the newmeda sandbox”. I added a caveat to the post that should traffic drop for newmediamike as a result of the theme change I would revert back to the previous Thrilling and WPTouch set up.
Well I took a look at my Analytics last night, (yeah that’s how I roll on a Saturday night), and discovered my traffic hadn’t been affected, but my bounce rate had rocketed from 2% to 98%! I immediately traced the increased bounce rate to the responsive design theme, as the bounce rate for mobile devices went through the roof.
There was a one day drop off on Sept. 11, that was the day I updated the Catchbox responsive design theme and lost the analytics code. I learned my lesson, never manually place analytics code in header.php, leave it to a plugin. I am using the Simple Google Analytics plugin on newmediaMike.
Is this definitive proof that responsive design affects bounce rate? Hardly. But I will be conducting further experiments to see if it was responsive design or the CatchBox theme I was using. I’m also using a responsive design theme called appropriately enough Responsive Design for my WordPress Training in Toronto site, but the traffic there is still desktop heavy. Not as mobile savvy as my newmediamike readers. Nor as plentiful. I received hundreds of visitors in the first few days after the frunleh htaccess hack but since then traffic has dropped significantly.
Stay tuned for the continuing saga of the use of responsive design for mobile.