It occurred to me that I have frequently spoken about visitor retention but have not gone into much detail about what the phrase actually means, or why it is so important.
This article will therefore address the question ‘What is visitor retention?’ and talk about why it is so important and how to achieve it.
What is visitor retention?
Put simply, visitor retention is the phrase given when you are able to keep visitors coming back to your site.
A visitor who comes to your site once, sticks around for a few seconds and then leaves, never to return, is not a valuable visitor.
Either your site is doing something wrong, or you are attracting the wrong audience. Your ultimate aim is to increase the number of regular visitors to your site. You can then be sure you are satisfying your visitors’ wants and needs, and are well on your way to building a successful online community.
The importance of visitor retention
As I touched upon above, visitor retention shows that your site is satisfying your visitors. After all, people will not return to a site that has no value to them.
An online community relies on visitor retention to build the community feeling – if your website consists solely of people that post once then disappear, you don’t have a real community.
Real community exists only when people return time and again and get involved. You want your regular visitors to have a sense of ‘shared ownership’ of your community and really get to know other members. Similarly you want other members to really get to know them, too.
Regular visitors strengthen an online community. Whilst new visitors are also important, it is the regular members that will really shape and develop your site.
Methods of achieving visitor retention
First and foremost, you need to maximise the usability of your website. This is something I will talk more about in future articles. Your site must be simple to use, and intuitive. If people cannot understand your site within a few seconds, they will leave.
Ensure any promotion you are undertaking is aimed at the exact audience you are targeting. Untargeted visitors are just as bad as no visitors at all – they will waste your bandwidth and will not add any value to your site as they pass through.
Fill your site with content and keep it updated – do you really expect people to return to your site to read content that hasn’t been changed since their last visit?
Your methods of visitor retention
Have you considered the importance of visitor retention? What methods (if any) do you employ to ensure users become loyal and frequent visitors to your site? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment below.