Weather Strip You Website to Keep Traffic InBy: Heather Reimer
Every year, just before winter sets in, smart homeowners put weather stripping around their doors and windows to prevent all the valuable heat from leaking out.
Likewise, as a smart business owner, you should weather strip your website to keep all the valuable traffic from escaping.
As you know, visitors aren’t easy or cheap to attract to your site in the first place. Convincing them to come back more often and stay longer has been dubbed the science of stickiness.
If you have a sneaking suspicion that your site isn’t as airtight as it should be, here are a few culprits that could be stealing your stick.
Navigation. Would you send your family on a long road trip through a foreign land without a map? Then make sure your family of visitors, who are wandering the strange terrain of your website, can find their way around. Otherwise they will get lost in the desert and never arrive at their ultimate destination: your order page.
When Media Metrix did its survey of the world’s stickiest sites, Yahoo, AOL and Geocities came out on top. Why? One reason is their simple, clear organization.
Good navigation is the kindest gift you can give your visitors. Wrap a big red bow around that gift by making every page reachable within 3 clicks.
Content. Lots of good meaningful content or constantly-refreshed content. If your company isn’t big enough to support thousands of pages then at least be sure to replace old content often. I mean REALLY often. If it’s quality stuff, your guests will hang around your site like lumberjacks at a breakfast buffet.
Make what’s yours, theirs. MyYahoo and My AltaVista are perfect examples. These are home pages that can be customized to reflect users’ special interests. Once your visitors have designed their home page to suit their tastes, they are far more likely to return to it than start from scratch elsewhere.
Give your visitors a place in your site where they can put up their feet and feel at home. Voila, stick.
Keep ‘em busy. Offer a chat room, bulletin board, free e-mail, activities… anything that brings your family of users together in a common activity.
The top portals and directories recently discovered how adding free games can keep visitors around for hours at a time. Now everybody’s jumping on that bandwagon.
Creating a community of common interest through an interactive feature keeps folks coming back time and time again to check on their cyber pals.
One last thing. Your site can be as sticky as a honey-dipped tar baby, it doesn’t mean a thing if those loiterers aren’t converting into loyal customers. How to create that loyalty and turn your browsers into buyers is a subject for another day.
But for now, if you weather strip your website, you’ll be better equipped to keep all those clients nice and cozy once they’re safely inside your front door.
© Copyright 2000, Heather Reimer
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