Will it stick?

Have you ever seen a site or blog that always seems to get tons of readers and traffic? Everything they touch turns to gold, doesn’t it? Did you ever wonder if they’ve SEO’d or not?

Well, in the industry, it’s easy to see if someone’s been optimizing and how much they actually know vs. guessing. Usually, the answer is yes, they’ve optimized. However, the real question comes down to, how did they build up that traffic base? For most, it’s called “creating a sticky site”. People like the site, they like the info, and they want to pass it around.

Do you want a sticky site? You have to start with the content. If you’re writing SEO content it’s more than just pushing specific keywords into your sentence; it’s about knowing your audience, listening to them and making adjustments as you move forward. Traffic is ultimately the Holy Grail of Truth and there are three ways to get it: you pay for it, you optimize for it or your site is as old as the hills.

Paying for traffic is never “the best solution”, no matter what the landing page tells you. You aren’t getting the traffic you need i.e. the converting, interested kind. As well, you can’t do anything about the age of your site. Assuming that you decide to optimize for it, here are some tips to get you started.

Remember, having a website or blog is not just about SEO; it’s the whole experience. Whether you’re selling a service or product, you have to bring all the elements together:

• Fast loading site
• No meaningless splash page
• No annoying web gimmicks
• A clear message
• A coordinated site/blog design (i.e no wild colors “just ‘cause”)
• Easy navigation

Now, as a global consultant, SEO copywriter and marketing aficionado, I have to say that any SEO should be built in during the creative process. This doesn’t mean after you’ve designed the site, but while you’re constructing the site; building the principals of organic search into the design will ultimately give you a better architecture and foundation.

Let’s bring the rest of the elements together:

• Relevant topics (and thus, relevant keywords)
• Informative, interesting, entertaining content
• Worthwhile links (vs. link farms and crap links)
• Actionable content on the site (are you telling them what to do next?)

In short, a sticky site is a site that people enjoy visiting. Take, for example, The Onion. You just might have heard of it. The Onion has an Alexa traffic ranking of 2,234 worldwide. Out of all the websites in the world, it ranks 2,234. Why? Because people enjoy reading the articles on the site.

Now, we can’t all be The Onion. They found a niche, filled it, and filled it well. It’s smart, sarcastic, witty and sometimes downright rude. If you can’t handle this type of news, don’t follow the link; it’s your choice. However, we can take lessons in site stickiness.

As you go about trying to create a sticky site, remember The Onion; it’s an eye-opening lesson on engaging the masses. You can use any tone you want, as long as it’s the right tone to reach out to your readers and pull them back.

As well, you have to have the type of design that speaks about your company and gives visitors an initial, positive reaction. People will often forgive after a positive first impression, but hardly ever forgive a negative first impression.

Having a sticky site isn’t just about SEO; it’s about the people that visit. Take a chance, whether you run an online business or are just blogging for fun, to really reach out. Stretch the boundaries a little – heck, stretch them a lot!