7 Ideas To Keeep Visitors On Your Site
Everyone talks about getting traffic to your site. But you can get loads of traffic by just buying it from traffic exchange sites. Is it going to be any good? Nope. The traffic that matters are the users who not just visit your site, but remain there and get interested into what you have to offer.
In this hub I am going to give you 7 great ideas how to keep the visitors on your site and make them return back. And that isn't going to be some old stuff from 2002 - here are latest fresh Web 2.0 tactics to do this. So just keep reading.
Integrate the login
Use OpenID, Facebook Connect, FriendFeed or some other protocol to allow users log in with an existing account. This way you reduce the risk of users forgetting their account for your site and leaving it. In the current attention deficit economy many users simply don't bother to go to "forgotten password" unless they are already hard fans of your site. So by integrating your member login with some of these popular options you reduce the risk of losing these users.
If you don't have members-only area and members login but your site still includes some interaction with users (like comments - something that every modern site should do), think about implementing Gravatars like in the Wordpress blogs - this helps the users feel at home.
In general, do whatever possible to make your site more integrated with the rest of the Web and your visitors will stay more and come back.
Communicate with your users
There is no modern web site that doesn't communicate with the users. A comment system is a must - for example you can use IntenseDebate or build your own. You can also consider adding a shoutbox with some php chat script - they are very modern and get users quickly to know each other.
Although forums have been around for years, they are still pretty much actual. Have in mind however that forums are hard to get off the ground at the beginning - you may need few friends to help you posting or you will need to fake few usernames and get at least 100 of posts in short period of time. No one wants to post in an empty forum so you are the one who will need to do it.
Ratings and Reviews
When you let people rate your articles or review your products you are not only creating a community. You are telling your visitors "we care about your opinion and we want to hear it". People are more likely to return to such site again and again. They are also more likely to send it to a friend just to he or she can see their review.
Do make sure that your site lets user review and rate. Use some cool looking flashy ajax-based tools for that and don't force them to get registered for posting a rating. Let them input their website URL along with the review - you may have to deal with some spammers, but the general result will be positive - more participation and more returning visitors.
Twitter, Facebook, Myspace
Create a Twitter account associated with your site. Make sure to tweet all news and recent articles on it, but not only. Tweet about other related (and of course interesting) news so your Twitter account is really worth following. Use some of the widgets that Twitter offers to show your latest tweets on the site. This way the Twitter account and the site will cross-promote each other.
Create also Facebook and/or Myspace account/page for your business and again cross promote.
These things not only bring more traffic - they help you establish much deeper connection with your visitors and turn them into friends.
Take good pictures and create a Flickr account associated with your site. Let people freely download and use the images from your account under the Creative Commons license. This will bring incoming links to your Flickr profile and from there to your site which has a good SEO effect. But what's more important is that your readers can find you again via Flickr or other sites who use your photos even if they have forgotten to return to your site.
Similarly, make good videos on the topics of your site and post them on YouTube. It's an excellent promotional tool and is also good for your current visitors who can get more from you and interact with you on YouTube. The more channels for connection you offer, the better.
Allow User Blogs
If your site has a members database, implement a feature that lets people blog about anything related to the topics on the site. People like to write and like to show others what they have written. They will return to their blogs, will send them to friends and will be proud of them. And if their blogs are hosted on the same domain like your main site - for example as subdomains or subfolders - you will get more and more incoming links, traffic and fans.
Pick some good blog posts and publish them on the main site, create incentives, award best post and send those guys some gifts.
Let Them Customize The Site
You can achieve this with user registration or even with cookies (although I don't recommend cookies - people will get upset when their customizations are lost when cookie expires).
What can you let people customize? For example colors, positions of panels, menus, email preferences... just anything. A good Web 2.0 site can even let members create custom filters which to help them easier find news and content or filter content that doesn't interest them. Just see any big portal like iGoogle.com and you'll get tons of ideas.
By allowing people customize the site you are letting them feel at home and keep coming back. Wonderful, isn't it?