Making a blog more sticky requires you to do two things: getting your readers to stay on the site longer and getting them to come back more often. You can find out how long your readers are staying and how many pages they’re reading by using a stats tools like Google Analytics. For John Chow dot Com, the average visit length is 3 minutes 18 seconds and the average visitor views 1.8 pages. This is significantly higher than the industry average. Here are some thing you can do to stick your blog.
Have a Unique Blog Design
Stickiness has a lot to do with branding and it’s pretty hard to create a brand when your blog runs the same WordPress theme as a million other blogs. I will not disagree that free is a very good price. However, it maybe costing you in brand power.
Getting Unique Blog Designs to make a custom theme for this blog has been one of the best move ever in terms of traffic, income and stickiness. A custom theme makes your blog stand out from the crowd. And with 117,000 new blogs entering the blogsphere everyday, it’s pretty crowded.
Have Lots of Interlinking Pages
A high page view number is a good sign of reader activity. It’s pretty hard to do with a blog because there’s only one page in most cases. You can increase the page view number by interlinking as many older posts as possible. This blog features my most popular posts and most recent posts on every page. Even if I’m writing about dining on a toilet, a new reader can get an idea of what I’m about by checking some of the popular articles.
Another thing I do to increase page views is to have a random post link at the end of all my posts. Clicking the link will bring up a random post, making the reader stay on the blog longer and increasing the page views. You can grab the plugin here. I also run a related post plugin that shows other posts I’ve written that are related to the current one.
One of the best ways to get readers to stay longer and add page views is to encourage them to comment. The more interactivity you create between the blog and your readership, the better. Commenting helps to bond readers to the blog. It creates a sense of community. This will make your blog more sticky.
To encourage comments, I reward my top commentators with a link on the side bar. This is done with the Show Top Commentators plugin. I also offer many contests where the way to enter is by commenting.
Make It Easy for Readers to Subscribe
One of the best way to increase the stickiness of your blog is to have a big RSS subscription base. If your RSS base is big enough, not even Google can take you down. RSS allows you to stay in contact with your readers even when they don’t visit the blog. Make it as easy as possible for a reader to subscribe to your blog. Offer multiple ways to do it.
Think of your RSS as your customer base. New readers visiting your blog are potential customers. You should do everything possible to get them to subscribe. A magazine’s ad rates are largely based on how many subscribers they have and not on how many copies they sell on newsstands.
Offer a Free Newsletter
In addition to RSS, I offer a newsletter as another way to stay in contact with my readers. I use Aweber as my newsletter provider. Their prices are really inexpensive for the amount of features you get. My favorite feature is the Blog Broadcast. This will generate a newsletter based on your blog posts.
I encourage readers to subscribe to my newsletter by offering the Make Money Online with John Chow dot Com eBook for free if they subscribe.
Offer a Free eBook
This falls into the branding category. The Make Money Online with John Chow dot Com eBook has been one of this blog’s greatest promotional tools. The book links to my blog from every page and help establish me as an expert in the field.
Follow Me On Twitter
While it’s a big time waster for most people, Twitter is also be a great marketing tool. In addition to allowing two-way communication between you and your readership, Twitter is great for announcing new blog posts and getting instant feedback to questions.
Right now, I’m promoting my Twitter feed with a personal request to follow me at the end of the post. However, I will be featuring Twitter more prominently in the future.
Post More Often
Increasing the frequency of your posts can have a positive effect on blog stickiness. However, it is possible to go too far. I try to keep my posts at about three per day. This gives everyone enough time to read and comment to it.
Many blogs have a problem increasing their posting frequency because they’re in a very narrow niche (or the blogger is lazy). The solution would be to widen the niche a bit. For example, you can add camcorders to your digital camera only blog. John Chow dot Com is a personal blog so I can pretty much talk about anything.