What Makes a Sticky Site?

Learn what makes a website, mobile app or any other interactive digital property sticky. Learn more about UX Design from Kent State here!

It’s no secret that we live in a digital world. The Internet has forever shifted the way that we listen to music, watch videos, read the news and connect with people from all over the world. When it comes to marketing and advertising, brands often try to make an impact with consumers using a variety of media, while hosting them all on a single website.

The goal is to develop a sticky site–providing content that is rich and informative, designed in a visually appealing, intuitive, and easy-to-navigate layout. Effective content and design will hold a visitor’s attention and encourage him or her to spend as much time on the site as possible and to come back frequently to check if any new material has been added.

As a UXD professional, your job is to build a product that is not only captivating and appealing from both a visual and usability perspective, but that also gives the end-users something that is compelling enough to capture and keep their attention.

Before this goal can be accomplished, it’s important to understand the components that make up a good sticky site. Here are a few key elements:

Intuitive and Easy Navigation

Nothing is more frustrating than visiting a website that is so cluttered that the user becomes overwhelmed and frustrated at not being able to find anything. While this may increase the time that an individual spends on a particular site, it also raises the likelihood that the individual will never visit that site again. Forbes suggested that websites should present the most important pages that visitors will find valuable in the header on the homepage, while including a detailed sitemap in the footer that allows users to identify the content they’re looking for and quickly jump to those pages.

A Good Blog

Generally speaking, when it comes to high-traffic websites, site referrals usually occur because of the information housed on the page. In the digital space, content is king, and without good material, a website can quickly lose relevance and become obscure. One of the safeguards against this is the inclusion of an informational, well-written blog, according to American Express. This, more than anything, can help keep pageviews up and bounce rates down. It’s also important to remember that blogs require meticulous maintenance in the form of new and fresh content that is updated frequently.

Call-to-action

The goal of any good sticky site is to drive high conversion rates. Whether a company is advertising a product for sale or trying to secure potential sales leads that can be followed up later, neither of these goals can be accomplished without a clear call-to-action (CTA) message. There are many clever ways to present CTAs on a website. This can be done using simple text or even a visual button that visitors can click on. Whatever the method, the most important thing is using a compelling reason to persuade a site visitor to take action.

As a UXD professional, you’ll want to consider these points, as well as others, when building a website, mobile app or any other interactive digital property. The term sticky is exactly what it means. You want people to stick around and engage with your product. But first and foremost, you have to give them a reason to do so, and it starts with providing great content.

Explore our blogs posts that go into more depth on three important aspects of a sticky site:

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He is an Associate Professor in the Evaluation and Measurement program within the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University. He is also the program coordinator for the online Master of Education degree in Research, Measurement, and Statistics.
Dr. Astrid N. Sambolín Morales is an Assistant Professor in Kent State Online’s 100% Online Master of Education degree in Cultural Foundations. She received her PhD in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from the University of Colorado Boulder and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research provides a more nuanced picture of the agency, resistance, and empowerment enacted by displaced Puerto Rican m(others) in the U.S., and her work was funded by several grants, including the University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center, the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education, the URBAN Research Network, and the NAEd Spencer Foundation.
Felesia McDonald, ’14 is an adjunct instructor in the iSchool, teaching courses in the 100% Online Master of Science in User Experience. McDonald is also the Sr Manager UX Design at Optum, a branch of UnitedHealth Group.