image credit: yaelfran
By Cam Pietralunga of Pink Sparks Media
We all know a well-kept blog provides us with lots of benefits such as increased sales and a growing mailing list. Being stocked and sticky may not sound like a good thing but it is the holy grail when doing business online. A stocked blog is a blog (or website) with content (articles, tutorials, product reviews, etc.) that is constantly changing and added to. A sticky blog is achieved by creating content that attracts repeat visitors and make visitors want to stick around and absorb your content for longer periods of time. We all know being stocked and sticky makes sense, but unfortunately, few of us know how to consistently do what needs to be done to create this state.
How to be Stocked & Sticky
Getting your blog stocked with great content is key to capturing the attention of your core audience. Here are several ways you can do this:
Schedule it out – Creating time to write great content for your website is tough. The best way I’ve found is to make a schedule. It doesn’t have to be strenuous either. Writing every day doesn’t work for everyone – twice a week could be just fine for you. Whatever your schedule, getting it into a calendar application with automated alerts will help keep you on track. Use Google Calendar or iCal. It’s also helpful to use a timer. Allot yourself one hour to write an article and no more. When the timer rings, time is up and you’re done. Post it. Move on.
Quality content – Do your research and visit the websites and blogs your core audience also visits. See what they see. Put yourself in their position. Doing a little “what if…” will help you to figure out what your audience wants to know more about. For instance, the core audience for alice + rabbit wants collectible sewn items that are unique and a little bit victorian. They frequent Etsy.com, love science fiction/fantasy and read a lot. Knowing this helps me design products and write content that is relevant to my audience.
Interactivity rules – Visitors love to “make their mark” and let you know they’ve been there. Give them a way to interact with you and with your other visitors by providing a poll, survey, online class, auction, product review questionnaire. Anything that invites a visitor to send you their comments or information is a good thing.
Read and respond – When you start getting comments on your posts, be sure to repspond to them. People love to start a conversation about their favorite subject, no matter how short the conversation ends up being. And no one wants to be ignored.
Be on the lookout – Always be on the lookout for fresh ideas for content. You never know when the seed of a brilliant idea will be planted in your mind so keep your eyes open.
Make a list – Keep a list of inspirational websites and blogs by your computer. Make it your habit to visit at least 4 a day before you develop your daily post. There’s nothing better than being excited to talk to your audience about a new and fun idea. Help build that excitement by visiting websites of peers you respect.
Get involved – A great way to make your site sticky is to post comments on other relevant blogs with a link back to your blog. Believe it or not, those pages of comments underneath a great blog post actually DO get read through by interested visitors. Plenty of great websites can be discovered by just clicking through the comments with linked names. Don’t miss that opportunity.
Try audio or video – Have you ever thought about creating a video greeting for your blog or website? A personal invitation to interact with your site is a great way to create stickiness. And, no, you don’t have to look like a model or be a technology wizard to do it! It’s easier than you think so give it a shot. If you’re using an Apple computer you can use the built-in camera and iMovie or Garageband. If you’re on a Windows PC, you can use Audacity or HotRecorder or even Skype. Just Google “podcast tutorial” for step-by-step instructions.
Post to ALL your networks – Last but not least, don’t forget to post to all your networks when you post a new article – Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIN, Stumbleupon, etc. A fantastic tool for posting your article links to ALL your networks at once is called Ping.fm. Get a free account and you’ll find it makes updating your networks a breeze.
It’s not brain surgery to create a stocked and sticky blog but it does take a little forethought and effort. With these tips you’ll quickly be on your way to more traffic, community and sales!
image credit: keep calm shop
Cam Pietralunga is owner/designer for Pink Sparks Media, a design studio that creates dynamic websites exclusively for women-owned businesses. She’s a craft business owner herself (alice + rabbit) and finds the act of creating, digitally or with her hands, deeply fulfilling. Cam and her husband live in Northern California with their 3 children.