Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2004
This morning, after my wife and I walked the dog, we took some time to look at the flowers in our garden. The morning was still cool, but we knew that the temperature was already climbing and would be somewhere in the 90s today.
Some yellow daisies where swaying gently in the light breeze, as if to say, “look at me. Here I am.” Where they trying to catch my attention, or the attention of honey bees and butterflies? Though God made the flowers for us to enjoy, I suspect that they are more interested in attracting the attention of the insects that will help spread their pollen. The flowers need to attract the attention of the insects to survive.
Internet marketers that have their own website are much like the flowers. They must attract the attention of potential visitors and entice them to visit the web site. If no visitors come then the site will eventually die.
How to attract visitors to a site is what the very broad subject of Internet marketing is about. Numerous articles and books have been written and are available about Internet marketing. Let’s just look at one small part of it today.
As you watch the honey bees and the butterflies on the flowers you notice that they stay on one flower for a while, then go on to another for a while. Sometimes they stay on a flower for a very short time and sometime they stay for a fairly long time. Sometimes they come back to the original flower and sometimes they do not.
The people that visit our web sites act much the same. Some times they just take a quick glance and click to another site. Sometimes they stay longer and look around. It all depends on how interesting your site is. Does it have a good headline that captures their interest and makes them want to get more information? A good headline is probably the most important single item on your website. Take time to create a good headline.
Is the site simple to view? A site should not have text written on a background with a design. It is too hard to read and often the viewer will click away instead of trying to read it.
Is it easy to read? If there is not enough contrast between the background color and the text color then it could be hard to read. Whenever I see a site with black letters on a dark color background I leave immediately. So do a lot of other visitors.
Does the site take too long to load? Many people have very little patience these days. If the site is slow to load they get tired of waiting and go to a different site.
Does your site have music? If it does be sure the music is appropriate for the type of visitor that you are trying to appeal to.
Ok, you’ve done things right and the visitor stays around long enough to get beyond your headline. How long will you be able to keep the visitor?
Is your site easy to navigate? Are the buttons easy to find and understand? If the visitor gets confused he can get frustrated. If he gets frustrated he is very likely to leave in favor of a new site.
Does your site have a benefits list? Most people are looking at your site because they want something. If a quick read of your site fails to show them that you can provide what they want then they are out of there. This is where a strong benefits list is important. If they see their ‘want’ in a benefits list they will read on for more details.
Everyone loves a story. People start reading a story and keep reading until the story is finished. If you visitors start reading a story on your site they will likely read the rest of the site.
The links on you site can help you or ruin you. If you link to another site be sure that the link opens the site in a new window. This is a must. If the linked site opens in the same window you have just lost a potential customer. Now the only way he can come back is by hitting the back button. Will he do it?
Now back to the flowers and the bees and the butterflies. Lets talk about the bees and butterflies that come back. Why did they come back? With the flower it was probably just luck. With your web site it needs to be much more then luck. You have to plan it. They have to want to come back for something of value (to them at least) that you have on your site.
What brought them back was the content. Some how they did not learn everything on the first (or previous) visit or they wanted to re-read it. Or maybe they realize that the content may have changed and they can get new information. Or maybe your site offers a service that they want to use again and (hopefully) again.
I call a web site that keeps the visitors coming back a sticky web site. It involves extra work to make a sticky web site. However, if your goal is to have your potential customers coming back often then the extra work is worth it.
Some of the best items to make a website sticky is a free service or free content. Examples of services could be a search engine submission service, a forum, current news display, or some kind of game. A service can be almost anything that a visitor can use or view over and over.
Content can be similar to a service. An article directory can be content. Perhaps you write articles for you ezine. Post them on your website. Let your visitors know that they are free to use as long as they don’t change them and they include the resource box. If someone uses they article you could get another link back to your site.
Other examples of content could be free software of ebooks. Some people offer free vacation certificates. A free course can also be some excellent sticky content. Book reviews could also work. A weekly survey can also be a good way to bring certain visitors back every week.
Change your site often, at least monthly. Weekly changes are better. People will know that you are actively managing your site and that you want to provide a good service. This will help create a positive impression and turn visitors into customers.
Most people do not buy or join the first time they view a web site. Sometimes they come back several times before surrendering the money for that which your site offers. This is the main reason why you want a sticky site.
If you can successfully make your site sticky enough to bring your visitors back to your site repeatedly, you're guaranteed success. Just keep bringing the visitors to your site, and then back again, as the flowers do with the bees and the butterflies.
About the Author
Albin Dittli has been writing software for the network marketing industry for 12 years and marketing on the Internet for over two years. Please visit his web site at (http://www.The-Home-Business-Center.com). You can subscribe to his free ezine, eBiz Marketing Tips, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.