Web Design

Sticky Websites That Convert

Making Sticky Web Sites Thick

Our Internet buzzword for this issue is: Sticky!

No, it’s not how your keyboard feels after someone spills orange juice on it. Because most online sales haven’t really met expectations, many big-money consumer websites instead focus on the stickiness of their site.

Okay, what does that mean? It means that the site can keep a visitor on it by providing a lot of useful, interesting or entertaining content. It’s usually measured in how much time the average viewer spends on the site in a month. A very “sticky” site, like Ebay, has visitors spend an average of two hours a month on it. Measuring stickiness most of the time means that you’ll have to track what individuals do, not just some massive movements on your site. So you’ll have to have them register or place cookies on their computers if you really want to know that much detail.

Do you want your site to be sticky? That depends on what you’re doing on the Web. Are you offering an information site, like the one we’ve got for VentureConsult.com? Or is your model to provide entertainment or to sell advertising? If so, you’ll want to make your site attractive for people to browse and give them reasons to stay around. Some of the tactics that can be used are free email, free webpages, games, auctions, chat, message boards and exchanges. Unless you’ve got really big bucks, though, it’s best to stick to what you do well. It would be tough for us to do great games on this site — and they’d only be useful if they were also learning tools. Having Big Business Blaster on our site, where gamers use various weapons to mow down Wal-Mart and Home Depot, might be fun. But it wouldn’t really add anything to what we’re trying to offer. And developing it would take resources away from the other things that we do.

If you’re trying to sell something on your site, you need to really SELL it. That doesn’t necessarily mean slick and hard-sell. But it does mean that you may wish to focus on giving buyers the opportunity to buy. They’re going to want to know about your product, price and method of delivery. They may not want to know about your trip to the trade fair to buy the products or your trip to visit the manufacturer. A good rule to follow is: Does what you’re saying answer the questions someone would ask if they were examining your product or buying your service in your store? Not just shooting the breeze, although you do want your web site to be friendly and accessible. And, certainly, if you make your own product, telling people about your designs or how you select raw materials or what kind of training you’ve had is valuable. So is your trip to buy product IF it relates to the quality of that product or if the product is decorative and a good story enhances its value.

So, do you want your e-commerce site to be sticky? Not particularly. You want people to be able to get in, find the product that they need easily, perhaps sell them some accessories or another product, and then get them smoothly through checkout and get the product to them. Do you want to spend a lot of time in a physical store finding aisles blocked so that you’ve got to take the long way to the checkout register? Isn’t it better to be able to pick up the product and go? A great Portland Maine website designer will tell you that no matter what you do to your websites, split testing is always the key to archive the best optimization for conversion.

When you’re designing your site to sell, make sure that it does the job you want.