Wow… Jakob Nielsen certainly woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. His latest Alertbox, Search Engines as Leeches on the Web, starts out:
Search engines extract too much of the Web’s value, leaving too little for the websites that actually create the content. Liberation from search dependency is a strategic imperative for both websites and software vendors.
Nice. Because, God knows, you wouldn’t want people to find your site, would you? He rambles on with a whole bunch of garbage about search engine advertising—wait, this is all about advertising? I thought this was supposed to be about searching!—and how, over time, it can take up more and more of your budget until it cancels out the gain you made on that new customer who got there through the ad.
There’s actually a useful bit at the end, though, in which he describes other ways to get people coming to your site—or rather, coming back to your site.
The real goal is to make users come back, and to have them come directly to your site instead of clicking on expensive ads. The ideas above are just a few ways to encourage repeat business. Further in-depth studies of user behaviors and customer needs should reveal many new ways of keeping users loyal.
Of course, no one has ever done that sort of study on how to keep people coming back to a store, or a brand name. Shyeah, right!