What can you do when you’ve worked hard on your website, but no one sticks around to actually read your content? How can you make it more “sticky” so that visitors stay on your website long enough to find out more about what you have to offer?

Keep reading for 5 tips that will show you how to keep your visitors from hitting the back button and keep them coming back for more. I also created a free Sticky Site Cheatsheet that you can download for recommendations, free tools and action steps that will help you get these tips implemented on your own site.

Know your target audience

The most critical step in creating a sticky website is to know who you’re talking to. The goal is to get into the head of your ideal client and figure out what turns them off as well as what appeals to them. Your branding and photography should be inline with your ideal clients’ vision of what they’re ultimately working towards (and would hopefully achieve thanks to working with you.) But you also want to inspire, rather than intimidate. For example, if you’re a health coach who specializes in post-pregnancy weight loss, you may want to avoid using too many images of “perfect” bikini bodies on your site.

Also consider the tone you’re writing in. Would your ideal client want you to talk to her in a purely professional manner, or would she prefer a tone that’s more relaxed and conversational? Whatever the answer, make sure that tone is reflected throughout your writing.

Make a good first impression

Most visitors decide in 15 seconds whether or not they’re going to stay on a site. So you’ve got to show them quickly that they’re in the right place and that you can help them. You might think that means cramming as much information as you can into your visitors’ immediate view, but try to resist that urge. Avoid clutter as much as possible and go instead for simplicity and clarity. Use a site headline that quickly communicates your site’s purpose, and clear messaging that let’s your audience know right away how you can help them.

You’ll also want to make sure to choose a theme that looks professional and has good typography that’s easy to read. Something else to avoid is using text that’s too small or too light, and putting text on top of busy backgrounds.

Improve Your Site Speed

Don’t put your visitors through the torture of having to wait a long time for your site to load. People are busy and if they can’t get what they’re looking for quickly, they’ll leave.

Utilize site caching and make sure you’re optimizing your images (getting the file size as small possible without sacrificing too much quality) before adding them to your site. You may also want to use a content delivery network or “CDN” to speed up your image load times even more.

If you’re site still seems kind of sluggish, could it be your hosting? Try to use a host that makes speed a priority by offering easy integrations with a CDN and site caching.

(Be sure to download my Sticky Site Cheatsheet for hosting and theme provider recommendations, action steps, free tools and more!)

Guide your audience

This is a step that is so simple in theory that most people completely overlook it. Tell your visitors exactly what you want them to do. Now don’t get spammy and turn your site into a billboard of “click here” buttons (remember clarity over clutter), but do make sure you have a clear call to action on each page of your site, and at the end of every blog post.

Link to your own content

Presenting your readers with additional, related content that might interest them is a powerful way to keep them clicking and sticking around your site longer. This habit will also boost your site’s SEO, as long as you’re keeping everything in context and not keyword stuffing your articles with SEO phrases. So make sure to include plenty of internal links to your own content throughout your site. You can also include a “Related Posts” or “You might also like…” section after each blog post.

(On a different, yet related note, if you’re linking to content that’s not on your site, make sure that you’ve set those links to open in a new window. This goes for links to your social media profiles too.)

Get all 5 of these tips implemented on your own site with my free Sticky Site Cheatsheet. Click here to download.

So what do you think? Have you used these techniques to boost your site interactions and lower your bounce rate? What’s worked for you and what hasn’t? Let me know in the comments below.