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Modern Web Site Design: Getting People To Come Back

By Marc Bissonnette

Many are the web sites, magazines books, courses and Net resources on designing a 'better website'. Many will go into design style, coding language preference, CGI uses, graphical elements, and so on.

One item, however, which is often missing from a good resource on getting traffic (and eventually new business) to your website , is the simple art of getting repeat visits.

If there is one aspect of 'Web Business' that is shared with the traditional retail world, it is this:

The Best Customer is a Repeat Customer.

The other catchphrase which reflects this is:

80% of your sales are made by 20% of your clients.

The topics in the first paragraph are all very well and fine for designing a web site that will dazzle and impress a viewer on their first visit, but what does it do for their second? More importantly, how does it ensure there will even be a second visit? Unless your business is one of graphic design or animation, these subjects will do very little to bring people back, since they have already seen that content and will not be as impressed with it the second, third, visit to your site.

It seems that in todays' world of increasing bandwidth, faster computers and easier-to-use graphical programs, there is one common element that people are overlooking in their site design: Content. Yes, that's right, plain old text-based content. This is not to say that you cannot have pretty pictures or subtle animations around that content, but it is the content that the reader is there for.

As proof of this, as well as the inspiration for this article, is the Net World web site, and indirectly, my own site. In looking through my traffic stats, I noticed an unusually high number of hits coming from New Zealand, Portugal, Israel, etc, that were never there before (My firm is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada). This wasn't too surprising, as Net World had published an article of mine a month and a bit ago, so this was expected. However, in looking at the stats again (and purging the data for March) there were STILL fair amounts of traffic from these countries.

Lo and behold, upon visiting the Net World site; There is my article, in an easy-find-manner (following the golden rule of web design: You must be able to get TO anywhere in a website FROM anywhere in a website within three clicks of the mouse.) along with a link to www.internalysis.com

(As an aside, and proof that Murphy's Law is alive and howling in laughter, the article I wrote was on how not all traffic statistics are accurate due to caching servers... Sigh.)

What does this prove? It proves that people are visiting and RE-visiting the Net World site, and others like it because there is a REASON to re-visit it: New content! Every week, users KNOW that there will be new content, whether it be of interest, of use or simply entertainment, they VISIT the site to find out.

How do you get all this content to keep adding to your site without breaking up your marriage or filing for bankruptcy? Well, there are enough methods to make up a whole new article on that, but I'll leave you with this one: Do what Networld has done: Invite submissions for feature articles, newsletters or industry focus sections from other authors and offer them a credit and a link in return. After all, a lot of you visited www.internalysis.com ......

Marc Bissonnette is the proprietor of CanadianISP, Canadas' largest Internet Service Provider search and comparison site.

InternAlysis - Customized, specialized, dedicated eMarketing specialist
CanadianISP - Canadas' largest Internet Service Provider (ISP) list and comparison web site

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