The Idea Dude

CONNECTING THE DOTS ONE AT A TIME

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Give me one reason to stay here...

"..and I'll turn right back around, because I don't want to leave you lonely but you got to make me change my mind" so goes the Tracy Chapman song.

There's a TV show called Restaurant Makeover in which a top designer and a top chef help an ailing restaurant by revamping both the decor and the menu in 6 days. In last night's episode, it was an establishment that began its life as a bar, was briefly successful and then lost its clientele. Twice. The owners lamented that their patrons were fickle, moving on when the novelty of the new bar wore off. They changed the name, and the same thing happened all over again. They then realized they needed a restaurant, or more precisely, good food that made people come back on a regular basis. So what was the 'aha' moment? They needed to give people a reason to return.

Made me think about blog stickiness... There are two ways to measure blog stickiness. Firstly, the ratio of the number of people who return to your blog regularly to the total number of visitors and secondly, the ratio of subscribers to your feed to your daily total of visitors. The first number is harder to figure out because you have to track visitors over a period of time say 1-2 weeks. The second number is easier to come by if you have a service like Sitemeter or TheGoodBlogs and a feed service like Feedburner. What do these numbers tell me? it tells me whether your traffic is seasonal or fickle or whether you have a real network going with engaged readers.

The stickiest blogs have very high feed to total visitor ratios. At TheGoodBlogs, we've seen some with 3 times more feed subscribers than actual visitors. The bloggers are active networkers who constantly look to discover new blogs (and hence new bloggers), comment on other blogs frequently and link without looking for reciprocation. They also look for ways to generate posts that start conversations either asking questions, moderating carnivals or asking for help and/or opinion. Being immersed in blogs 24/7 sort of makes us amateur sociologists. We actually read many of the blogs who are part of our network (although it is becoming increasing difficult due to the sheer number).

What keeps readers coming back isn't intellectual stimulus (for the most part), it is far more vague and emotional. They come back because they chose to create an emotional bond to your blog and your blog persona. Think about why you continue to visit your favorite bookstore, coffee shop or restaurant even when there may be better alternatives. It's probably someone who created an extraordinary user experience whether it was chef who greeted you personally, a fantastic date or just that same friendly face serving your coffee the way you like it without even having to ask. A blog is no different, a reader will leave an emotional piece behind either because you were funny, controversial, love or hate the same things/governments/people or describe a situation or hardship that strikes a familiar cord. It is the idiosyncracies and stuff that makes us scream with anger or laughter that begs us to come back for more.

Newspapers who believe going online will save their futures are naive because their own ethics to be neutral, truthful and balanced means that there is little to choose between them and the next online offering. With all things being relatively equal, loyalty is not a commodity newspapers know how to exploit well because their modus operandi has never been to build relationships one at a time.

So what's your reason for staying???

8 Comments:

Blogger ginger said...

an emotional bond, huh? There might be some truth in that.. Good food for thought. :)

2:42 PM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Thanks for stopping by. Ginger.

6:36 PM  
Blogger jon be me said...

Again, the "dudes" are right on...so visit my rightorrong site and "get emotional"!!
:)

12:51 PM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Hi Jon

As you say...

But YOU and your BEST FRIEND are welcome @ my water bowl anytime…..

You have some pretty wise words on your blog.

Thanks for stopping by.
Vern

1:11 PM  
Blogger FLOOG said...

Very insightful post. Very useful, many thanks

7:47 AM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Appreciate you stopping by and adding to the conversation.

Vern

5:51 PM  
Blogger Chris Lindsay said...

awesome

12:18 PM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Thank you Chris.

8:49 AM  

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