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Posted By JSLogan 9th of June 2005 Blog Promotion 0 Comments

One thing all bloggers and webmasters want is return visitors. Many of us watch the stats and monitor this critical measurement of web success…if you come back time and time again, you must like me. If you like me and return enough you’ll finally heed my call to action – make a purchase, register, click on an advertiser, etc. Stickiness makes a blog and return visitors are paramount to ecommerce success – repeat buyers are a critical component to revenue growth.

How best do you get people back to your site time-after-time?

Like many, I’ve tried countless ways to attract and retain repeat visitors – polls, weekly features, giveaways, interviews, guest bloggers, links, quizzes, contests, etc. Some worked better than others, some had little affect at all. Great content is a given. But what puts you over the top? Sometimes just adding a fraction to your audience makes all the difference in the world.

Polls were interesting for a while; they seem to be abandoned now. Contests got old and quizzes smelled funny. Guest bloggers and interviews are currently popular. Maybe there’s a cycle and what was once old will again appear new.

If you blog or run a website, what are the best features you’ve added to your site to attract and retain repeat visitors? What are the most effective features you’ve seen on other blogs and websites? Lastly, why do you think they work?

  1. One thing I do is publish recent posts in my newsletter, just a 25 word “teaser” that will get the reader interested. I am probably going to put a statement at the end of the recent post summaries about why it is beneficial for their traffic to leave a helpful comment to my posts.

    I like how you ask questions at the end of your posts, it makes the reader think, and thinking leads to a reason to post a comment.
    Great way to encourage interaction!


  2. I agree that questions are good. Also, asking for help, and of course the points you mentioned: guest bloggers, and interviews. Other than that…I can’t think of much else.

  3. This is definitely an important aspect of web maintenance. I think in most cases, nothing can beat regular, fresh and interesting updates. Not too much, not too little. Community participation in the form of blog polls, quizzes, memes, etc. are good too. As long as they’re not the ‘be all and all’ (unless it’s your specialty like blogthings, etc.).

  4. I tried a “Ask Me Anything” feature for a while. Worked great. It was a demonstration of my Google-fu and it also allowed me to demonstrate how to use search engines properly. Then I got tired of it. I might go back and do it again.

  5. My blog is still baby-fresh, so I’ve been thinking about this alot…I am considering a newsletter to draw people back. Anybody have experience with web-based newsletter services?

  6. notifylist.com has always worked well for me, although you can get some pretty nifty WordPress based ‘subscribe by email’ tools too: http://incsub.org/blog/?p=497

    The WP subscribe to comments one that Darren needs to implement here is a great way to get people into conversations (also used above).

    Something that I can’t help but wonder about is whether we should be paying more attention to our hits or our RSS stats. If, for example, you;re selling a high $ long-process product (like consulting for example) then you want as many people locked into long relationships based around RSS as you can… an your own customised RSS ads as appropriate.

    So lots of ‘sub by buttons’

  7. Leah, Thanks for the kind words! I was taught a long time ago, by someone far wise than me, that a question is more powerful than an answer. I sincerely appreciate you acknowledging that.

  8. Cary, I too an intrigued by newsletters and their integration with blogs. I just started one myself (a newsletter) and am pleased with the early response. In short, my thought is to take a post of particular interest on my blog and expand on it – beyond the space a post allows. Add in a site review, a recommendation of a sales or marketing tool (my domain), and you have something people will register to read.

    Why? It’s a pre-qualifiication of a smaller group of people you can call on. A group of people you best connect with. A group that can offer business opportunities and refer your services (in my case, I am a business, marketing, and sales consultant).

    It’s a win-win – I give more intellectual property and meaningful how-to than on my blog and my newsletter subscribers return the favor by offering business opportunities. We both benefit.

    That’s the idea anyway :-) If interested, you can see what I’m doing at jslogan.com. I use Aweber (www.aweber.com) to manage the subscriber list and use registered users on a b2evolution (b2evolution.net) blogging platform to deliver the newsletter.

    Good Luck!

  9. I’ve added subscribe to comments in WP too and will run a weekly newsletter in future. I’m thinking to have a contest to giveaway some gadgets. Well, it depends to my budget since I don’t earn any cents yet :P

  10. The stickiest website I’ve created is http://www.idolblog.com/ with an average pages/visit of 15-20.

  11. I feel for a blog the real stickiness belongs in its content. The reason polls, quizzes and contests alike run well in the beginning because it has close relation to what the content is all about. I’ve not yet thought about how to maintain the stickiness but I think contests are always great rewards for return visitors and to introduce a blog.

    Seriously spaced out on this. What values to offer the visitors so they keep coming back for more? Other than the content that is. Hmm..

  12. A newsletter is a great idea. Visitors who don’t come by frequently can catch up on what’s been going on with the blog and it provides great incentive to come back.

    Little extras like polls related to a particular topic also help. Though not a blog, Television Without Pity does this in their reviews of TV shows. I know I want to read on further.

    Though nothing beats good content to keep someone coming back.

  13. At the end there is always the content that brings visitors back to our sites.

  14. Rachel, Thanks for the link to IdolBlog; it’s an interesting site. They have photos, a wiki, forum, and community information. They offer a lot to return to see, watch , and check-up on other than blog posts.

    I hadn’t thought of it until just now, but there is a telecom blog I read that uses photos periodically. The blogger inserts posts from time to time with nothng but photos of where he is travelling at the time. He travels around the world and offers many interesting photos – conferences, monuments, sporting events, etc. I have to admit that I like his photos :-)

  15. For a blog or any web presence, content is and will always be King. But if you can add one click be month, per user, your results can significantly increase. Each of yo that commented have given a lot to explore and think further about.

    Thanks to all for commenting!

  16. For WP users,
    Denis de Bernardy will release his Newsletter Manager plugin for WP very soon.

  17. Return visitors are great for the ego, but for clicks, the return visitors tend to tune out the ads. I’ll bet this site has awesome return visitor stats, yet Darren has said that his daily earnings are in the ‘cup of coffee’ range. Same goes for forums.

    If you want ad clicks, you need SE traffic. IMHO.

  18. I agree with Jon. Although my blog is still new, when my adsense earning in a particular day, I found that there are more traffice from SE. But return readers are more willing to leave a comment, which make the blog alive.

  19. Jon, Thanks for the comment! What if you don’t run a site or blog for advertising revenue? What if the purpose of the site is ecommerce, marketing, or supporting a customer? How do you get vistiors to return again and again?

    Great content is a given, but is there anything that pushes it just that little bit that takes it over the top?

  20. I’ve found that on our site htmlfixit.com the tutorials and online tools are a great way to get return visits, if people like them they usually bookmark the tute menu and return next time they are looking for something on the same topic.
    I’m planing to write an online Google sitemap generator shortly that should help somewhat also.
    Other things that help are giving away a script and releasing regular updates or extras. I also agree that contributor tutorials or posts can help foster a community feeling which helps a great deal in gaining a loyal following.

    We are not earning huge wads of money either but it’s been growing month over month for some time now.

  21. As other readers said: Content. However, I will also add feeds. It’s the easiest way for your readers to get in touch with the news things you post on your website. Remember, feeds can containt anything… not just messages.



  22. […] “>Comments

    June 9, 2005 Stickiness Filed under: On Blogs Stickiness One thing all bloggers and webmasters want is return visitors. Many of us […]

  23. JSLogan, Really it is all the same. Comes down to knowing your visitors better than your competition. I scour my logs and every other stat I can get a hold of. That’s really the beauty of a web-based business. Excellent metrics about what is happening with your business.
    It’s not hard to spot the trends when you get into detail in the stats. From there you can test new ideas and re-analyze the results. In my experience, most websites fail to see how necessary this type of honing of the customer relationship is. Whether you are working with repeat visitors or SE traffic, it is the same game.

  24. It’s great reading everything that all of you have to say. I myself just started my blog [ kevenjohnson.com ]and I have yet to see any real traffic to it yet. Other than using Technorati tags and pinging the blog servers and submitting to directories. The content I have added is insightful (or at least I like to think it is). I am still working on what direction I want to go in.

    The one thing I can say is that usualy if I find that has had an effect on me is just asking the readers to respond. That seems to have the greatest effect on me as far as a site and its “stickiness”

  25. […] allenge at ProBlogger – how do you create stickiness on your site? Here’s the link to the conversation. While I positioned and asked the question around web presen […]

  26. A good way to encourage stickiness, which someone mentioned is allowing visitors to ask you questions.

    I’ve put FAQs on sites where visitors can ask questions and this has been great for getting people to come back. Translating this for blogs, means using your visitor’s query as a topic for your blog.

    This shows community spirit and that you are indeed listening to your audience

  27. Responding to comments is a good way to give people some sense of involvement in the site. Helps repeat visits.

    Did I mention we got slashdotted today!

  28. Sigh.. mistyped the URL above.

  29. “allowing visitors to ask you questions……….. listening to your audience”

    That there is the key to a successful repeat visits… nice one Vic, could not have said it better myself…..

  30. A few things that have worked to double my stats in the last month:

    I blog. LOTS of blog entries, and I try to be the Queen of Linkage. I also point readers to my internal content. However, I’m spending so much time blogging I am slacking on the content. Hmmm.

    Newsletters. 2x a week, one with articles, one with a Blog Roundup.

    Also, I just try to be myself, which is a bit of a geeky dork who’s trying to make sense of a lot of very complicated stuff out there.

  31. You just gave me a GREAT idea Darren. This is why I less than three your blog :)

    When I make my first mil, I’ll come down to Oz and buy you dinner.

  32. Hi Darren,

    Super blog by the way – but one thing I’ve noticed which always seems to bring back visitors is simple curiousity. The best way I’ve found so far is by using it with headlines tied to current news events.

    For example my most recent post is titled “Bombings, shootings & Perry Marshall” which is about the recent UK troubles.

    The curiosity factor comes by tying it in with well known marketer Perry. It actually then talks about his new free series on spirituality which I posed as the answer to the uncertain times we live in.

    Curiosity seems to work every time – get it into your blog headlines. I have a lot folks reading my article ‘Copywriting Secrets Of India’s Mystics’ simply due to it’s title alone.

    It’s an easy to way to revive interest of old ‘lapsed’ newsletter lists etc – look at the news, add curiosity to your blog post headline and announce it to your old list. People are interested in the info, not necessarily you so they’ll visit.

    Try it, it’s fun coming up with eye ball grabbers this way.

    All the best and keep up the good work.


  33. Providing a unique community that members feel they are apart of, thats open, positive and fun. For example on my wifes blog she has begun to develop a unique blog roll in which she draws small carictures of readers that send her pictures, and adds them to her “Court of Ellen”, with a link from thier caricature to thier site. People who have joined the blog roll seem to return time and time again.

    She also has a weekly cartoon feature which seems to draw a crowd, hopefully someday this will be a daily cartoon feature, as this would probably develop more stickiness over time.

    Though she doesn’t have a huge following, maybe 250 – 300 hits a day, she has gained an incremental following of many unique readers over the past four months since starting her new blog. Many of her readers accidentially ran across it on blog explosion, dotmoms, langalist, freekatie and search engines, and continue to stick around on a day to day basis.

    So what makes them stick? I often ask myself this question, and I’m still not sure, but I believe there are many different parts that play into the whole of why they stay. A combination of many things.

    I think with her blog, she tends to have a unique artistic talent and writes about things her readers relate to. She talks to them, emails them, and truely enjoys thier company in the cyber world, and makes them feel at home.

    However, she also has a lot of time to write, do her art work, and focus on her audience, as she has a husband who loves to do the behind the scences work of finding new ways to bring unique people to her blog, manage the layout and technicalities of its workings, and enjoys researching what makes a good blog tic.

    By the way, I accidentially came across your site from someones site traffic tracking page, I think it was thezeroboss, and I’m eating up this great information. Thanks

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