Whatever the purpose of your website, it’s a given that you want people to see it. Not only do you want them to visit it once, you want them to like it enough to keep on coming back. If your website is a sales portal, that is the way you’ll convert visits into sales- by bringing those casual viewers back time after time. And if your website is a promotional tool, or a product in itself, you’ll equally want repeat visitors if your site is to achieve its purpose. So how can this be done?
Search engine optimization
There is much said and written about search engine optimization (SEO), which is basically the implementation of a content strategy to make sure your website appears in the initial results of search engines, the most popular of which is, of course, Google.
This is certainly something you should be aware of when trying to attract visitors for the first time. But in terms of bringing them back it’s not keywords that matter so much as useful, interesting or entertaining content. SEO is useful in terms of letting people know that you exist – but to get them on board you need to go a step further.
Create great, unique content
Google change the algorithms that determine which sites rank highly in a search all the time, essentially trying to weed out those that try to use keywords as a short cut rather than actually offering high quality content. So rather than trying to stay one step ahead of Google, why not write for people rather than search engines?
Content should serve a purpose; it should solve a problem, answer a question or give people something they can’t find elsewhere. It should also be informative, educational or entertaining. Create content that is relevant to your site but has value in itself- something that people will want to read for its own sake, rather than being just a sales pitch.
Give people what they want
Ask yourself why people should visit your site in the first place, and then what will make those people want to come back? The lottery number picker website’s primary purpose is as a lottery number generator, but it also has a results page where people can find out the lottery results. So the people who will visit to get a potentially winning combination of numbers will keep coming back to find out whether they have actually won.
Build a community
There are literally hundreds of millions of websites out there, so what can a new website do to compete in such a massive market? As well as having a unique selling point (USP) the other answer is to build a community around your site. Initially you can do this by promoting your site in innovative ways on social media.
Another great idea is to write guest posts on more established sites that reach a similar target audience to your own. Then invite their contributors to post on your site in return. The result should be a cross-fertilization of traffic that will benefit both parties.
User friendly design
First impressions count, and if your site is clunky, ugly or difficult to navigate then visitors won’t come back, no matter how compelling the content. Your landing page should be clean, uncluttered and fast loading. Text posts should be broken up into short paragraphs with subheadings and strong images.
Speaking of images and photos; they are an essential part of any website’s appeal, so spend some time making them strong and appealing. Use original images rather than stock ones where possible, and make sure they’re optimized for your website. High resolution photos are unnecessary and will just slow your loading time, which is the ultimate sin with any website.
Analyze your stats
Use analytical tools to examine your statistics. Which posts and pages attract the most visitors? How long do they stay and what brings them back? Use this information to create more posts that give your visitors what they’re looking for and will keep them returning.
In conclusion, it’s important to work out what your website is for in terms of the expectations of your visitors. Why should they visit you? Once you’ve answered that question, it’s a question of regularly updating your content and letting them know about it. Use social media, email and text marketing to let your audience know about new posts- but don’t spam, as this will just cause them to unsubscribe from your mailing list. But by creating content for your readers rather than for search engines you’ll build a community around your site that will keep coming back, time after time.