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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Making Your Blog or Website Sticky -- Bringing Back Visitors: Analyze Your Search Engine Queries and Give'em What They Want

It probably goes without saying that if you are running any type of blog, be it business, personal, educational or what have you, you want readers, lots of readers. If you didn't, you wouldn't be on the Internet. Now I'll admit upfront that most of my current blogs are new, and so the what I'm telling you here comes not from popular blogs (yet :D) but from the experience of being both a former search engine webmaster as well as a webmaster-for-hire for 10 years now.

The truth is, establishing your website or blogsite takes hard work. You can cheat and use blog-page-generating software that pulls in content from RSS feeds. Or you can produce real content, optimize your keywords for the search engines (and not primarily for contextual advertising such as Google AdSense). Add new content reguarly to stay visible in both the blogosphere and regular search engines. Posting regular new content means being spidered more often, which in turn means that when a future reader does a "date-relevant" search, they'll find you more easily. (My many blogs are being found on the most unusual search terms; this means I've still got some work to do.) As I said, all this takes effort, but pays off in visitors - hopefully ones that'll return often. Which is what you want, right?

In marketing lingo, you want to make your blog or website "sticky". That is, you want to have your readers come back again and again, so you need to "stick" in their mind in some positive way. How to do this? The long answer would fill a book. The simplest answer I can give you is: give'em what they want.

How do you give readers what they want when they aren't posting comments or sending you emails? Fact is, most people won't give you feedback, even if they want to or feel like it. So you have to determine this yourself. For one approach, please see my data mining post, Do Your Visitors Like Your Blog Content. Another approach is to track your visitors' queries. If you haven't already done so, add a search engine query box to your blog. (Google AdSense for Search makes it simple, if you are already signed up for AdSense.) Query data will give you incredibly valuable information.

The general principle is to check your "top queries" data, AdSense or otherwise, to determine which search terms that your visitors are using are the most popular. Your mission is to then decide if these terms fit into your blog's range of topics. If the answer is yes, then you need to perform the same search on your blog as they did. Do you have any posts with the search term? Yes? Wonderful. Write some more posts, but don't be contrived. No posts found? Then you need to write some posts with that search term. Again, don't be contrived. Make sure that the content is solid, informative, and fits into your topic range. Most of all, try to write these posts soon after each search. Many readers will give you a couple of tries before they give up. And presumably, the came to your blog because they found something in it they were interested in in the first place. Give'em what they want.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash, http://blogspinner.blogspot.com

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BlogSpinner-X serves two primary purposes. Firstly, it houses the original version of my Blogspinner blog, and contains the full-text of my older entries. Secondly, the more recent entries are excerpts of the full-text entries posted over on Blogspinner V2.0. In other words, the "X" stands for "eXcerpt".

About Me
I'm a geek/ philosopher/ composer/ artist/ cook/ web programmer/ consultant/ photographer/ blah-blah-blah who is also a published writer and author. This is one of several blogs that I write.

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(c) Copyright: 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash, http://blogspinner.countwordula.com/