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Creating blog addiction – taking a tip from the world of online gaming
We humans are great at getting hooked on things. Whatever your pleasure, the chances are that you will have one thing at least in your life that you find irresistible. Some people love chocolate, and can’t get enough of it. Some people like gambling, drinking, shopping or travelling. Whatever your guilty pleasure, you know the beauty of indulging it, and the satisfaction that giving in to a craving can bring.
In the blogosphere, things are no different. Some people manage to produce sites which keep you going back and back for another fix, like a hungry addict. There are a number of ways to get your blog moved from a passing interest to a solid addiction for your readers, and learning these techniques are the best possible way to ensure you have a steady stream of traffic which doesn’t diminish over time.
One way of gaining insight in to the ‘addiction’ factor for your site is to think of a site or application which manages to do it perfectly, and look at the methods they use to draw you in. most of us have a site which we visit on a daily basis, that makes us tetchy if we can’t access it.
If you’ve ever played a game on line regularly, you know the slight pull you get to go and visit the site when you should be working. The gaming industry has an instinctive knack of knowing what works and what doesn’t, and tap in to this knack in order to ensure your continued loyalty.
An example of this would be Facebook’s Bejeweled Blitz application. Every day, millions of people go on to the site to play the game, vying to beat their previous scores, and competing against friends to succeed.
How does the gaming industry keep people engaged?
Bejeweled is available on the iPhone, through Facebook, or as a regular download for your PC. There are literally thousands of sites out there telling people how to increase their scores and generate cheats and tips for winning. The game uses the following techniques to make sure people stay loyal to the game, going back and back for more like addicted maniacs…
- Make it competitive, by using a leader board where you can see your friends’ high scores
- Make it engaging, with user-friendly graphics and sound effects
- Create new versions of the game for special events like Halloween or Christmas
- Reset the game every week, so players’ scores are back to zero and they need to visit the site again to play and generate a new score
- Add incentives such as free coin rewards for people who visit every day
- Make the game length just one minute, so people don’t feel guilty about popping in to play (even though they will probably stay for twenty or so minutes!)
- Encourage people to share their high scores, replays of the game and other news on social networking sites.
With all this in place, it’s not surprising that the game is effective when it comes to keeping players loyal. While not all of the techniques used within the gaming industry are directly translatable to your blog, there are some great lessons to be learned by looking at an industry sector which is geared towards fuelling addiction and promoting user loyalty.
What can we take from the gaming industry to encourage loyalty in our readers?
Here’s how some of the techniques used by the gaming industry can be appropriated for your own site…
Offer something for nothing
It goes without saying that people like to gain from spending time online. By offering a free product as well as content, you will draw people in and gain their trust. Once people have had something of value for free, they will be much more kindly disposed to your site, and also more likely to take up any services which you offer. Think of the free product as you being altruistic, rather than focusing upon what it can do for you, and you will be in an ideal position to serve your customers without an ulterior motive.
Change the content – every day
News blogs are among the most popular out there, for a simple reason. They update their content every day with interesting and informative material that people want to read. You can do the same on your blog by having a strong content strategy in place, encouraging people to pop in on a daily basis.
Make it easy for people to subscribe
The best gaming sites make it easy for people to sign up for new offers, and get alerted when things change. They do this by having clear steps for people to follow to subscribe to news, and provide encouragement by offering free credit or other incentives through the subscription. Follow suit by offering a members area, giving away information for people who sign up to your site, and making people feel as if they are accessing more useful material when they become members.
Open up discussion
People like to talk, especially online. Encourage comments and feedback, consider setting up a discussion forum relating to your chosen field of industry, and support people to submit material by making it easy and worthwhile for them to do so. Some of the best blogs practically manage themselves, by making it accessible and engaging when people choose to pop in and post up a comment.
Change your site to attract revisits
Just as Google changes its homepage to mark special occasions or important dates, and the gaming industry theme their sites to coincide with holidays or festivals, so you can consider updating your site to mark out seasonal events. If you have a monthly theme which changes, for example, you are more likely to get people to revisit you to see what you are up to.
Publicise it everywhere
Making your blog accessible for people on social networking sites such as Twitter, Linked In and Facebook provides you with an ideal platform for sharing information. WordPress allows you to link to most networking sites with the click of a button, meaning you can alert everyone who follows you that you have published something new.
There are more benefits than just encouraging readers to your site when you link up to the virtual network. People can re-tweet and comment on your posts, sharing them around their own group of followers and making it more likely for your site to attract a wide readership.