Email Subscription
Posts

Archive for January, 2009

Repeat site visits – a critical goal for a successful website

What data should I track for my website to see if I’m doing well? What indicators most greatly affect the success of my website? How should I interpret my analytics to understand why I’m not getting sales? This article will discuss these questions.

Repeat visits to your website by your customers are the most important factor to increasing your conversion rate. To illustrate let’s examine a user shopping for a digital camera.

“Jim sits in front of his computer looking to buy a high-end digital camera. He’s been shopping off-and-on for the past three months. His Google searches led him to ZTechCameras.com, a company he had never heard of and wasn’t sure if he could trust. However, after dozens of visits to ZTech Cameras and other camera sites, he has come to trust ZTech Cameras’ rich depth of accurate advice and is convinced they will provide him with more knowledgeable service for his new camera. Thus, he decides to shun better known competitors and makes his purchase.”

Did you see the point? Jim had never heard of ZTechCameras.com and thus initially he did not trust them. However, as the website established a track record of reliability by knowledgeably answering his questions over multiple visits, he came to trust the company enough to make his purchase with them. The same lesson applies to any website selling products or services.

But knowing that repeat visits are important is not enough! How can you design a website that will get visitors to return repeatedly? How can you track if your website is doing well and your efforts to get visitors to return are bearing fruit?

Getting Visitors to Return

The #1 way to get visitors to return is to regularly update your website. Is there any website you regularly read up on? Why do you regularly visit? Isn’t it because every time you visit there is something new to see? If you doubt anything has changed on a website since the last time you visited, do you have any strong urge to visit it?

Like a newspaper, your website will be read if it has lots of fresh information. (Photo by KellyB, flickr.com.)

Likewise, with your website you need to constantly keep it changing. The more frequently you add information to your website, the more frequently your visitors will return. For example, most people check the news every day. Why? Because every day there is fresh news. If you update your website daily, your visitors will return every few days. If you update your website weekly, your visitors will return every few weeks.

The #2 way to get visitors to return is to keep them interested. True, visitors will return to your website regularly if you update your website regularly, but the updates also need to be interesting. For example, simply changing the color of your website every day is probably not going to spark a lot of interest. However, publishing an informative article daily or sharing industry news as-it-happens will generate interest that motivates visitors to return to your website.

Setting Goals And Measuring Your Results

How can you determine if your efforts are bearing fruit? There are three numbers that you must track to determine if your website is successfully engaging visitors and getting them to return. The three numbers are: Visitor Loyalty, Depth of visit, and Bounce rate.

Visitor Loyalty

This is a measure of the number of visits a specific user made to your website over a period of time. Usually this data is aggregated into a distribution that you can then view in a chart. Below is an example.

Do you see how most visitors are visiting only once? Have you checked this chart for your website?

A greater visitor loyalty means that your customers are constantly visiting your website. The more times your customer visits your website, the more comfortable he is becoming with your company. The odds increase over time that eventually he will purchase a good or service from you.

In our ideal world, most of your visitors would visit your website many times per month.

To increase visitor loyalty update your website frequently and make sure that your updates are interesting to your audience.

Depth of Visit

This is a measure of how many pages, on average, a visitor to your website viewed before leaving. Below is an example of what this report looks like.

Do you notice that most visitors view only one page and then leave? What does the chart for your website look like?

A greater average depth of visit means visitors are very engaged by your website. If you have a poor depth of visit distribution, it means visitors are quickly losing interest and leaving your website.

In an ideal world, most of your visitors would view a lot of pages while on your website.

To increase depth of visit you need to have plenty of quality information on you website. However, you also need a good information architecture.

Bounce Rate

This is a measure of what percentage of visitors leave your website after viewing only one page. If you have a high bounce rate, it means most visitors are leaving without giving your website more than a quick glance. A good bounce rate is below 50%. Anything above 50% deserves your attention.

To decrease your bounce rate, make sure your homepage and landing pages* are informative, attractive, and well-linked to other parts of your website.

Cultivating Repeat Visits, the Best Goal for a Successful Website

If you want to increase your website’s sales there is practically no goal you can set that is more important than increasing the number of repeat visits you get from individual customers. The more times a customer visits your website the greater his trust in your company will grow; as the customer’s trust for your company grows, he becomes more likely to purchase a good or service.

So immediately start looking for ways to get your customers to visit your website more often by regularly updating the information on your website and making sure the information you share is interesting to your audience! By doing this you will have a more successful website that generates more sales.

* A landing page is any page a visitor might see first when they visit your website. This includes pages found through a search engine.

3 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - January 11, 2009 at 11:19 am

Categories: Useful Tools   Tags: , , , , increase your website’s sales, , , ,

How to keep visitors from leaving your site?

Woman stands in front a store deciding whether to enter.

How is your homepage like the window of the store in the picture above? 60-80% of visitors will leave from your homepage without ever “entering” your website. Why? Nicholas Grant, discusses the answer and solution below.

Lots of people put stuff on a website just to fill space. If you are one of those people, you could very well be chasing away customers.

A homepage is like a storefront. When you walk into a store or market, or any place of business, what is the first thing you check out when you arrive? “The sales”, you might say. That’s true in a way, but why did you even walk into the store? What you’re really checking out is the atmosphere. If a place doesn’t appeal, you won’t even walk in the door.

Is your website like that store that no one wants to enter? If you feel the answer may be “Yes”, that’s okay because we’re about to fix this problem.

Your Audience is Deciding Whether to “Enter”

Whether your audience is kids, teens, adults or everybody you have to appeal to their viewpoint. For instance, if you are trying to appeal to teens, you must think like a teen. You can’t be putting articles about life insurance coverage on a teen website. After all, what teen is really concerned about that! Or, let’s say that your audience is kids. Would it really make sense to put an article about Job applications on a site that is for kids 5-11? If your homepage doesn’t connect with your audience, like window shoppers, they will quickly move on to the next “storefront.”

Mentioning your audience’s problems is a sure way to get their attention. They’ll see that you get their viewpoint.

This brings us back to the atmosphere. Like that storefront, if the atmosphere is not appropriate and appealing, no one will “enter” deeper into your website. So, on your website, be sure to make prominent mention of your audience’s problems and avoid irrelevant content.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - January 9, 2009 at 11:08 am

Categories: Some web questions   Tags: , ,

Gradually make your website a store of treasures

Slowly building his variety of wares and freely sharing knowledge made his shop a well-trafficked destination. Can you apply the same to your website? (Photo by KrisHaamer)

It is not rare for a new website to get off to a very slow start. However, rather than becoming discouraged, you should focus on increasing the quantity, variety, and value of the content (e.g. articles, videos, diagrams) and items for sale on your website. By focusing on helping people and through patient endurance you will eventually notice an uptick in your visitors and sales. The fictional story of Bartolo, an Italian fisherman, illustrates how a website can suddenly go from being perceived as having little value to being seen as an essential online destination.

Bartolo and His Ever Expanding Variety of Wares

Bartolo was an old man with an untiring zeal for helping others. As is the case with most zealous men, he was not one to give in to the geriatric lifestyle of his peers. His energy far exceeded his years, and his eyes maintained a brightness like the sparkle of white wine on a sunny summer day. Though well into his eighties, he still found plenty of adventurous projects to busy his day. And Bartolo still had one more endeavor he wanted to embark on.

For Bartolo’s whole life he had been a fisherman. His mind had become a treasure trove of knowledge regarding the most arcane aspects of his trade’s tools and vernacular. So now, several years after he had hung up his nets to dry for the last time, Bartolo decided to help his fellow fisherman by opening a fisherman’s shop on the rugged coast of Manarola a small village on the Italian Riveria.

Bartolo started small, with only a few of the oddest tools that a fisherman will find he needs in that one rare situation that is encountered perhaps twice in a lifetime; and because of his shop’s specialty nature, Bartolo received nary a visitor. Occasionally the stray fisherman would stroll into his shop looking for advice on his trade, but purchases were few.

The small fishing village of Manarola where Bartolo started his shop. (Photo by ezioman)

It is worth noting that Bartolo was highly respected by other fisherman for his knowledge, but the oddity and narrow selection of tools available at his shop puzzled them, and his shop’s emptiness left him the butt of some ridicule. But Bartolo did not let this deter him. In his head he envisioned a day when his shop’s selection would grow to provide such a variety of useful items that no fisherman would find his shop unneeded.

So Bartolo steadily added to his shop’s selection. Each week he increased the variety of tools and items available. As the number of items slowly began to multiply, a change of perception occurred. Suddenly local fishermen were interested in more than merely Bartolo’s advice. With amazement, each fisherman began to realize that Bartolo’s shop offered a tool for every strange event and odd happening that he might encounter out at sea.

Thus, Bartolo’s shop became known as a must visit destination for local fisherman to brush up on the knowledge of their trade and also find the odd tools that could be found no place else, or at least no other place brought together in such useful profusion the wide variety of odds and ends that a fisherman could need.

So Bartolo’s patient endurance was ultimately rewarded. By continuously searching for more odds and ends to add to the store of treasures available at his little fishing shop, and by freely sharing knowledge with his fellow fisherman, Bartolo was able to grow a thriving store that became an essential destination for the fishermen of Manarola.

Conclusion: Constantly Expand Your Website

Here is the key point from the above story. If you, like Bartolo, focus on steadily expanding the information and products your website offers, you will find that eventually more and more individuals will see the value of your website and over time it will become a well-trafficked destination.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - January 7, 2009 at 10:09 am

Categories: Tips to increase site traffic   Tags: , , , ,

Feedback Form
Leads to Insight