Posted on February 24, 2012 by Jennifer Pointer

As a local business, your readers are most likely to find your website when they Google you to get directions, find out more about the products and services you offer, and see if you have any "specials," that would apply to what they're needing that day.


If they manage to do this (preferably on their mobile devices), you're doing a good job with "SEO," which is "search engine optimization." Now, what you want to work on is reader retention - getting those readers to keep coming back.


They will keep coming back if you give them a reason to add you to their feeds, either in a feed reader or on one of the social networks like Facebook or Twitter (note that if you post your entire articles to the feeds, it is likely your readers will seldom actually click through to your blog, so you'll want to pay attention to the stats for those feeds and include them in your reader retention numbers).


With all of the other websites out there, what makes people want to include YOUR blog or website in their daily reads? Simply put, you need to pack your website with something of value to that reader.  Here are some common features that will make readers think, "Oh, I want to make sure I get the updates on this site!"


1) Humor.  Think of the site "ICanHasCheezburger."  According to conventional means, this isn't even a "good" website.  It has a stupid, hard to type name and URL. The design actually doesn't even have a design.  The content is a mess - mostly user generated.  But they're one of the most popular websites out there.  I visit the site a couple of times a day. Why? There's always something there that makes me laugh.  It's good clean fun (safe for work, in case you get caught surfing at the office), and there's something for everyone.


2) Shareable content. If you provide content that is "quote worthy," relevant to your industry, in a timely fashion, it's likely you'll attract the attention of other bloggers who are blogging about your topic.  They'll add you to their feeds just to keep "tabs" on what you're wriitng about.


3) Freebies. This doesn't mean that you have to provide the products or services that you normally sell of profit for free. That's usually not a good idea.  But you might be able to provide inustry-related information, links to great deals online, or some other product or service of interest to your target demographic.  For example, a day spa might provide daily bits of wisdom on stress relief or maintaining healthy skin and hair.


4) Dicounts.  If you normally offer discount specials in your other advertising efforts (such as the phone book, newspaper, radio advertisements, etc.) be sure to include them on your website as posts that will show up in your feeds.  This will give people a good reason to click through to your site to check out and hopefully use the product or service you're advertising.


5) Event Calendar.  A community event calendar can be a great way to establish yourself in your local market niche, and network with other professionals in your industry (they won't want to be left off of your calendar).  Performing artists often include calendars of their own performance dates on their websites for easy access, as well.  If you use a calendar, be sure to put the updates in the form of a blog post or article that will show up in your feeds.


What other ideas do you have for packing your website with value for your readers?

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