The importance of repeat visitors

by Martin Reed on 29 August 2007 in Snippets

Keep hold of your forum members

As I have said before, the biggest challenge for any online community is in attracting and retaining new members. Without members, you have no community. You need to work exceptionally hard to convince each and every visitor that your community is right for them. You need to convince them to register, you need to convince them to post, and you need to convince them to stay.

Repeat visitors are your life blood

If you are noticing that the majority of your users are first time-visitors, then you may be doing something wrong. A successful community will have a large number of repeat visitors – people that know about your site and wish to return on a regular basis. If people are visiting and not returning, you need to turn things around if you want your community to succeed.

Always consider repeat visitors the foundation of your community. Once you have a good number of repeat visitors, you have something to build on – you can continue to work on attracting new members, now confident that you have a community people want to return to time and time again.

Your site may be receiving hundreds of first-time visitors right now, so you may not be worrying about your appalling repeat visitor statistics. What would happen if the source of that traffic disappeared overnight, though? What would happen if your site dropped in the Google search rankings? What would happen if that large site that links to you stops doing so? Repeat visitors can get you through times like these – without them your community risks dying overnight.

How to retain your members

The key to retaining your members is pretty basic – satisfy their wants and needs, and keep them happy.

Ensure you site is accessible and easy to use. Stand out from the crowd. Listen to feedback, and act on it. Create content for your visitors to consume, and instil a real sense of community amongst your members.

If your members are happy and satisfied, they will return. If your members feel valued, they will return. If visitors are confused by your site, they won’t be back. If visitors see no new content on your site, they won’t be back.

Put yourself in the shoes of your visitors. Would you want to return to your site? Always think from the perspective of your members – if they are happy, you will be too.

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Tim August 30, 2007 at 2:45 am

While this is good usually… I’m in a community where the loyal repeat visitors are the only ones left :-p
Yeah, I hate most of them by now.

Martin Reed - Blog Author August 30, 2007 at 11:44 am

Tim – You make a good point! Loyal members are important for a strong foundation, but without fresh blood a community risks becoming stale.

Michael September 6, 2007 at 6:44 pm

I am having the problem of people not coming back. I have tried personally emailing them to ask if they have any suggestions or anything for the site but I usually don’t get a response. My guess is spam filters and they don’t want to spend the time.

What else can I do? I am going to implement a newsletter in the coming days. The newsletter will have personalized content so hopefully that will help.

Martin Reed - Blog Author September 7, 2007 at 1:37 pm

Michael – First of all, are you sure all those registrations are actually real people? If they are automated registrations from spam bots, of course you can never expect them to return or respond to emails!

I had a look at your forum and can offer you immediate feedback on two points:

1) The link to your forum is hidden away – if you want people to find it, make that link prominent and obvious.

2) Your forums have no content! Why would anyone return to a forum that is empty?

Content is king – write every single day so that your members have a reason to return.

I hope this helps.

iva August 27, 2008 at 12:56 am

This is an old post, but could not resist to write and ask! About what % of repeat visitors should be considered as good? Besides Should not we use surveys or conduct polls to take their feedback apart from the valuable tips mentioned above? At the moment i am getting only 10% repeat visitors on one of my targeted blog that i think is not enough.

Smiley August 27, 2008 at 4:48 am

About what % of repeat visitors should be considered as good?
100% !! All !!

Visitor retention is good.

Once you get plenty of repeat visitors, you need to concentrate on turning them into interacting repeat visitors ;)

But that’s just my opinion.