A lot of talk is given as to what people can do to increase surfer retention and repeat visitation of their web sites, but very few people actually seem to get the clue. They do not seem to be able to grasp the simple concept that what surfers want is what they cannot get everywhere else.
For the web site owner this means that you need to start thinking creatively. Start thinking outside of the box and dream up new ideas and methods that nobody else has done before, thus setting you're web site up as being completely unique, and a "must revisit" site. This sounds harder than it actually is, as there are a great many developers coming up with fantastically unique ideas almost daily that very few people know about.
The common term for increasing visitor retention to a web site has been called a "sticky" solution. This simply means that a certain part of a web site will stick in a person’s mind long after their initial visit, thus generating the probability of a return visit or two, and in some cases, telling all their friends about this "really cool thing I found."
The question for most people is "how do I think out of the box?" This really is not difficult, and oftentimes simply means taking something that is hot and making it 100 times better, thus adding to the value of it to the surfer. Use the one resource that God gave you, a brain, and take an in-depth look at the site you need to increase retention on. Look at the type of site it is, the type of visitors it attracts, and the sponsors or link-out's that you are sending some of these visitors to. This gives you the general foundation of what is needed.
You now know your traffic, from which you can guestimate a few things about their likes and dislikes. If you actually track what they do while on the site, then you can see what pages they visit more, which pages they stay longer at, what draws them away from those pages, and why it does it. This can be extremely useful information (when compiled and analyzed) about a web site’s visitors and their surfing behavior, as well as what they like or do not like.
At this point you may be thinking this is all a bit too technical for you, that’s fine, as we said above there are a great number of developers who are coming up with brand new ideas that very few people have used. One such group runs ScratchEngine (http://scratchengine.com) and if you actually take a few minutes to explore the possibilities of using it you can easily find hundreds of ways to put this particular idea to good use. Many people can not think "out of the box," so let's try to go over some basics right here. Most of us know that email marketing can be pure gold for the experienced marketer. The hard part is how to get surfers who are leaving a web site to simply hand over their email address, and confirm it for the standard double opt-in.
Using the ScratchEngine, this is already solved for you. Simply make up a few games and display them as exit popups on the websites you have. Let the people play the games for prizes, such as a free 5 minute trial to a paysite, or possibly a free email confirming their double opt-in with links to free content. ScratchEngine is totally unique in the fact it literally takes a matter of minutes to create a completely unique game branded only to you. The ScratchEngine name even sounds a bit misleading because it can make any number of different game types, simply look at their samples pages for an idea of what I mean by that.
Other ways to use the ScratchEngine program is to create actual wagering games, where the surfer would win free content, trips, paysite access, whatever. And the best part of the thing is that you can even put a banner sized game in simple banner spots to draw attention. Let the surfer play a game and have some fun, then redirect them to a sponsor. All it takes is a tiny bit of creativity to generate huge results with this tool.
You must start thinking creatively or you will be left in the dust. This is a simple fact and easy to grasp. What are you waiting for?