A Dynamic Frequent Destination

For most web managers, their primary objective is to attract visitors to their site. Whether you sell widgets, financial services or an interactive experience, it is only through attracting traffic that most sites can achieve their objective. Getting that first time visitor to your site requires a significant amount of effort that has, and will again be a topic of this newsletter.

Once your visitor has viewed your site and left, what then? Will they return? After spending so much effort to attract the visitor in the first place, why would you simply wish Bon Voyage and hope to just get another pair of eyeballs? The fact is, whether a visitor buys into your offerings or
not, they are probably highly qualified. Or in other words, a visitor in the site is worth two in the search engine (or more probably 200,000).

The best sources for traffic to your site are the visitors that have already been to it. This is true even if the visitor decided to buy from a competitor. You know that your visitors have an interest in the type of product or service that you are providing otherwise they would not have come in the first place. It should be a primary objective of any web site promoter to give a visitor a reason to return.

For some web sites this may seem natural. If you sell wine by the case you can assume that your visitor will eventually consume it and return. If you sell on-line trading you can hope that your visitor will return frequently. If you sell cars, houses or dream vacations, you may assume that once
purchased your visitor may not have any reason to return for quite awhile.

Whether your site provides a once in a long while purchase or a consumable replaced on a daily basis, your visitor should be given every reason to want to come back often. Why? First a frequent visitor is more likely to become a customer even if they have no immediate need for your product
or service. Second, they can recommend your site through word of mouth, the best form of promotion you can have. Third, a qualified visitor is a commodity that you can use. At some
point you may wish to supplement your revenue with some form of advertising. In order to do this you will need a high traffic site, preferably one with qualified visitors.

Let's use an on-line wine merchant as an example (something I have never actually tried). I would assume that a site that sells wine would hope to generate repeat customers at best, once a month but more probably once or twice a year. If that customer is anything like me, they will probably do
some comparison-shopping by trying several other online merchants. If the customer is anything like me, they will also be likely to misplace your URL or forget which site offered better service and pricing. If another site was offering a special just when they visited, at some point they may discover that they can only find the URL of your competitor and stick with them.

If all else were equal, you could hope to get as many customers from you competitors in this way as you loose. But all else is not equal. Your competitors are going to try to get your customers as well as keep theirs. If you have an all else is equal' attitude you will soon be the low man on the totem pole. This is important even if your site provides a service or product that requires frequent visits. It only takes a few mouse clicks for your customer to find a competitor's site. Regardless of what they are offered, do they have any compelling reason to return to your site?  

It is unrealistic to expect that you can do anything to prevent your customers and visitors from looking around. What you can do is give your visitors as many reasons to return as possible. This means finding other ways to make your site a destination even if your visitor is not at the
time, a potential customer.

How do you make your site a frequent destination? By incorporating relevant dynamic content. Far too many sites tend to become stale. That is, the same content is left for weeks, months or even years without modification. It is very tempting to believe that once you have designed and posted your site you are finished. In fact it is just the beginning. You will now have to do everything you can to convince your visitors to return on a frequent basis.

The first thing to do is to ask your visitor to bookmark your page. "Please Press Ctrl-D to bookmark this site. We frequently update with new and useful content."

Next week I shall discuss some of the content that you can add to make your web site a dynamic frequent destination for those visitors you have tried so hard to get.

"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
© Copyright 2001 Virtual Mechanics

"IMS Web Tips" is a weekly news letter for all web site managers regardless of experience who are looking for detailed information on creating, maintaining and promoting their web sites.

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