Attracting Repeat Visitors

The effectiveness of a business website, like most advertising, increases with exposure. Here’s how to make your website “sticky,” and get visitors to return.

Content is king on the web.

Prospects and Robots.
To make a website productive, we need to encourage two very different kinds of visitors, prospects and robots. Prospects are potential clients. Robots (or spiders) are the electronic visitors sent by search engines to index a website. Different as they may seem, prospects and robots favor the same websites.

Gimmicks Fall Short.
Neither “gets stuck” on websites that curry favor with sights, sounds, games, puzzles, or cartoons. The robots are deaf, and blind to graphics — they only see text. They perceive gimmicky features as irrelevant and difficult, if not impossible, to index. Prospects, on the other hand, may come back for a second helping, but soon look elsewhere when the novelty wears thin.

Content is King.
Visitors of both types return repeatedly to websites packed with nutritious content. The medium may be the message elsewhere, but on the web, content is king. Prospects bookmark, recommend, and hyperlink to websites that educate and inform. Robots give points for lots of facts, for lots of links from other websites, and for frequent updates. Both return over and over again to content-rich websites to see what’s new.

Changing Content is Best.
Informative but static content, such as recommended reading and related weblinks, score well with prospects and robots alike, but don’t encourage repeat visits. What works are informative pages that change periodically, such as articles, blogs, newsletters, calendars of events, and forums.

Articles, Blogs, Newsletters.
Articles, blogs and newsletters educate prospects, exposing them to your viewpoint. Changing them often keeps prospects and robots coming back. And all permit a prospect to subscribe and be notified of changes by email or RSS. In vaudeville, that was called a hook!

Calendars And Forums.
The downside of newsletters, blogs and the like is the time it takes to create them. Calendars and forums take less time, but still set the subscription hook. For a busy businessman with an active schedule of seminars, talks and other appearances, a calendar is an ideal tool both for marketing and for website promotion. Any business can benefit from a moderated message board forum. Prospects enjoy the personalized Q&A; robots get busy indexing the pertinent content.

How To Succeed In Business…
It’s a high-tech world, but pop-ups and pop-unders, Flash introductions and Shockwave dioramas are not the key success. Surprise! The key is good gray content, periodically refreshed. Think low-dazzle, high information!

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