Stickin’ Around Web Sites
The New Measure of Stickiness
So how should stickiness be viewed as a goal—and achieved—today? When you stop thinking about ways you can hold onto consumers and start thinking about ways you can help them accomplish their goals—whether that’s information, a purchase or community interaction—you give them a good reason to go deeper. You also give them a reason to come back … serial stickiness! This, perhaps, seems simple in theory, but it requires a more thoughtful approach to execution. Creating a site that will engage visitors and keep them returning requires you to think about your site the way visitors will experience it, from the moment they walk in the door.
1. Greet your visitors at the door—every door. It’s time to stop thinking about your Web site’s front door as the only door. With more than 220 million searches per day in the United States alone, and paid search valued at roughly $8 billion this year, deep-linking—consumers entering your site on any page “below” the homepage—is the new reality.
Consider what L.L. Bean is doing. A search engine query for “backpack” turns up a paid result that takes you to the L.L. Bean backpack guide. You’re deep-linked into the site, but between the logo area, the visible “breadcrumb trail” (or the increasingly narrow product categories that led to your choice) and the introductory nature of the page, visitors know exactly where they are.
Through online advertising and subscription e-mails—a record $8 billion industry investment for 2006—millions of online visitors are clicking through from their inboxes or strategically placed ads to pages deep within your site.
What does this mean? Every page is a potential homepage, so it’s imperative to communicate your brand on every page. Whether visitors are coming from a search result, an e-mail or even a text link sent from a friend, you want to make sure they immediately get their bearings and start to feel comfortable, because only then will they be more inclined to go deeper.