10 Ways to Increase Website Stickiness
By Deborah Sauter
Not only are users browsing your website looking for a reason to engage, but
they are speaking to a coworker, watching TV, holding a conference call...you
get the point. Internet users are notorious for multi-tasking and, in addition,
there are many options out there for users to find the same information on your
Web pages. Increasingly, people are looking past a company or brand as a lone
source of information. They are looking to competing websites, message boards,
forums and each other.
So how do we compete and keep the users on our sites?
The best ways to capture a users’ attention and keep them coming back are to
strategize and plan your content architecture, leverage technology to assist in
the effort, and incorporate the user’s voice. Here are 10 ways you can start
improving your website’s stickiness today:
1. Make Initial Site Interaction Seamless
The initial interaction with your site is critical. By limiting bottlenecks (e.g. forced flash intros and slow load times) your users will see the content quickly and not bounce directly off your site.
2. Make Initial Site Interaction Relevant
The main door to your site no longer needs to be the home page. This all-encompassing uberpage gives a great overview of site offerings but does a poor job of presenting user-specific content. Look at your site’s top referrers, search terms and campaigns and make sure you have relevant landing pages. If a user is referred to your site from Google after searching “iPod skins,” the landing page content should be highly relevant to “iPod skins” and not a general page that does not speak to the need.
3. Make it Easy for Them to Find Their Way
A little known fact is that internal site search converts three times better than traditional global navigation. A prominent search box providing relevant results is essential. Spend time each month mining your internal search data for failed searches and misspellings to continually optimize your internal search engine and ensure that users are finding what they need.
4. Serve Dependable, Fresh Content
Get your users addicted to what you offer and serve it to them in a consistent place on your site. Utilizing an advanced CMS system will ensure that you are able to serve content in an efficient and consistent manner. Less time will be spent administering the site and more time can be spent planning and creating new content.
5. Produce Exclusive Content
Driving consumers to exclusive Web content is a great way to keep users coming back. The World Poker Tour, for example, does a great job of publishing exclusive Web content to drive users from their TV show to the site, creating a more robust brand experience for the consumer.
6. Reduce Ad Clutter
There are creative ways to reduce visual ad clutter on your site without hurting your bottom line. Sponsorships and higher CPM ad placements can reduce the visual clutter of advertising while increasing inventory and ad revenue.
7. Start a Conversation with your Users
Users need a place to voice their opinions about your content, services or products. If you don’t give them the option, they will most certainly go somewhere else to do the same. One of the most successful examples I have seen is KPBS (KBPS.org). The San Diego-based broadcaster leverages blogs to drive online discussions about on-air content. About 60 percent of website visitors leave comments or blog on a daily basis, keeping discussions active and KPBS visitors loyal to the site.
8. Leverage User Feedback
Listening to users’ likes and dislikes helps you to keep your site optimized for your user. Using a survey platform such as SurveyGizmo will allow you to inexpensively and creatively capture user feedback on a page and site level. Other options include SurveyMonkey.com, SurveyPopups.com and Vovici.com.
9. Create and Optimize your Website’s Support Section
The support section is typically one of the most ignored areas of a website and typically consists of an antiquated anchor-linked FAQ. By leveraging technology, you can bubble up relevant support topics, have users answer each others questions and foster discussion about complex topics. Vizio, a top-10 North American flat panel television brand, uses new website support section methodology to help to reduce offline call volume.
10. Leverage Innovative Technology
With the abundance of new technology available, creating sticky sites is easier than ever. Creative video content, mashups and site-based media players will keep your site sticky and fresh.
About the Author: Deborah Sauter manages the analytics team at Digitaria (www.digitaria.com), a full-service digital marketing and technology firm headquartered in San Diego. Digitaria is the only interactive agency to have in-house consulting practices for both Omniture and Visual Sciences. Deborah can be contacted at Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org.