If given the choice between attending a pre-determined really lame party or a hanging out past bounce-rate time on a dreadfully boring website, I’d pick the boring website any day of the week. Maybe because I’m that geeky and spending time home alone surfing the web sounds just borderline “social” enough to be booked in my diary for Friday night.
Probably more likely because I can leave the website quicker than I can the party. “Social obligation” time is cut by 99% online; If I’m not into it, I’m out with one click. No need to give the party-host an extra hug or make up an excuse about starting work early tomorrow. I just leave.
And if this doesn’t epitomise the issue of attracting and retaining web traffic, then I don’t know what is.
Your website, like a good party, needs to follow some general party rules if it’s going to be one where your guests stick around. Pre-made, frozen, from-a-box nibbles and random selection of party guests isn’t going to cut it, and you’ll find your (potential) customers will be planning their escape route from the moment they’re in the door.
My post on 5 excuses your website gives supporters a reason to leave is up on Probono Australia today. Not-for-profit or not, your website is your most valuable piece of real estate. Use it to host the best party possible.