How to increase return visits to your website

If you are the owner of a website and you publish content such as blog posts and news articles on a regular basis, you are most definitely on the right track. Creating good quality and relevant content is a very important step in owning a good website.

Obviously we don't write the content for ourselves... We would like interested parties to read the content we create. We would also like to share this with as many groups or individuals who would be interested and find value in what we have to share. I have seen many websites in my time and have used many on a regular basis in my daily life. I have also built quite a few or have been involved in the development of many sites at some level and have noticed a few interesting things, some of which I want to share with you today.

The importance of fresh content

Several times I have had the opportunity to work with companies who have the same type of businesses, or individuals who share the same skills like musicians for example. Both started off with very similar platforms and tools, but as time passed, and having engaged with these individuals again, I noticed that one party did significantly better than the other. This intrigued me and I would pay their sites a visit to scrutinize their website and try to find a pattern and figure out why some people have more successful sites than others.

Obviously things like a good product or skill plays a major role but I noticed that the business who did the best, posted fresh content on a regular basis. When you visit the site you could see that things still happen and have not stagnated. You are informed when contact details have changed, what the company or individual is busy with at the moment, if there are new events, products or services on the horizon and also topics about reaching out to people through charity.

These sites were engaging because it had well written, good quality content and thus gave me a reason to visit the site again in the future. Contrast this with a site that consistently looks the same and is nothing more than an online brochure or mere static Web presence. There was absolutely no reason for me to visit the site again anytime soon. There was also nothing of interest worth sharing with other people.

Case study

To give an example, I spend a lot of my free time on electronics projects and this means I have to purchase components on a relatively regular basis. I prefer to do this on the Web through the use of an online shop.

The one site I visit has almost no new content at all and the site is virtually never updated, but they usually have some of the components I need at a good price. At the second site I am subscribed to their Twitter and Google+ profiles because there is always new, useful and good quality content made available. They have weekly articles about new products, a whole section on learning electronics; educating and teaching their customers how to effectively use their products. You are informed about trade shows where they will be exhibiting and robotics contests they are entering. You feel like you know the staff who work there and you can identify with the company. Also the site has an amazing community and the website provides a platform to facilitate communication between their customers. I regularly discuss this company with my friends and find myself repeatedly sharing their content online. There is a good reason for me to go back and visit again. They provide me with significantly more than merely selling me a product.

Your visitor's perception of you

As you can see the first website I mentioned didn't provide me with updates about new products, I barely know the staff, they don't educate me on how to use their products and there is no online community. My perception of this company is that they don't really value me as a customer, that they don't have a vested interest in their own company or their industry and are only concerned with the money on my credit card. There is no real added value to my experience with them. This perception could of course be totally false but it did not manifest by viewing their website.

With the second website I have a very positive feeling. I sensed that I am important to them as a customer, that they are hard working and will go the extra mile for me. They provide me with alot more value. I get the perception that their company is important to them and that they are genuinely interested and excited about the industry they are working in.

Ask yourself how would you like your customers to perceive you or your company. Are you putting in that little extra effort that sets you apart from your competitors?

Think about it this way: Could your website and lack of regular good quality content be damaging you or your brand and impacting you negatively?

My 2 cents...

Always have a clean and organised website just as in real life you would not bring customers into a disorganised, dirty shop or office. This should not be your customer’s first perception of your website.

Post good quality content, don't just post one liners on your site. Go, sit down and think about what you want to say to your clients or visitors about your site, also try to communicate your message clearly. Make sure you spell check your content and that your message is sensible.

It is important to post content on a regular basis to inform your users about new products, events and happenings, share your success stories. Maybe even share some content about employees that make you proud.

Share this content via newsletters, RSS feeds and social media. Don't wait for customers to share your content for you, you will have more success being proactive. 

Remember people spend more time on social media than actually browsing the Internet so provide an easy way for them to be able to keep up to date.

Engage with your users, answer any questions they have on social media, ask their opinions on your services and products and allow them to make suggestions and figure out what their needs are.

In conclusion

I hope that I have provided you with a few insights that I could share. Please feel free to leave any feedback or suggestions or your thoughts about this post on one of our social media sites. And let me know of any advice or observations you might have.

Till next time.

Julian Labuschagne