Stickiness is essentially visitor retention – immediate engagement so that a visitor wants to look around your site on a first visit and long-term engagement that keeps folks coming back. So… How to give your website that adhesive quality to decrease your bounce rate and retain loyal fans?
Let’s look at a few of the most effective ways to increase stickiness. (To increase stickiness physically, though this is counterintuitive, don’t have honey in the middle of your palm the first time you shake someone’s hand.)
“Relevance, Your Honor?”
Probably the most important aspect of stickiness is relevance. How do you make your website relevant? There are two primary considerations: who are you talking to, and what are you talking about?
The “who” is your target audience – the basic demographic of the folks you are trying to reach. The “what” is the core message of your site: What do you have to say? What useful information can you provide?
Consider expanding the functionalities of your site. Give people visiting your site meaningful ways to engage rather than just posting a bunch of things from your own perspective. What about a forum or a contest?
Sounds strange – I know. But while people do want contents, they don’t want it all jammed together. On the Internet, people prefer the country to the city. Well… The suburbs, I guess.
People often want to be able to scan your site and see if you have what they are looking for, rather than immediately reading every word. Make each paragraph as short as possible. Put in lots of headings to sections, as I do in this piece. If you have a laundry list, try using bullets or numbers.
Navigation & Clutter
Make your site as clean as possible. It doesn’t matter how dense your content is. A child should be able to work their way around it. This, friends, is why people applaud a site that is “intuitive.” Even if your site is complex, those complexities should all be a part of an easy-to-understand system.
Think in terms of priority – what do your customers most want to see, and what do you most want them to see? Strike a balance between those two concerns. (Note: people love pop-up ads only if they are simple and noninvasive. Just ask for their SSN.)
Okay, we just made your website sticky. Now, let’s both put some money on our palms and shake hands – and subsequently vow to never, ever do it again.
What have you experienced that made people engage with your website? How sticky are you? Are honey handshakes acceptable – or even advisable perhaps – in your culture?