Blogs are either one of two things.
There’s the leaky bucket. People come to these blogs, get what they came for and leave. These blogs leak visitors.
And as I noted in the previous post in this series, each visitor holds a ton of power.
With one click, they can become a lifelong reader. With another they can amplify a blog post. Then they can add invaluable insights to your community in the form of a comment.
If your blog is a leaky funnel, your audience is leaving before they get a chance to provide any value to your blog.
But today we’re not talking about the leaky bucket, check out my last post for that. Here we’re talking about the other kind of blog. The blog that catches every visitor that comes near it.
The blog that’s seductive. The one that people just can’t seem to leave.
Today is all about the spiderweb. When you visit these blogs it’s hard not to get stuck. Even though you get what you came for, you can’t help but stay awhile.
You can’t help but to check out a couple more posts. Can’t help but to share them to your following. Sign up for their email list. And follow them on social media.
A great blog turns its visitors turns into a loyal, lifelong readers. A magical funnel that takes in views and churns out subscribers, followers, and friends. Every new visitor is an investment in the future.
A sticky blog is a bloggers best friend.
It maximizes every visitor. Unlike the leaky bucket, you can feel confident sending people to the spiderweb.
Today I’m going to teach you 12 ways to make your blog more sticky.
1. Talk to Your Audience
Your audience likes to be talked to.
They don’t care about “we” or “us”, they care about themselves. Your posts should sound as if you were having an intimate conversation with a reader.
Use words like “you” and “your” in your content. And don’t be afraid to address your audience with specifics.
2. Be Easy to Read
There’s nothing worse than a big block of text.
Lengthy paragraphs are intimidating for 21st Century readers. We have a lot going on you know. No one wants to sift through a bunch of text.
Reading should be easy. It should flow.
A great way to make your content more readable is to break up your paragraphs. They should be no more than 3 lines. Also use big font, short sentences and simple grammar.
3. Use Call-to-Actions
If you aren’t asking your audience for anything, don’t expect them to do what you want.
If you want your audience to subscribe, ask them to. Your audience aren’t mind-readers. They’re only going do something if you give them an easy way to.
But if you present them a call-to-action at the perfect time, they’ll convert in hoards. I’ll go more into call-to-actions in a future post in this series.
4. Cut the Fat
The average person is busier than ever.
They have more to do. More to see. And more content to consume than ever before.
They don’t have the time or the patience for you to talk around the point. Get to your point and get out. Leave the fluff behind.
Now I’m not saying all your posts have to be short. It’s very possible to have a 4000 word blog post without an ounce of fat. In other words, your content should be dense with useful information.
5. Respond to People
If someone takes the time out of their busy day to leave you a thoughtful comment on your blog or social media, you better respond to it.
The bloggers that do this show their audience something important: that they value them. And people will take notice, trust me.
Some of the best communities on the blogosphere have been built by bloggers grew their blog through comments.
6. Tell Your Story
You need to give your audience a name and face behind your content. Without this you’re 1 in a million.
With this your 1 of 1. You’re memorable. You’re unique. You’re an actual person.
Make sure you have some place on your blog that you can find more information on yourself or your brand. An About Me or Our Story page works well. Also, an author box can be a great way to give away a few sentences of who you are.
7. Show Your Personality
Humans are highly social creatures.
We are always seeking connection. If your audience just wanted the information, they’d be on Wikipedia. When they come to your blog they’re hoping for more than just plain content.
They want a little flair. Something a little different. Something with some personality. This is your differentiating factor.
8. Interlink Your Posts
The easiest way to get more views isn’t to go out and get them, it’s to make the people already visiting your blog to visit more. And a great way to do this is to interlink all of your posts together.
Make sure you are constantly tying related posts together. Get in the habit of linking to previous and future posts. You also should think about downloading a recommended post plugin.
Both will help lower your bounce rate and increase the time spent on your blog.
9. Quick to Load
Your blog’s load time may be the single most important factor to your engagement.
When we’re on the Internet, we’re in an ADD state. We fly around the web, waiting for no one. If your site is slow to load, you are losing a majority of your visitors before they even get a chance to glimpse your content.
Go check your blog’s load time on Pingdom. It’ll help you identify how fast your blog is and where the bottlenecks are.
A great way to speed up your blog without changing a thing is to install a caching system. I personally have WP Super Cache installed on this blog and am very happy with the results.
10. Strong Header and Tagline
The first 10 seconds someone visits your blog is essential.
This first impression is crucial to determining whether the visitor will stick around or bounce, never to return again. One of the best ways to make sure they stay is to have a reassuring header that reminds them why they are there.
Your header should have a strong visual (logo) and a tagline (benefit). It should quickly remind people who you are and reinforce why they should read your blog.
11. Clean Navigation
You know the blogs. The ones with 10 header links and 15 categories. There’s nothing worse than trying to find your way on a blog with a cluttered navigation.
When you give your visitors too many options, they can suffer from analysis paralysis. Too many options creates a mental overhead which usually results in your audience taking the easy way out: leaving.
Make sure your navigation is as clean as possible. Remove any header links that aren’t essential.
12. Easy Sharing
Don’t expect your audience to share. Your audience might love your content. But if you don’t make it easy for them to share, they never will.
Your audience has too much going on to go out of their way to promote your content. While on rare occasions they will, I wouldn’t count on it.
The best way to encourage sharing is to make it easy for them to. Place sharing signals on the side and bottom of your posts. Tell them to share with a call-to-action in your conclusion and use Clicktotweet to pre-make tweets for them.
Good blog design is all about removing friction. Removing the friction to sharing. Removing the friction to subscribing. Removing the friction to visiting more posts.