The Six Steps to a “Sticky” Website

Why Sticky websites are better…

A sticky website isn’t simply a website that fell into a vat of delicious strawberry jam. A sticky website is one that compels visitors to stick (around).

Let me be clear about something: You want a sticky website.

A sticky website means more customers, more fans, more clients, more patients–more of whatever it is you’re trying to garner by having a website.

A non-sticky website is one that causes visitors to abandon it right away.

When visitors don’t want to stick around, your website’s bounce rate increases.

The higher the bounce rate, the worse-off your SEO (search engine optimization) will be–all other things being equal.

Stickiness means pretty much everything when it comes to your website–which is why I’m going to credit the book, “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath along with prolificliving.com for the graphic below (which summarizes the core concepts of the aforementioned book nicely)

Did you notice something? You did? Well done! That’s right. These six factors together make an easy and positive-sounding acronym: “SUCCESS”

Breaking Down the Six Elements of SUCCESS

Simplicity

Simplicity doesn’t mean barren, but it does mean “no extra clutter”. Simplicity provides focus and clarity. Along with several other elements, simplicity adds to “understandability” which is crucial in getting users to engage. People flee from what they don’t understand, and this applies to your website as well. KISS (Keep it simple, stupid).

 

Unexpectedness

The applicability of this facet is perhaps the most controversial. You don’t necessarily want your website to be shocking or even surprising.

This may be important for urban legends going viral, but it should be applied with a scalpel to your website–if at all. One way in which it’s fair to say this is helpful is with making sure that your website is uniquely useful. Being exceptionally well-made, filled with good content, and extraordinarily well-suited to solve a given problem is exactly the kind of unexpectedness that’s in order.

 

Concreteness

Along with simplicity, concreteness goes a long way in helping your website to become more understandable and accessible. Having clear, actional items on your website that users can engage with in real ways (such as requesting an appointment) are always going to be better than vague abstractions.

The home page of a house-painting business is better with a clear CTA (call-to-action) and demonstration of value (testimonials) than with a long, abstract explanation on the history of paint and how it has affected human society.

 

Credibility

Social proof and believability matter for absolutely everything. This is why testimonials are such a boon.

This is also why people become skeptical at prices or claims that sound “too good to be true”. Credibility, reliability, and trust are all related. Proving that you can do or provide what you say you can and that you can be trusted throughout the process is essential when it comes to encouraging visitors to stick around and engage.

In some ways, this is even more crucial with websites than it is in the context of the book, “Made to Stick”. We’re not talking about how believable one finds an idea. We’re talking about how reliable and credible the visitor finds you, the website owner. This will affect how they see everything on your website.

 

Emotion

Like with unexpectedness, this is a double-edged sword that can harm your website’s efficacy when applied incorrectly.

Unlike urban legends, a website needs to only invoke positive emotions such as comfort, excitement, and warmth. It’s also about the emotions that your website doesn’t invoke, including frustration and confusion. Use emotion to your advance while still being sincere and genuine, and your website will go far.

 

Stories

It’s easy to go too far with story-telling. Most people who like telling stories, really just like talking about themselves: their interests, opinions, biography, and intentions. All of these things are boring except to the person saying them out loud.

Your website should look at the concept of a “story” differently. The story of your website is the journey you take the user on. People don’t see an entire tapestry and make an assessment all at once–of anything. They think and process data in a linear fashion. Too many websites behave like a chef who just throws 8 courses on the table at once instead of guiding the customer down a path.

If you think of your website as a story, you can determine how your users behave, why they’re behaving that way, and how to give them just enough of a sense of choice that they feel free while still doing exactly the actions that you want them to. You need to take users down a guided path that they feel they can leave at any time but don’t because they feel compelled to move onward.

 

A Couple Caveats…

Now, it’s important to note that this popular psychology book is talking about ideas and stories broadly. Many of the examples are chain letters, urban legends, and specific marketing tactics.

A website can be much more (or less) than a single idea or string of information. It’s also a “place” in the sense that there’s a sense of space, navigation, and movement. It’s not merely an idea to be repeated or not.

Also, some variations of the components cited by the SUCCESS acronym may make your website sticky for all the wrong reasons. A broad example: If your website is so shockingly (unexpectedly) bad that everyone shares it to join in collective derisive laughter… it may be possible that this isn’t such a good thing.

And, true, when it comes to websites, there are additional factors, including ones we often talk about, that make users more likely to stick around and engage.

 

Conclusion

Apply the SUCCESS model to your website even though it will probably mean scrapping a lot of existing content and combine other bits of information.

Think from the perspective of your audience and keep them compelled to follow the trail you’ve set out for them. Don’t hesitate to work with us at SolicitiCloud.

Developing websites that are “made to stick” is our profession and our passion. Give your users a reason to engage and never leave them confused or frustrated. Soon, you’ll have a website so sticky that visitors won’t be able to help themselves but engage.