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Repeat Traffic and Site StickynessImagine the visitors to your site as water flowing into a bath. They may come in a trickle or a raging torrent but unless you have a good plug they will not accumulate but drain away to nothing. A repeat visitor is generally more valuable than a first time visitor-they know and trust your site better and so are more likely to use your services and spread the word about you.
ContentIdeally your content should be exclusive-they can't get it anywhere else so they will come to you.
It should be good value- As useful and cheap as possible.
There should be so much content that an interested visitor would have to come back many times to read it all. Why not have so much valuable content that even if they have read it all they will have to come back now and again to refresh their memory. Naturally this vast content must be structured correctly so as not to overwelm the visitor. Keep your website focussed but have suplimentary material a couple of clicks away.
It should be convenient and hassle free. I advise steering clear of popups. Spend some time analyzing your site's Navigation. It should be obvious and consistant.
Fresh ContentThere should be fresh content every day so that visitors want to come back. This will entail some effort on your part such as continually writing articles and adding features.
News tickers and random joke or quote generators also provide fresh content. They are usually pretty simple to set up and uptate themselves automatically.
Let your Visitors help to add fresh content to your sitePolls, Guest Books, Chat Rooms and Discussion Boards all allow visitors to interact with and add content to your site. There is a slight problem with these features. If your site is only getting a trickle of visitors they will look empty and desolate. Visitors will not apreciate wasting their time clicking onto them if there is nothing there. Features to be added slowly then. A good Free For All Links page is always good-webmasters won't mind if there are not many other links on it-it will make there site link stand out better. You will also be building up a list of sites for yourself to maybe set up a proper link swap in the future. You may also add a few good links into it yourself to make your site look a little more popular and give the surfer something to look at. The guest book is also ok for sites with low visitor numbers. Ask your friends and family to sign in!
A Guest Articles Section is a great way to get free content for your site. Invite those with something interesting and relevant to say to submit an article to your site. In return they get free exposure, a chance to spread there message and are allowed to put a link to their website at the end of it.
Allow the visitor to develop a stake in your site"An individual who personally involves himself or herself, and develops a personal stake in some anticipated outcome will return from time to time to check on the status of that outcome. If you give someone a real, personal reason for coming back to your site, they'll do it".
Create a community feel where like minded people can meet and exchange views.
Add games and competitions which the visitor can become good at. How about a score board where visitors can receive a little fame and glory-perhaps a prize for the highest score.
How about a "cyber adoption kit" where a visitor may adopt a "cyberpet". They will come back again and again to tend their creation and perhaps pit it against fellow visitors. As an added incentive, points could be awarded for the longevity or health of the "pet", with the winner getting a memorable prize.
If your site is a worthy cause many like minded visitors will want to help you improve it, promote it plus support it financially and otherwise. However if you do not ask for such help those visitors are likely to wish you well and then surf away into the sunset. To harness the goodwill of like minded people your cause should be as genuinely useful and beneficial as possible and you should have a good "How to Help" page set up.
Provide a MysteryYour site should be clear, logical and obvious. However adding a controlled element of mystery on your site can be a real bonus. Consider a mini treasure hunt on your site. Scatter clues here and there through out your site such as puzzles to work out the letters of a password to a restricted section of your site. If done right this will encourage visitors to explore your site more fully, absorbing your messages and familiarising themselves with the layout etc as they go=good!. As long as you get the mix right ie intriguing clues, balanced difficulty level and a just reward this could lift your site above the ordinary.
Making it Easy to Come BackIf you are using a free hosting service with a long domain name consider paying for your own domain name. An easy to remember domain name is a useful aid for repeat traffic.
To add one first add this code to the head section of your html, replacing the first ____?____with your url and the second ____?____with the title/mini description of your site.:
Secondly add this code to the body section of your html (corresponding to where you want the "Add to Favourites" link to be):
You will have to click the "Add to favourites" gif with your right mouse button and save and upload it etc if you want to use it.
Alternatively use your own graphic.
Timely RemindersA news letter is a great way of keeping in touch with your audience.
If on their initial visit a visitor likes your site but are too busy or distracted to make proper note of it and decide to come back regularily they may be reminded of your site in the future. Every link and mention placed on the net about your site not only atract new visitors but also remind past visitors of your existance. If the initial contact was good chances are they will drop by again. Take a look at the VirtueScience.com Online and Offline promotion tips.