Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Sticky Sites Rule the Internet

… is the "thought provoking" title of this week's featured article in SiteProNews. I’ve subscribed to this excellent ezine for several years now and still find it a good source of information, definitely one of the few I actually read.

But occasionally the featured article is ezine fluff, rather than substance. This week’s is about “stickiness”, a concept I thought had been dealt with adequately when years ago Shawn Casey in Mining Gold showed that stickiness wasn’t needed and could indeed be detrimental as a bandwidth guzzler that doesn’t do much for conversion.

Bonnie Jo Davis is a self-proclaimed Virtual Assistant, writer and article submission expert. In this article she certainly practices what she preaches, it’s kind of a… sticky article.

The Central tenet of her yarn is that content is the answer for all you traffic-challenged sites out there. A truer word hasn’t been written, so that’s not where the article goes off the rails.

But Bonnie stretches the content concept (and creates a sticky article!) by identifying some 14 different types of content that will ensure your visitors will stay longer and will return more frequently. I agree with quite a few of her proposed methods, so to me it’s a shame she includes some that are simply (quite literally) risible. So I’ll simply comment on what I feel works and what to avoid.

Articles – agree! The easy way to add interesting content and attract visitors and spiders alike.

Quotes – personally, there isn’t much I loath more than cheesy sayings and “motivational quotes”. Might work for some, but be prepared to make some visitors run for the hills! Not everyone likes kitch.

Puzzles - People love games and puzzles. (???) Sure they do but I thought you wanted paying customers, not playing children. Seriously, this is traffic generation without a purpose.

Forums – Agree. If it’s for you. A support forum is a great USP. And it can certainly attract targeted visitors. But to make it work you’ll need traffic first.

Feedback/Guestbook – Guestbooks? More or less a thing of the past due to serious abuse. Go for a forum instead.

Reviews – agree. Unbiased reviews attract attention. People like to read a review before buying.
Case Studies/Success Stories – OK, Bonnie, you’ve already made that point.

Jokes[flabbergasted, speechless]. Again, what do you want, paying customers or the chuckle brothers? Want a joke? You can find specialist joke sites by the ton, no need to supply jokes from your site though.

Newsfeeds – agree, but only if it suits your site.

Resource Directories – no one uses resource directories any more, that’s what Search Engines are for.

Newsletter & Archives – Newsletters are fine if you can get, maintain and grow the readership. If not they’re a resource gobbler.

Blogs – needless to say: an all thumbs up.

Job Listings – Turning your site into a makeshift jobcentre will not do much for your sales, it’s traffic you simply don’t need.

Testimonials – Bonnie, we got the picture long ago.

Bottomline? In the quest for traffic it’s often forgotten that only targeted traffic is of value. In Search Engine marketing less often means more… It's about sales, not clicks.

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