How Sticky Is Your Site?

By Alexis Rodrigo | Blogging

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Feb 12

Website owners are obsessed with their traffic. You want to know how many people visit your site every day. And for good reason. You work hard to publish quality content and, naturally, you want to reach as many people as we can.

Day 355/365 - The Sticky Man

However, unless you built a website to make thousands in Google Adsense revenue, you'll want your site not only to be popular, but also “sticky.”

Just what is a sticky site? It's one where visitors arrive and “stick” or hang around. They hop around, reading several pages. They spend a few minutes on your site, possibly even posting a comment. In other words, they don't just have a peek and then leave.

The best kind of stickiness is when readers who've been to your site keep coming back for more.

Measuring Your Site's Stickiness

How do you know how sticky your site is? Using Google Analytics or a similar web metric tool, you'll want to take a look at the following statistics:

  • Bounce Rate
  • Average Time on Site
  • Pages/Visit
  • % New Visits

Let's talk about each one.

Bounce Rate is the percentage of readers who leave your site after looking at only one page. They may have read one blog post and then moved on. Or maybe they took one look at your site, decided it was not right for them, and left. The bottom line is, you want this number to be as low as possible.

Average Time on Site is the average length of time your visitors stay on your site. For this number, the higher the better.

Pages/Visit means the average number of pages your readers visit every time they're on your site. Your site is sticky if your readers visit several pages before leaving. Again, we want this number to be on the high side.

% New Visits gives the percentage of site visitors who arrived on your site for the very first time. Therefore, we don't want this number to be too high, because that would mean that our previous visitors aren't returning to consume our new content.

However, if we're doing something to promote the site and increase our traffic, then this figure would naturally be high, as the infusion of fresh visitors will jack up this percentage.

How to Get Stickier

I've been working to optimize a client's site. After a few minor tweaks, we've observed the following results in the first month (these are compared to statistics in the six-month period before we made changes on the site):

  • The bounce rate decreased by 17.93%. This means a smaller percentage of visitors were leaving after seeing only one page.
  • Average Time on Site increased by 54.94%, from 1 minute 39 seconds, to 2 minutes 33 seconds. Visitors are staying longer on the site. Good!
  • Pages/Visit increased by 15.43%, from 1.54 pages to 1.78 pages. Visitors are reading more pages. Good!
  • % New Visits went up by 5.93% from 66.49% to 70.43%. This makes sense, because we've also been promoting the site to increase the traffic. Still, we'd like to encourage more of our visitors to keep returning.

How did we get these results? The changes we made were actually quite simple, for example:

  • We reorganized the home page so that instead of displaying static content, as it did previously, it would show the latest posts.
  • We activated a related-posts plugin. This plugin displays a list of related posts at the bottom of each post. I've used Yet Another Related Posts Plugin, as well as LinkWithin.
  • We published new posts more frequently. The blog was previously neglected with an erratic publishing schedule. However, we began publishing a new blog post twice a week.
  • We're also going to promote new posts to my client's list subscribers, to bring them back to the blog regularly.

How About You?

As you can see, it doesn't take a lot of work or effort to increase your site's stickiness. What changes can you make today to make your site stickier?

PS: If you need help to make your site stickier and more effective, contact me so we can discuss how you can get the support you need.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tiago Rïbeiro


About the Author

Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.