Launching “Link Bait” is a new and popular strategy for gaining traffic and links (and hopefully conversions), but one of the problems is that one visit isn’t enough! I’d like to discuss 5 ways to help keep your visitors coming back every day, besides just posting more often and having good content! Before I get to those steps, let’s look at some numbers. “>ComScore has some interesting statistics about what type of content gives “Stickiness” to your site (note, from 2006):
1) Portals (28.7 average usage days per month)
2) Entertainment (15.2)
3) Community (14.3)
4) News/Information (14.0)
5) Search/Navigation (13.6)
6) Email (13.2)
7) Directories/Resources (11.8 )
8 ) ISP (11.6)
Portals (think Yahoo!, iGoogle, anything people might make their homepage) brought in the most days per month visited, most likely due to a default home page being visited every time a browser is opened. The next two, Entertainment and Community, seem to me to go hand in hand with what we call Social Media now. Surprisingly, search is #5, which I thought would be at the top (at least for my usage, I search multiple times every day).
5 Ways to Improve Visitor Retention
So now that we have some idea, at least relatively, of what keeps people coming back, here are some actionable things (and real examples) you can do for your site to get visitors coming back every day:
1) Integrate Dynamic, Interesting Content – Recently Loren Baker, Dave Snyder, Jordan Kasteler, and Lief Nissen launched IMBroadcast.com, a niche site geared towards SEOs that brings together videos and other media content all in one place. The content is always changing, there is an RSS feed, and its not just fluff or dumb videos, but actually useful content. This fits under the categories of Entertainment and Community.
2) Create a Community – Just like IMBroadcast created its own community, you can create your own community where people in your industry are interested in participating, discussing, and contributing. This could be as simple as a forum or a discussion board, or you could create your own social network even (you’ll have to consider the audience size, and potential interest in something like this).
3) Run a Contest – ShoeMoney’s comment contest is a prime example of a great way to bring back visitors every day. Even if you don’t run a contest like his, the idea is that a contest can be used to keep visitors checking back often, or to subscribe to your RSS feed. Andy Beal of Marketing Pilgrim runs contests every now and then (this one I actually won!), and one of his neat ideas was to put in a message that you could only see if you subscribed to the RSS feed, so you had to be subscribed to participate. Running contests isn’t for everyone, but if you have at least a couple hundred readers/visitors it can make it worth it. Be clever!
4) Email Subscription to your Blog – There are several WordPress Plugins that make it easy to create an email subscription for your blog. Once you post, an email goes out to anyone signed up, which is a great alternative to non-RSS readers.
5) Post in a series – Although probably not practical to do all month long, posting a “series” that has an ongoing theme that all fit together can be a great way to bring readers back to your site. Announce the series and make sure everyone knows it will go on for 3 days, 5 days, etc. Then when you write and post the series, make sure to link to the first page that announced the series, and possibly the previous article in the series. As an example, Sugarrae recently did this with a series on Reasons you Fail at Affiliate Marketing.
What are some other ways you use to keep your visitors coming back to your site every day?