Sticky websites are good!It's Good to Be Sticky

by Gail Breese

 

I'm not talking about Velcro, glue or tape, or even a hot, humid day in the tropics, but I am referring to websites - and blogs for that matter. So what is a sticky website?

When your visitors enjoy spending time on your site because your information is interesting and it's fun to be there, you have a sticky website. This is not to be confused with getting your site listed with search engines or other promotional tools so that people can find your website. This is also important, but if your site isn't sticky it may get lots of 'hits' initially but your visitors won't stick around and will leave, maybe never to return.

To keep visitors on your site it needs to give them what they are looking for. Apart from the obvious content, i.e. as a writer, your books etc., you could find out what sort of information they really want and then give it to them.

There are many ways of doing this.

Content

The main reason people visit your site is for information. Keeping it fresh and interesting will encourage visitors to stay longer and to return frequently.

Creating a community

Having an easily recognisable link to email you is one way but many visitors will not want to ask questions outright but they might feel happier visiting a forum, a chat room or commenting on a guest book page. These are available on the web to use on your site, and most of them are free, easy to download and install. People like to feel they belong so by creating a community your visitors will stay longer.

Answer any queries straight away. This lets your visitors know that you are interested and are checking your site regularly. A stagnant site quickly becomes a boring site.
 
Information and Incentives

Many visitors would be interested to learn how to do what you do, so to offer them tutorials, how-to articles and perhaps competitions where you could offer copies of your books or services as prizes.  This would be an incentive to visitors to visit often and spend more time on your site because it's interesting and satisfying to be there. 

Keep it fun.

Puzzles and Quizzes are a good way to keep your visitors entertained and staying longer. Puzzles such as Sudoku or crosswords, word wheels, brainteasers and wordsearch are popular.  Google will search out a huge list of sites for these.

Update Frequently

Keep the content updated or add new content. No new content for a week or so will stop your visitors from coming back.

What if you run out of content? This could become an issue if you have put all your information on the site and don't have anything new of your own. If your visitors have left comments of what they'd like to see, then you should have lots of ideas for articles. But if all else fails, there is a plethora of websites offering free-to-use content. There is news, entertainment, syndicated articles, competitions, on this day in history, horoscopes and even jokes. Type "Free website content" into Google and there are many pages to choose from.

Clear Design and Navigation

Visually, your website needs to be clear and interesting. Having a logical and consistent navigation design in the same place on all pages would make your visitor's experience more enjoyable and easier to find the information they are seeking. Use buttons that complement your design and the all-important text hyperlinks. (See previous articles on designing websites.)

A recognisable 'branding' with your logo, name, layout and colours. As in most successful design: less is more, so keep images and text in a pleasing balance that allows for clarity in the search for information.

|image2|Bookmarking Stickiness

Being sticky reminds me of cartoons where the character touches some glue and a length of elastic sticky goo stretches from their finger back to the source. In effect, they are stuck to that source and will find it hard to leave. OK, it's a bit far fetched so another way to help your visitors return to your site for another sticky session is bookmarks.

Make it easy for your visitors to return to your site. It is simple but a lot of people forget to ask their visitors to bookmark their site. Make it easy for them to return. Put a bookmark button on every page. You can find the script for this function on the internet.

This is a site where you can just fill in a form and the code is created for you. http://www.htmlbasix.com/bookmark.shtml

And this site has the code you can copy and paste into your webpage. It explains how to do it.
 
http://www.dynamicdrive.com/dynamicindex9/addbook.htm

These are just two examples: there are many more to choose from.

Remember to keep the pages short (no seemingly endless scrolling) and reduce the amount of clicks a visitor needs to make to get to the information they want.

Putting all this together:

1. Your site is fresh and easy to navigate.
2. Your site is a "Community" - a friendly place to be.
3. Your site has tutorials, how-to articles and competitions.
4. Your site is interesting and fun.
5.  Your site has regular updates and new information.
6. Your site makes things easy for return visitors.

© Gail Breese

 

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