If You Build It, They Will Come. But Will They Come Back?
No Time for Wishful Thinking
To paraphrase the mystical, whispered words that Kevin Costner’s character heard in the now-famous cornfield scene from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” If you’ve just launched your first website, you may be clinging fervently to this storied principal. You’ve built it, now they’ll come, right? Probably. But, unfortunately, what worked so wondrously for Kevin in the movies, won’t do the heavy lifting needed in the world of e-commerce. Getting people to your website is only step one. The next important question you need to ask yourself is, “If they come once, will they come back?”
Before you hire a freelance writer to populate your webpages, think seriously about that question. One-time Looky Lou’s may increase your visitor count, but those visitors won’t do anything to help your bottom line if they don’t come back. You need a plan to turn those one-time viewers into long-term customers who come back again and again.
Making Your Website “Sticky”
A sticky website is one that draws browsers back. Are you ready to make your site a little sticky? Here are some concrete ways to do it.
- Grab their attention – There’s no quicker way to lose a customer than to have them “bounce” off your site as soon as they click onto it. This happens when the site looks boring, cluttered or just plain difficult to navigate. Your landing page should be simple and user friendly, but with punchy headlines and a clear description of who you are and what you have to offer.
- Give them what they came for – People surf the web because they want to find something interesting and useful. Useful is a nebulous word in the world of web content; it can mean something physically useful like how-to articles or a pair of tiger-striped leggings, or simply something that is informative, engaging or even just funny.
- Change it up – Nothing will get your site deleted from someone’s “bookmarks” quicker than unchanging content. Think about it. If you looked at a webpage and always found the same thing, would you go back? Not likely. Add new content to your site several times a week. And not just text. Put in some new photos, interesting bits of news and add relevant videos, as well. YouTube offers one way to integrate entertaining videos into your website.
- Send them away – This may sound counterintuitive, but providing links to other interesting web pages is a good way to establish yourself as the go-to site for high-quality information. Just make sure the sites you choose offer accurate data—think government or university sites or major news outlets. But don’t be too generous; it’s probably never a good idea to send your potential customers to a competitor.
Offer your web visitors interesting, changing content and reliable, usable information in an eye-catching format, and you’ll soon have them back, asking for more.
Kate C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.