9 Characteristics of a "Sticky" Website That Keeps Your Visitors Coming Back For More

Dean Mercado Website Tips

It’s one thing to drive traffic to your website once, it’s quite another to get those visitors to come back… let alone come back often.

Think about it, you get invited to a friend’s house for a little get together. How would you feel if all they did was talk about themselves all night? Probably pretty bored and maybe even a tad bit annoyed… right? Let alone be motivated enough to attend their next gathering. So why is it then that so many websites out there do precisely that? They focus on me, me, me and not enough on the people who really matter… their target market.

Here’s a little secret for you. Your target market doesn’t care that much about you to sit their and listen to you go on and on about yourself. Their main concern is themselves and what you can do for them.

Let me ask you, is your website all about you or is it all about adding value to your target market? Does your website pass the “stickiness” test? In other words, do your visitors keep coming back? If so why? These are all serious questions that any small business with a website needs to answer.

In order to answer questions like these, it’s important for us to discover what exactly makes a website sticky in the first place. Well a great way to explore this concept is with an ad hoc case study. For me, I sat down with a pen and paper and just brainstormed a few different websites that I frequented often. Who were they? And why did I keep going back? Let’s take a look at one of those websites, Amazon.com. First off, I realized that I visit that site quite often, usually several times a week. Now the big question was why. So here’s what I came up with… 9 characteristics that made their website sticky for me and kept me, the visitor, coming back for more:

  1. They feed my insatiable appetite for what they offer… books… and they’ve got a phenomenal selection
  2. They fuel my desire to consume more books by emailing me occasionally new recommendations based on my purchasing history
  3. They make it easy for me to find out what’s new in the subjects as well as authors I’m interested in
  4. I can express my opinions by both rating and reviewing books on their web site
  5. They peak my curiosity by making me wonder what books they’re going to recommend for me each time I visit their website
  6. They personalize my experience by using my name on their website and customizing the home page I see based on my preferences
  7. They create a sense of community by allowing me to connect with other like-minded people as “friends”
  8. They feed my ego by allowing me to position myself as an expert in any subject matter I choose by creating “Listmania!” lists and “So you’d like to…” guides
  9. And lastly, they allow me to help others make great decisions by rating and reviewing books, creating “Listmania!” lists and writing those “So you’d like to…” guides

Now just to place some perspective on this exercise, I do understand that Amazon.com has a bit more money to spend on their website than your typical small business; however there is still a lot we can learn from great websites such as theirs. And not all of the greatness that their website brings to the table cost big bucks. Take a closer look and see if there are any concepts you can learn from and model on your website.

Also it’s important to consider what your target market would want from your website. Maybe it’s all 9 of the characteristics I’ve shared… maybe it’s additional characteristics that didn’t show up in my ad-hoc Amazon.com case study. The best way to find out is to just ask your target market. Additionally, find out what websites they frequent and why. You may be surprised at what you find out.

In closing, I sincerely believe you will find that the more you continually look for ways to make your visitor’s experience a dynamic one, the more likely they will come back… over and over again. And the more they come back, the more likely they are to buy.

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