Most of our efforts are spent working on defining the best keywords to attract people to your site, and to indicate to search engines that your site is relevant for specific phrases. But once you’ve gotten visitors to your site, do you know how to hold their attention?

The same applies to blogs. Blogs are all about content, but good content keeps visitors coming back for more, and increases your reach by building a following. In the case of websites and blogs, keeping your visitors engaged is create a “sticky” site. But how do you define whether your site or blog is sticky, and how to you increase that stickiness?

Is Your Content Sticky or Slippery?

  • Visitors – using Google Analytics, look at New vs Returning visitors. This is a great basic metric. A large amount of new visitors means that your site is getting lots of new traffic – either from referrals, search (paid or organic) or even direct. But if you returning visits are woefully low, it is a good indication that the content on your site doesn’t warrant a return visit.
  • Bounce Rate – The general rule of thumb is that a bounce rate over 50% in indicative of a problem on your site. (A “bounce” is when a visitor arrives on your site – on any page – and leaves within 10 seconds). Bounce rates tend me to higher on Pay Per Click (PPC) landing pages with limited navigation, but even a high rate on a landing page is still a sign of a problem. Where you would expect to see higher bounce rates are on thank you pages after a visitor has filled out a form.
  • Referrals – check out your referral sources and see if you have a good mix of different types of sites like forums, blogs, directories, press sites, even other blogs. If you don’t see this your content is not likely to be shared in place on the Internet where people share content.
  • Duration on Site/Page – If a particular page has a low amount of time spent on it, chances are there is a problem with the content. Unless the page is meant to be a quick stepping stone, low average time is a strong indicator that your content is either not relevant nor captivating to your visitors.
  • Interaction – are users commenting on your posts, clicking on your assets, and filling out your forms? A lack of user interaction can point out a lack of stickiness in your content.

How to Make Your Site Sticker

  • Content – who is your visitor? What are their interests? Creating content for content sake make be a great exercise for you, but reaching out to interested parties means talking about what they want to hear.
  • Layout – make sure your content is clean, easy to read, and laid out in digestible chunks, as most users scan rather than read a page. Short paragraphs, or even bullets allow visitors to stay engaged with your page, and not get frightened off by huge blocks of content. Bolding and blockquoting are other ways to keep your visitors eyes focused on the content, but use these sparingly, as overkill can nullify their effects.
  • Calls to Action – make sure your pages guide users into the next steps. Don’t let a page simply end, without giving clear direction on where to go next, whether it is to another page, or to a form to receive information or an asset from the site.
  • Share Buttons – make it easy for your visitors to share your content with social media sharing buttons. There are a lot of good sources, some of them free, for sharing templates that you can add to your site.
  • Comments – especially relevant to blogs, encourage your visitors to interact with your content by commenting on your content. And, when they do comment, encourage further with a response to the comment, even if it is a simple thank you. Make commenting easy, either on a blog post, or with a contact form. And make sure your phone number is prominently displayed for those who prefer to comment “old school”.
  • Questions – encourage interaction on your blog posts by asking your visitors a question, or leaving the ending off and letting the visitors complete the post.
  • Thank You Pages – just because your visitor has completed an action, don’t let them off the hook yet! Putting additional, relevant calls to action on your thank you pages can lengthen the user experience and time with your brand, and possibly tighten the sales cycle by affording more brand leadership with a new action or asset.
  • Follow up – when a visitor interacts with your brand (comment, form completion, etc), have a plan of action for touching them in various ways. If they’ve opted into an email newsletter, remind them of upcoming webinars, alert them of your attendance at a trade show, or even let them know you have a new whitepaper to download.

Your content is not a Field of Dreams – they’ll only come if your content is compelling and relevant to your visitors.

Have you determined the stickiness of your site? What metrics did you use and what did you do to avoid being “slippery”?