Repeat usage is one of the great keys to the long term
success of a web site. It is one of the toughest to measure
and hardest to create.
When you website reaches its first primary plateau where your visits
start to stagnate, that is not necessarily the time to panic and
redesign your site. Its a time to add “more-better-different”.
Giving them a reason to come back
Websites are so diverse in their purposes and nature, that there are few
all encompassing one-size-fits-all methods you can use to increase your
repeat business. However, there are some time honored widgets you can
add to your site to raise its profile and get you beyond your initial
Yep, the good old newsletter can bring out the repeat customer on
a regular basis. Doesn’t have to be a huge tomb of information, but it
should be interesting, low on promo spam, and high on content. If you
can get people to sign up for a news letter you can build a profitable
site out of any subject. How many newsletters are you signed up for?
BBS Forums and Messaging Systems
In order to make a good old BBS forum system
work, you need to have a certain level of traffic to work with, and
you need to seed the message base with five or more good starter
messages. The whole deal with BBS’s systems is getting users to interact with each
other. As it stands now, this is a solo sight out in the
middle of the desert as far as your concerned, but if you were reading
this in the context where you could easily reply or read other opinions,
wouldn’t you be more likely to come back to see the responses in a few days?
Polls and Voting
With controversy reining supreme these days, who doesn’t love to
put in their two cents on a quick poll? Users come back time and time
again to see the results.
Site Interactivity is the word for the day. No matter how good
your content is, how compelling your arguments are, there is
nothing like putting two people together on the Internet. Look
at the popularity of email and Usenet. Nothing attracts a
crowd like a crowd. If you can engage your
users senses beyond the solidarity of setting behind the keyboard
and reading, you’ll get them to come back and back.
Its almost official, chat doesn’t work very well from most small
and medium websites. Unless you have over 5000 users a day,
don’t consider building a chat system as a good use of your time.
Chats main drawback is that it requires quite a few people to make a
system work, and most websites don’t have that kind of traffic or
support in order to make chat successful – nobody wants to set in
a lonely chat room.
On-the-other-hand, I am amazed at the number of people that will
message me via ICQ. I recently put my ICQ number at the bottom
of several pages. So many users messaged me, that I couldn’t get
any work done and had to take it off. While chatting with these
people, I traced their path through the logs and most hit more
than 20pages on this site over an average of an hours time (yikes – kinda