Your Website is Like an Elephant

Do you like elephants? Lots of people do. We visit them in zoos, admire their exploits in the circus, take the chance to see them in their natural habitats when we can. You’ve probably never heard anyone say, “No, I don’t want to go see the elephants. I’ve already seen an elephant.”

Even if we’ve seen elephants before — even if we’ve seen them many times — we still want to see them again. They’re interesting. They do different things on different occasions. They cause us to think different thoughts when we see them in one context or another. Even if they cause us to think the same thoughts, they might be thoughts we enjoy and are willing to have in our minds again.

For example, did you know that elephants can swim, but can’t jump? And that, according to Lao tradition, you can make elephants stampede by saying, “Big ears, small eyes” to them?

I knew you’d want to know that.

Here’s the thing: people will also come back to your website, if you do a good job. You know that your customers need five to twelve contacts with you and your offer before they’ll take action. If your business has a brick and mortar presence, it speeds your sales process and improves conversion if some of those contacts are between customers and your website. If your business is entirely online, then it’s all the more important to encourage repeat visits.

  • Have more content than people can read in a single visit. Just as we notice new things about the elephants on subsequent visits, visitors to our websites can get more out of their multiple visits. Since we also want our content to catch the eye of the web surfer spending a few seconds deciding whether or not to stay, we need to plan our navigation so that visitors can get an immediate message, and also realize that there’ll be more to read when they return.
  • Update your site with new content. Whether you choose to use a blog like this one, a dynamic homepage, or just go with regular updates to the pages of your website, new content brings more visits. If you update regularly, people will come by to see what’s new. If you update occasionally, you can do emails, electronic newsletters, or even press releases to let people know they should come visit.
  • Participate in the online community. Twitter, Facebook, and similar tools allow you to spread the word when you have something new and exciting going on. A new section at your web site, a new white paper available for download, a new product in your catalog can all be interesting news to your customers. Even a reminder of something that has been on your site for a while can bring new visitors and remind the old ones to come and check it out.

Imagine that you’d been to see elephants several times at the zoo. If there were a new baby elephant, or a chance to ride on an elephant, or you could get as close as the picture above, that would encourage you to go for another look, wouldn’t it? Keep your web site fresh, interesting, and on your customer’s minds, and they’ll come and see you, too.


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