Some time ago I had a conversation with a friend on twitter about the term “traffic” in the sense of “getting traffic to your blog or web site”. We both agreed that it is actually not nice to call our visitors “traffic”, she even suggested that it would be the same as calling them “cattle”! In the end we decided to call them “guests” or at least “visitors” in future! Because how you speak of somebody, influences how you treat that person. So what is a quality guest to our web sites and blogs, and how should we treat them? 😉
In my opinion a quality visitor is somebody that
a) Visits for more than only a few seconds.
b) Takes time to read more than one page.
c) Interacts with me and other guests by leaving a comment or two.
d) Signs up to our feeds, joins our community, buys from our web sites, etc etc etc
e) Comes often and repeats steps a) > e)
So what can we, the blog and web site creators/ writers do to encourage these types of visitors and guests. And what can we do to convert “hit and run” traffic in long stay guests? First lets prepare the “guesthouse”, our blogs:
1. Be welcoming at the door!
If we take the guest/house analogy furthe, than your homepage is the main entrance to your blog and all other pages are the site entrances. You want to open these doors quickly to your visitors – so make sure your site loads fast! Or how would you feel if you ring the bell at a house and they open the door slooooowly?
2. Don’t be overwhelming!
Some blogs/ web sites offer a bit too much, too early. They play music, flash ads, provide pop up and pop down windows, you name it, they have it. And they show it to their guests immediately. Remember the door that opens too slowly? These are the kind of things that cause your blog site to load slowly. And not everybody likes to get showered with music as soon as they are through the door. Imagine you would have a multi-media room in the entrance of your house and as soon as a guest comes through the door you start to play every CD, DVD, video, audio, slide show you have for them. That is what a multi-media room is for! Create one on your blog and keep your main entrance slick and slim. Oh, no need to set anything on “auto play”, let your guests decide what they want to see or listen to, and when.
3. Keep your house clean!
I can’t tell you how often I found a blog that seemed at first site great and interesting, only to find later out that a lot of links were not working and the comments were full of spam and/ or foul language. Check your blog regularly for working links and clean out spam/ foul language in comments. A bit of house keeping now and than helps a lot. Check also your widgets if they are still necessary/ work as they are supposed to. With every widget, ask yourself “does it really improve my blog?”, “does it provide a benefit for my guests?” and “does it provide a benefit for myself and/ or my blog?”.
4. Feed your guests!
Update your blog regularly, give your readers “food for thought” by adding new content regularly. Make your blog interesting to explore by adding regularly something new. Give them freebies, answer to comments, write about what they are searching for on your blog, in one word be “hospitable”.
5. Have a guest book!
My guest book is the entrecard widget where visitors can drop their card and my comments which are open, also if they are moderated (see Point 3.) Giving your guests a simple possibility to indicate that they were visiting and/ or enabling them to interact with you and other visitors shows that you are actually valuing their visit and not think of them as “traffic=cattle”.
6. Invite them back!
Make it easy for your visitors to come back and to find your house again. If you travel a lot around the blogosphere than you know that it is not so easy to find all the nice please again. Give your guests ample possibilities to mark your house on the map. You can use a favicon (for easy book marking), offer different subscriptions to your blog, let then subscribe to follow up comments by email after leaving a comment on a post, add a contact form, install a guest book, … There are lot of possibilities, just be creative and choose what works best for you and your blog!
So, that is all for today, take care of your guests and see you soon 😉
PS You ask what a not quality visitor is? Very easy the one that hasn’t –yet- become a guest!
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