Tuesday, December 30, 2008

5 Ways to Entice Visitors to Keep Coming Back

# 0109

1) You could consider starting a forum, chat room or shout box.

Providing a forum, chat room or shout box, allows your visitors to have a voice where they can share their opinions and interact with their peers -- all of them visitors of your site.

Over time this develops into a sense of community and conversions will follow and your visitors will look forward to coming back to your site each and every day.

2) This probably goes without saying, but starting a blog can be a fantastic source for both new and recurring traffic.

Having your own blog is like keeping an online journal, and human beings are curious and thirsty for information. You need to keep your blog frequently updated with your latest news, both business and personal.

You will find that over time more and more people will come back to read your posts and with it you will develop credibility as an authority figure in your niche.

3) How about carrying out polls or surveys?

You will note that so far all the suggestions made have had some form of visitor interaction and conducting polls and surveys is no different. This is one that you should definitely consider adding to your site.

They are a quick way for visitors to voice their opinions and to get involved in your website. It is important that you publish the results of any polls or surveys so that you keep the interest of your visitors to come back and see the results.

4) This is a little bit more innovative, but have you considered the use of puzzles, games and quizzes.

This will provide a yardstick as to how many people are willing to return to your site if you are maintaining their interest through entertainment.

You can also hold competitions to award the high score winner to keep people trying continuously to earn the prize.

5) This may appear just plain common sense, but you need to update your site frequently with fresh content if you wish to attract multiple visits.

Although this may appear to be the most likely of strategies it is also the most overlooked with some sites seemingly looking the same for years.

If you want returning visitors to the same message, over time that message needs a refreshing, different approach or angle!

Maintaining the same approach continually will have the effect of changing nothing, so don't be lazy and add new fresh bites of information from time to time to increase your visitor's interest.

As alway, best of luck!! ~Tom

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Five mistakes you’re probably making with your MySpace page

# 1208

I don’t need to tell you to get a MySpace page. You already have one of those. MySpace may not have the best user interface in the world, it may be dreadfully coded and poorly laid out — but you still have to have one.

After all: you’re in the entertainment biz, and that’s where all the people seem to be. Since you’re there, you might as well use it to your best advantage.

Judging by what I’ve seen from so many comics and bands, here are some mistakes you’re probably making on MySpace.

1) Using MySpace as your website
This is the worst mistake of all, so I’ve put it at the top of the list. If MySpace is your online presence, you don’t have an online presence. MySpace is for social networking. It is not where you do your business. Have you set up your office at the pub? Use MySpace to interact socially with people, and encourage them to visit your own site where you have control over things like design, content and functionality.

2) Using MySpace as your email
One of the great things about MySpace is that you can send private messages to people and they can reply. This is not a replacement for email — and if conversations go beyond more than one reply, you need to take it to real email as soon as possible. The messaging thing is about establishing contact. Once you have a real contact, then treat them like a real human being — not a MySpace arms-length ‘friend’.

3) Having an impressive background image
If you have a lovely photo as the background to your MySpace page, one of two things is true. Either: a) I can’t read large sections of your text because it’s the same color as parts of your lovely photo; or b) I can’t see it properly because it’s behind large sections of your text boxes. It’s nice that you have nice photos. Put them on Flicker. Leave your MySpace background plain so I can focus on who you are and what you have to say to me.

4) Embedding lots of media
Your MySpace page is not one of the TV channels. I know how to use YouTube. I have not come here to watch videos. I want to know who you are and what you do, so that I will know whether to (and how to) interact with you. If you must put a video on your MySpace page (Really? Are you sure?) then whatever you do, make sure it doesn’t autoplay the moment I load your page. It’s bad enough I get music playing the second I open your page. Nothing scares the casual visitor away like simultaneous multiple sound sources.

5) Writing lots of text
Remember - this is a place to meet people and interact with them. Starting off with a 3,000 word essay’s not the greatest ice-breaker in the world. Be brief. Be engaging. They’re after a quick synopsis — not a complete history. Again, direct them to your website if you feel it’s appropriate to make your entire autobiography known.

Remember: MySpace is a tool. It’s one of many. It’s not your only shot at engaging with your audience or prospective market. It’s an important one though, and it’s one that it’s very easy to make mistakes with. Use it well.

As always, best of luck!! - Tom