To most people stickiness refers to the result of glue, honey, or chewing gum. To a website owner it resembles something quite different. Website stickiness refers to the amount of time a website visitor spends at your website. The more sticky your website is, the longer people are staying there. Which is a good thing of course!
Recently, I have made a few changes to my weblog, some small and fairly insignifant, others a little more noticeable. In this post I want to share with you the tricks I have learnt, to help increase your site stickiness.
Get Feedburner to manage your RSS Feed
Until last month I was using the wordpress in-built rss functionality to manage my feed. I didn’t get any stats from my feed, so I had no idea how many rss subscribers I had. It also didn’t offer any interactivity with my website.
Now that I have moved my feed over to Feedburner I can study it more accurately, I can see exactly how many people are viewing my site through RSS readers, and I can offer my subscribers more functionality from within my feed.
You have the option to optimize your feed from the Feedburner site. You can include many “feed flares” like a “Digg this”, “Add to Del.icio.us”, “Comment Count”, “Email Author”, “Email this”, “Subscribe to Feed”, or any combination of the above mentioned. These flares are displayed below each post in your visitors feed readers.
Get the “Subscribe to Comments” Plugin
I found a great plugin (through a link from Pearsonified) the other day that allows visitors to subscribe to a certain post’s comments feed. All visitors have to do is tick a little box, enter their email address and click a button. They can now easily see if anyone has replied to their comment from the comfort of their own email inbox. If they know someone has replied to their comment they will more than likely come back to your site and reply with another comment.
Use “Read More” Buttons
After reading a great article I implemented this technique immediately on my blog. If you are too lazy to read the article, let me summarise it quickly.
How often do you have a website vistor frequenting your site for less then 15 seconds, and never leaving your home page? For me the answer is very often. The reason for this is pretty simple; you are offering them everything on one cluttered page, and there is no need for them to visit an internal page of your site.
The default settings for wordpress are to display 10 posts on the home page, with the full text of each post showing. Go into the “reading” options of your wordpress backend and change the amount of posts on your home page to 3, 4 or 5. Besides enticing visitors to click on buttons to find more posts, this should also increase your site’s load time as it is loading less text and images.
Think carefully about what you write in your first couple paragraphs of each post, entice your visitors to continue reading. Then put a “Read More” tag that takes your visitors to a seperate page with the entire article displayed there.
They’ve now moved on from your home page (just like you have from mine :)), and will probably stay a bit longer on your blog. They will also now have the comments all viewable below the post, on it’s seperate page. This might encourage them to leave a comment!
Improve your site navigation system
A user-friendly site navigation menu is very important in keeping your visitors on your site. If your site visitors are confused by your navigation system they will leave immediately. Think carefully about where you place your buttons. Study your website statistics, and optimise your site accordingly. I use Google Analytics, which has a great feature called “Site Overlay”. It displays your website within a form and has information regarding which buttons people are clicking on over it.
Arrange your pages using the “post order” functionality in the wordpress backend. By default, most templates arrage the pages alphabetically and completely bypass the order you have specified. To fix this problem simply open up your sidebar template (or whichever template your page menu is displayed on) in the theme editor and change this line of code:
Now arrange your pages however you wish be. Make sure your most popular buttons are in the best space.
That’s it for now. If you like what you have read, or have some further advice to improve site stickiness, then leave a comment below.
There will be a follow up post to this one, with some stats, to prove to you these tricks work 🙂
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