I've been talking about making your website sticky and giving it charisma. Now, let's get down to specifics about how to accomplish this.
The Three C's
Meet the 3Cs, a trio of techniques you'll use to make your website popular and desirable, or sticky. Visitors will beat a path to your cyber door, and they'll return time after time. At least, that's what you hope to achieve by following the 3C Guidelines.
The Internet was created as a free resource for all. Long time users still expect this, but the younger generations, not so much. Even Net Vets have come to accept, albeit grudgingly, that websites sell: subscriptions, products, resource material, and information.
You don't want your website to be about nothing but selling. You must first give if you hope to eventually sell. What you give is content that is of value to the visitor. Always think about how you can help those who visit your site. If you're a writer, then you want to give content that helps other writers as well as readers. Let your content address the needs of your visitors. So spend some time thinking about the people you want to attract. What can you help them with?
Maybe you maintain articles on the craft of writing for aspiring writers as well as a links resource. For published writers, you could offer link resources to help them get in front of readers or other ways to publicize their books. Perhaps you direct your visitors to other sites that offer writers' sites that are holding book contests. Maybe you post background information about your most popular title or discussion questions or links to book discussion groups.
Business people, other than writers, should also offer content of value to their visitors along with the chance to buy a product. For instance, if you're selling water filters, maybe you should have articles about contaminants found in tap water to explain why purified water is healthier. Or articles explaining why water is the better choice over soda or even juice. This content is information the visitor needs, and it supports the value of the product you sell.
Give your visitors a way to interact with you. Enable comments and reply promptly to them. If you have a huge volume of traffic, maybe add a bulletin board to your website. If you don't want to manage a bulletin board or pay someone else to do it, then make use of any of the popular social network sites like Facebook, Twitter, Blogged, or any of the others. Once you start drawing visitors in, maintain a daily presence if possible.
Always maintain a special email address, not the personal one you use for friends and family, so your website visitors can contact you privately. Set up Spam filters of course, but be prepared to respond to any legitimate email.
The last element is one you may think applies only to business retailers on the internet. Businesses pay a lot of attention to successfully converting visitors into buyers. They offer discounts, bonuses, reward points, and special offers to entice a visitor to buy and to return at a future date to buy again.
Listen Up, Writers
Commerce isn't just for retailers. It's an element to which writers should pay attention also. You're probably thinking you agree if I'm talking about freelance writers who self-publish materials like reports, how to books, etc. to sell on their websites, but that published authors with books out in the stores don't have to worry about that. Wrong!
Install Those Links
Published authors should always have links on their websites that visitors can click to buy their books from multiple sources. Most authors aren't big enough to ignore the buying power at Amazon so even if you dislike some of their business practices, put a link to them. Also, place a link to your publisher, your favorite online booksellers, and especially a link to your favorite local indie bookseller if you're print published. If the indie bookseller doesn't maintain an active web presence, list their location and phone.
Work on using the 3 C's, and you'll make your website more desirable sticky. A sticky website will bring more visitors and keep them coming back for more.