One of the very true sayings in the Search Engine Optimisation and Web Design world is that to get the visitor to your site is one thing, to keep them coming back time and time again is another. Keeping visitors coming back to your site is vital, especially if you are selling products that can be purchased multiple times or if you are offering a subscription based service that relies on people paying money to keep coming back.

The reason big offline supermarkets like Tesco’s and Iceland offer loyalty cards is to increase the chances of their shoppers coming back to the stores. Running a website you have to think along the same lines as the big shops in respect of 5 repeat customers is easier than chasing 10 new ones.

Below, we look at our top five features that you can use on your website to keep visitors returning time and time again.

Videos
Online videos are one of the fastest growing forms of online media on the Internet, meaning that more and more people are now watching videos and clips online than ever before. Google of course owns YouTube which continually breaks records in terms of how many visitors it has coming to the site and how many videos are being watched. Make sure you have a good set of videos on your site, with any type of site being able to find a reason to make a video, from a “how to” video to a video describing your latest product.

Podcasts
With the rise of the Ipod and other forms of MP3 players, more and more people now download music and podcasts so that they can listen to them whilst travelling or relaxing and not needing to be near a computer. If your website has any informative articles or guides, these can easily be made into podcasts, which will encourage people to subscribe to your feeds so that they always get the latest podcast once it is made and released by you.

Games
Competition drives mankind, online games drive anyone that has an ounce of a competitive streak in them. If you can get 100 people all trying to get the top score in a game, you can rest assured that about 10 of them will keep trying and trying until they really can achieve no more. Games are a great way of not only getting people to come back to your site but to also spread the word about what you are doing, as users always spread this information virally and it could become really hot if it is a good game.

Forum / Message Board
A forum is a good way of encouraging people to use your site regularly, interacting with others and generally just spending a few spare minutes answering questions and topics. One word of warning; make sure that you are able to moderate and control your forum, because once a forum gets out of control it is very hard to recover status.

Blogging Facilities
In every day walks of life, everyone has an opinion and some just love to express it, and this is where having a regularly updated blog comes into play. If you write a blog post or article and have a loyal set of followers, they will come and read your article or blog and leave comments on it. People just seem to love blogs, as do the search engines, so make sure that you have a decent blog set up and more importantly make sure that you post as often as you can.

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