Many small businesses have their own website now. In fact, it is often the first marketing tool used by owners to help increase sales over traditional marketing efforts. Unfortunately, many websites, once hosted, are never changed or updated to keep attracting repeat traffic to the site. This lack of updating causes people to find the site stale and not return to it.
Why would a business owner want repeat traffic? It creates another touchpoint for the business and customer. The website can highlight new products or services offered that previous customers did not know about. Many other reasons also exist to answer that question.
According to author Barry Feig, there are six C’s a small business owner or business webmaster can use to increase repeat traffic.
The first one is content, which is usually the No. 1 reason that people come to the site in the first place. The site provides answers to their questions or solutions to their needs. The more solutions you can offer, the more customers will come back to visit. However, content for the sake of content is undesirable. The site’s content needs to be written in an informative way that helps the customer through the sales process with a gentle versus a hard-nosed approach. People have many choices on the web and if they feel you are being too pushy, they will click elsewhere to find their solutions. Also, make the content fresh and new — something your competitors are not putting on their sites. This could be new products or services, new uses for your products or helpful hints related to your business. For example, if you are a home-flooring store, you might put up a checklist on how to pick out flooring on your site and encourage visitors to bring it into your store so you can help them pick out the right materials.
The second C is currency — no, not the green stuff, but rather an update to your site at least every month with new information, specials, products or services. Include a product or service feature and really talk about how it can help. On the other hand, maybe have one of your vendors write an article on an industry-related topic that consumers might find interesting. People go to the web for the latest information, and if your site is unchanged or the same every time they go there, you are going to lose their interest as quickly as it takes them to click on a new site.
Next is consistency. This is more stylistic than procedural. Keep your website pages familiar through your use of layout, fonts, design and overall look so it is easy for visitors to find items and learn how to navigate your site. If your site has a theme, make sure that the same theme is present throughout the site to give a consistent feel to viewers and turn them into repeat visitors as they become more comfortable with your site.
Fourth is credibility. Should viewers find your information to be false, contrived or extremely slanted, they will go to other sites. So while the site represents your business, do not turn them off by blasting your competitors or adding content not related to your business, like political rants. In addition, this C is all about you, the face of the business. You get to talk about why you are qualified to work in this business by talking about your certifications, passion, love or mission for the business. Do not be afraid to mix in a few personal stories either, to help show you are human. Human interest stories generate higher readership in newspapers, so add them to your website to increase readership and repeat visits.
The fifth C is convenience and making it easy for people to navigate your site. Generally, do not clutter the pages with boxes, frames or other design techniques. Keep it simple and easy to read while maintaining a degree of attractiveness. Adding pictures of products or services is always a good idea, but don’t add too many to one page. Alternatively, having a particular story bordered (a line around it) to draw attention to it is not bad — just do not overdo it.
The last C is clarity. We have already touched on this point in the other C’s, but it is so important to your site’s success that we will repeat it. You should make your content clear, easy to read and uncluttered with industry jargon. By using familiar language, you make the reader feel at home and more likely to spend more time on your site and increase your credibility. Now if your target customers are technical in nature, you have to talk to them in their language — but that same point is true for any customer. If your site is not communicating to your readers in their language, you are missing the boat.
So remember the six C’s when either developing your site or reviewing it. It all adds up to generating repeat traffic, which tends to result in increased sales. If you have any questions on this topic or other business-related ones, feel free to contact Richard Proffer, local business development specialist for the MU Extension program, at 573-243-3581 or via email.