Improving Your Blog Stickiness

It’s relatively easy to get your blog set up and start updating it with great articles. It’s also straightforward to market it, let people know it is out there, and do what you can to encourage people to come and visit your site. With the right tools and support, you can get a great blog up and running in a small space of time.

What can prove to be a little more difficult is getting people to stick around. We’ve all visited new blogs and checked them out, and then clicked away from them, never to return again.

So. What is the ‘stickiness’ factor, and how do you make sure you have it on your blog? Here are a few ideas…

The soap opera technique

Do you ever watch soap operas? Some people live by them. They have an ongoing story to tell, and they retain maximum ‘stickiness’ in a number of ways. These include:

  • Running plot lines that don’t ever truly conclude (ever watched Lost?!).
  • Leaving you hanging with unanswered questions.
  • Dealing with relevant topics that people can identify with.
  • Letting you get to know the characters, so you care about how they’re getting on.

All these factors can apply equally well to blogging, and you can take inspiration from soap techniques for your own writing. By using open writing styles, you can make sure that people come back to your blog regularly to see how you’re getting on, and develop relationships with people that mean they are eager to get your next installment!

Keep abreast of leading-edge developments in your field

If you can tap in to news as it breaks in your industry, you stand a good chance of retaining your readership for good. Make your blog the first port of call for updates and information, and people will come back again and again, using you as a primary resource for finding things out. The best way to do this is to look online for relevant RSS feeds and subscribe to them, then comment on useful or interesting things which apply to your field of expertise.

Try providing useful widgets

If you make your blog useful, the likelihood is people will come back to the site as a matter of course, as part of their daily routine. Widgets such as weather updates, news items on a particular subject, or essential information such as share prices, promotions or offers (depending upon your area of industry) can be a great – and easy – way of making your blog site indispensable to your readers. Make it easy for people to bookmark you, and then make them want to visit you time and again.

Remind people through other means to visit your blog

Sometimes, we forget about even the best things in life. Have you ever discovered a great new recipe for a meal, only to kind of forget about it again? Blogs can be like that. Even the best ones can slip the net if people aren’t given a reminder to go back and check in with them. Keep your blog at the forefront of your readers’ minds, by linking to it from your other resources. Make it a prominent part of your company web site, and try sending out monthly e-mail newsletters that link people straight back to your blog. Make it even easier for people to return, by offering a prompt to add your blog to their ‘Favorites’ list.

Harness the power of storytelling

Storytelling is a skill which every single person responds to. Structure your blog posts with a clear beginning, a great middle and a decisive ending. These techniques tap in to our inherent response to stories which has been developed in us since we were children. By making your posts clear, well-structured and readable, you’ll give people a sense of ease when they read your posts, and encourage them to return to your site for another dose of storytelling, every day. As busy adults, we don’t often get the chance to take time out and lose ourselves in a great story. Your blog can be one of the places where people pop in to tune out for a while!

Build up long-term online relationships

This is the most simple, and most effective, way of building your readership and making your blog stickier than a fly caught in treacle (mmmm…). If people who visit feel that they are getting to know you, and you are reliable when it comes to providing help and support, they’ll come to view you as a valued colleague and friend. This is achieved by:

  • Making regular (and I mean REGULAR) updates on your blog.
  • Answering all comments and queries quickly and efficiently.
  • Being helpful, supportive and proactive when it comes to dealing with comments.
  • Visiting other blogs, and offering them the readership that you yourself are seeking to gain.

…Simple!

If you have a ‘sticky’ blog, get in touch in the comments and share your expertise with me!

14 thoughts on “Improving Your Blog Stickiness”

  1. I am scanning the web to try and find tips with our new theme we are using for our site and just wanted to say thanks for the info on the new update coming with headway, i found other helpful articles here but only came to see about the theme,, thanks

  2. Excellent question! Both really, as both of measures of almost the same thing. Anything over a minute, depending on your niche is great. 3 minutes is longer than I spend on sites I love so I think that's a great measure for you.
    Bounce rate is the people who leave without going to another page, so just a single page view and off. I don't always think this is necessarily a bad thing as with sites I read often there's no reason for me to click around as I was there yesterday. Again, it all depends on niche, frequency of posting, and other on-page factors – giving the user somewhere to go or something interesting after the article has been read.

  3. Thanks, Joel. I'll take a look at it.

    Another question, about “stickiness.” Are you basically judging this by bounce rate or average time on site? I'm getting a 3:02 avg time on site, I wonder if that's good, bad, or ugly? Don't have anything to compare it to.

    Also, I don't really understand bounce rate. Everyone leaves eventually, don't they? Really appreciate your educating us bloggers, Joel, thanks!

  4. Glad you liked it Joel. Link Within plugin does take the images automatically. You need to go to their site, put in the URL and the number of items you want to show and it'll create a widget for you to download and install. Very easy!

  5. Joel, terrific article. Especially liked: “Storytelling is a skill which every single person responds to.” So true. If you can introduce your post with a story element, you'll capture people's interest.

    Does the Link Within plugin do the photos automatically as well? How does that work, it's much more effective than just a text link.

  6. No problem Richard, I'll take a look at the guide myself. I use the Link Within plugin at the end of my post, I used to use Yet Another Related Posts Plugin which is also good.

  7. As well as what you recommend, adding internal links from one blog post to another and adding a related pots plugin can help.

    Plus highlight you most popular or fav blog posts.

    Andrew

  8. There are loads of ways to make your WordPress site more sticky. For example simple elements like adding a “related posts” plugin will help visitors who find you visa the search engine for a specific keyword phrase to find plenty more related content on your blog.

    Another idea is write a “series” of posts that build on each other and that you send out over a period of time and keep readers coming back for the next installment.

    At the risk of highjacking this post, there is a free 30+ page report I’ve written on building blog traffic, and the second half of the report (which has got most of the positive comments so far) is all about building a sticky blog. An email opt-in *is* required but I think the report could prove very useful to other readers who may be interested in this topic. Just click the link above to go to my website and grab a copy.

Leave a Reply