By Deepak Dutta (c) 2007
Do you know that most visitors leave a website within 10 seconds of landing on the home page? And they may nevër return to the same site. To keep your website visitors stay longer, you need to engage them. Follow these 10 simple rules to build a set of core loyal visitors who will return to your site frequently.
1. If you have a brick-and-mortar business and you want an online presence, don't just hand over your printed brochure to the web developer for your site's content.
2. Get good text, picture, and video content related to your products or services and organize them into categories for your website publication. How do you get content? You can ask your kids to write content for you. Today's kids are information savvy and know how to do research on right topics. They can help take pictures and videos of your products and provide narrations. If you cannot leverage your kids talents and you don't have time to develop content, buy them from online sources, like distributors of private label rights to articles and stöck photographs. You need a small content set to launch your web site.
3. Ask your developer for some sample websites he has developed in the past and review them. If you find clutter, music, unprofessional graphics, etc. in those sites, run away from the developer. Tell your web developer to use basic search engine optimization techniques for your web site. Use a developer who uses content management systems (CMS) to develop websites. You or your kids and spouse will be able to maintain and add content regularly to a CMS without much effort.
4. You must have an About US page in your website that explains the expertise of your company and your unique selling proposition. Also, you should provide a telephone number and an e-mail address for contact.
5. Publish a weekly tips section in your website. If you are in a business for a long time, you have a wealth of knowledge about your business, market, and technologies related to your business. Make it a habit of jotting down one tip every day. You will have plenty of tips for your weekly publication.
6. Don't use guest books, testimonials etc. These are so Web 1.0 concepts. Use a forum. Let your customers interact among themselves. Develop a value network. You get into the insights of your customers' minds by reading their posts and your visitors know your products and services by talking to each other. As a result, you will be able to provide improved products and services and ask for a premium price.
7. Promptly answer all your visitors' e-mail. This is one thing you should nevër delay. Use your visitors comments, e-mail, and other form of communications to generate ideas for new articles and tips.
8. Tell your web developer to include an RSS feed on your site and publish filtered news related to the market you serve and emerging technologies in that market. Don't use a weather report. Nobody comes to your site to chëck the weather.
9. Publish a frequently asked questíons page related to your products and services. It helps save your visitors' time and effort when they are looking for information on a particular topic related to your website.
10. Did you know that the average person must be exposed to an offër around seven times before they will make a purchase? Make your website an advertising platform for your most popular items. Advertise them throughout your site but don't use any 'in-your face advertising' techniques. You can use side bars for this type of advertising with interesting anecdotes, pictures, etc. Be creative and use your imagination.
Your website is your publishing medium. It is not your online catalog. You want repeat visitors who spend their time at your site for valuable information. The possibility of visitors turning into a paying customers improves when they stick around your site longer.
About The Author
Dr. Deepak Dutta is the creator of SemanticBay.com - an interactive social network website based on user shared text and picture contents on any topics. His other website ClassifiedsForFree.com - is one of the oldest online classifieds sites.