This is a guest post by Miles Galliford.
Getting people to your membership website takes a great deal of time and effort, so once people arrive you have got to do everything you can to keep them coming back. Use this checklist to increase the sense of community, interactivity and loyalty.
1. Explain What Your Website is About
The fastest way to lose visitors is to not explain in a simple and concise way what your website covers. Get it up front.
2. Make Every Page Useful
Internet users hate websites that waste their time. They return to websites where they get new and relevant information presented in an easy an easy to consume way. Whilst we are unlikely to create a site that competes with a national newspaper like the New York Times (www.nytimes.com) or Daily Telegraph (www.telegraph.co.uk), it is worth studying these sites as they are masters of presenting a lot of information in an easy to read format.
3. Have a Good Site Search
Regular visitors like being able to go straight to the information that they are interested in. Make sure you have an accurate and visible search capability on the site.
4. Relevant Article Links
Every time that someone reads an article they should be encouraged to read other related articles within the site. The best way to do this is to tag articles when you add them to your site and then automatically display them at the end of each page.
5. Encourage Visitors to Sign up for an Email Newsletter
Every page on your website should encourage visitors to sign up for an email newsletter. It is probably the number one way of creating an ongoing relationship with your visitors.
6. Provide an RSS Feed
The take up of RSS has been slow, but it is experiencing steady growth as RSS readers become easier to use. RSS is a good second best to an email newsletter and is worth adding to every content site and make it easy for people to subscribe.
7. Use Your Web Stats to Find Out What Your Readers Want
You can plug free analytics tools into your site which provide huge amounts of valuable information. This can help you make your content very relevant to your readers. Examples of what you can find out include:
- Look at the most read articles and create more similar content
- Look at which articles attract the most inbound links. This articles are driving relevant visitors to your site
- Look at the keyword analysis report. This will tell you what keyword phrases people are typing into the search engines to find your website.
8. Make Your Contact Information Visible
Trust is a huge part of success on the internet. The best way to build trust is by making yourself and/or your team accessible. Add your contact details to the Home page … or better still to every page.
9. Enable People to Comment on Your Articles
Any activity that enables your readers to express their opinion, interact with you or feel part of your website will build a sense of community. Allowing them to add comments at the end of articles is a great loyalty building activity.
10. Add a Forum to Your Website
Forums require a real commitment of time. As a website owner you must contribute, monitor posts and expel troublemakers. However if you are prepared to undertake these tasks a good, active forum is an incredible traffic generator and loyalty tool.
The only way that a website will ever become successful is if you have a growing core of loyal followers who keep coming back. The number one reason that people will return to your site is the quality and frequency of the content you publish.
However there are lots of things that you can do to build community and interactivity which will result in greater loyalty.
Take action now and see your traffic start to build every month.