The 7 Strategies… Strategy 3: Be Sticky

Most websites are not sticky. They have poor navigation and are not very interesting.

What is ‘Being Sticky’?

Ever get to a page and feel like the information reads like this? >>>

Other people feel the same way. Possibly about your website.

Being sticky is kind of a mindset. You have to think creatively, but understand the deep-rooted principles of web design. You have to understand your customer intimately, and what drives them to buy, to read, to be enticed.

The Benefit to Your Business

Reduces bounce rate. The primary indicator of being sticky is a low bounce rate. The bounce rate of your website is how many people leave after only one page (they “bounce” away from your website.) We talk more about bounce rate here.

Being sticky reduces this.

The more they read, the more familiar they are with you. The more familiar they are, the more they’ll understand value. The more value they understand, the more they buy (or call). And therefore, the more money you make.

The Elements of Stickiness

The Players


Each product or service web PAGE must have these 4 elements

Customer-centric functionality. If you think like a customer, you’re going to be better off developing content for your website. Each product or service page (although it’s a great principle to apply to any page that has an argument) must have these 4 elements:

  • Description – Each page must clearly indicate what that page is about. This is easy to understand and more difficult to implement than you might think.
  • Benefit – Any page that does NOT think of the benefit to the customer loses. Period.
  • Comparison – Why is this product/service better than your competitors?
  • Proof – Prove it! Proof is often overlooked. This is the most creative of the four elements – and can be fun if you approach it correctly.

A previous article covers the 4 elements in depth.

Great design. You not only have to look good, but function well. If you’re navigation is lame or general layout unappealing, you’re sunk.

Incentives. Giving customers a reason to stick with you and read more is an art. Creating incentive is the expression of that art.

How many elements of great calls to action did you get?

Calls to Action. We have previously identified in an article the 7 critical elements that great calls to action all have. It’s not merely enough to say what you do; you have to tell your customers what to do next.

Interaction. Encouraging customers to interact with you is critical to your stickiness.

  • Polls. Creating polls can be that push that customers need to consider you worthy of buying from.
  • Toll-Free phone number. Making it easy to call you is another form of being sticky. It shows that you’re serious about business and professional (and yes, we’re going to get a toll-free number this year!)
  • Tout your customer service. If you have great customer service, then tout it. Don’t hesitate to show your interactive superiority off!

The Tactics Involved


You lose customers every page they click on. Being Sticky is all about reducing drop off.

Landing page optimization. There are many elements to landing page optimization, but the primary concept here is that if there is great content and thoughtful structure on any page that your customer lands, you’re going to reduce bounce rate.

Content building. The more content you have, the more people you can attract. This is especially powerful if you can identify what your customer is interested in. That means you can create specific pages for landing upon… helps in traffic, helps them stay.

A creative article can lead directly to your sale. What's more, you can track it through analytics.

Creative writing. Get creative! Using creative writing through incentives is an art. Creating text and imagery that is emotionally provoking is powerful in keeping customers glued to the screen.

Real Simple Syndication (RSS): Allowing customers to easily gain access to your developing (new) content without having to go back to your website is immensely powerful. Learn the ways of RSS.

What you can do, right now.

How to Identify if your Strategy is not sticky enough.

Bounce rate is critical for analyzing stickiness.

High Bounce Rate. If you find high bounce rates on your analytics, then do something about it. All websites have seemingly high bounce rates, so don’t panic when you actually look at the data. What you’re trying to get a feel for here is the relativebounce rate between pages. Sort from highest to lowest bounce rates, and try to identify common problems.

Do something about it.

Analyze. You gotta analyze your bounce rate data to determine stickiness.

  • Use Google Analytics to fix the highest bounce rate pages. Identify the highest bounce rate pages (that have actual data – don’t pick high bounce rate pages with only a few visits – the data is skewed) and try to understand why. Can you identify a particular element about it?

Usability testing. Grab 5 people and do some c’mere testing. What’s c’mere testing? You grab someone in the office and say, “C’mere – which one do you like better?” It’s fast, it’s easy and it works. This works at many levels…

  • The elements of a page: swap out images and ask if they like red or blue?
  • The page itself. If you have a page that has a high bounce rate, and you’re stumped. Ask someone what they don’t like about the page. Sometimes it triggers the answer.
  • Site-wide usability testing. Extend the testing to include all pages, and ask people to find stuff. It works.

Brainstorming. Take some customers aside and start asking questions:

  • What would they like to see on the website?
  • What interests do they have?
  • How do they use this type of product?
  • What frustrates them about using this type of product?

Then go write some new pages. We did this recently and wrote about the experience of brainstorming with customers.

Redesign. Don’t be shy about redesigning. Even on our website here, most people like the design but we’re cringing (who said you can’t be a perfectionist?). We know where it doesn’t work, yet. And we’re going to redesign it as soon as we get 20 free hours. But here’s some way to rethink your website.

  • Optimize existing pages with the 4 questions.
    • DESCRIPTION – Service: What do you do? / Product: What do you sell?
    • BENEFIT – What is the benefit of this product/service to the customer?
    • COMPARISON – Why is this product/service better than your competitors?
    • PROOF – Prove it!
  • Create new pages based upon customer searches. Are you tracking your customer searches through Analytics? These are things that people searched your site for. If you take a look at them, then you might find that some of the searches do not have happy endings – they bounce. Sometimes they search for something you don’t have. That might give you an idea or two on how to shape new content.
  • [/default_list]
    Write. Most Important: Write great content. Without a deeper connection to your browsers, without emotionally triggering them, your website just isn’t sticky.

    • Article series. Create a series of articles that are meant to be read in sequence, like here and here. Keep on developing new content on your website, then distribute through your subscription channels; there will always be something for your interested browsers to look at that is timely
    • Make it easy to reconnect. Implement RSS (or make RSS noticeable, visibly.) If you don’t know how to do this, it’s pretty simple with programs like WordPress.
    • Encourage connection through social media sites. This is a pretty obvious one, but it bears mentioning. Mini-pulses that you send out through social networks drives traffic to your site and pretty soon others are relying upon you for great information (that is, if you have great information). Make sure that your email signatures have your social links slathered all over it like mayonnaise.

    What we do – how we help.

    We’re experts and spotting trends and finding great information to pique interest. We’ve done everything from simple consulting to creating in-house training programs and fully-blown sticky campaigns.

    What now?

    Here is some further reading on Stickiness that you might enjoy! You also might want to check out our Be Sticky services page.

    Our articles on Being Sticky.

    Other great articles.

    Greg Cox

    Analytics Geek. Gregory likes Motorcycles, Cooking, and Sciencey stuff.