Submitted by Teo Graca
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Sticky items are features on your website that keep people coming back to it after the first visit. When you hear the term “conversion” in terms of getting visitors to sign up to your opt-in email system or to buy something, you may also hear a percentage associated with that term. For example, if you have a 5% opt-in conversion, which means that for every 100 visitors, you get 5 opt-ins, that means you have lost 95 people that could have opted-in. The sticky items bring people back and provide additional chances to convert them.
Sticky Items for Your Website(s)
Sticky items can include so many different things like frequently changing, new or additional content, a calendar of events, a community based website that allows users to log in and add a profile and communicate with other members or get access to secure areas of the site, etc. All give reasons for a visitor to come back to the site. The underlying code that makes all of this work is something that you do not see – it exists, but unless you are designing the application and coding it, you never see it.
One of the visuals I frequently use in my speaking career is an iceberg. I associate it with websites in that what you see is typically just the tip of the iceberg. Full-fledged websites have so much functionality and code behind it that you don’t see. What you do see represents the 10% of the iceberg that shows above sea level. In many cases what you see might represent just 1% or less of everything a website does.
In most cases though, I have found that what you see is everything, much like an iceberg made of Styrofoam!
So many people don’t understand the power of what can be done with a website and hire a web guy to create a pretty face for their businesses – a pretty face with no brains.
As an example of this, think of a website with information only, and maybe a contact form that opens an email program on your computer, which displays the email address of the recipient. This is how people build websites in 1995. Many sites being created today by good graphic artists (that claim to be web designers) function this way. They may look nice, but they do nothing. It has no connection to a database, no logic or business intelligence underneath it – It has no brains. These are not web designers in my opinion. A true web designer turns your website into a customer generating machine that captures and shares information on the web through “sticky-items”.
Imagine a contact form that captures visitor data into a central searchable database system that can also be used as a contact management and email merge system for your newsletters, automatically creates a profile for the opt-in, sends login information and provides access to secure areas of the site, and finally, places the information into a drip marketing campaign that automatically sends useful information and tips. Imagine all of this initiated through a single opt-in form that just captures an email address and name. With one click, all of these actions can be done. This is the minimum level of design that a web designer should be able to offer. Web design is not just what a website looks like. Web design is more about what a website does. Someone that creates a look and feel for your website or blog is a “graphics designer”.
Imagine a blogging system that is syndicated through thousands or 10’s of thousands of websites and brings dynamic content to every page on your website based on matching keywords between the web page and the content. This is a powerful way to share content between blogs and websites. This is fairly sophisticated and adds to the depth of your website or blog. The dynamic content also adds to your SEO efforts in that search engines provide higher rankings when content changes frequently.
Another feature you can add to your website is a built-in interlinking strategy that links your main site and your other micro sites and visa versa. This creates inbound and outbound links that you own and control since they are your sites. Automating this adds to the depth of what the website is really doing and adds to your SEO efforts. It also keeps people coming back to your sites by providing relevant links. This is MWM at its best.
Video is a great sticky item. Integrating video into your websites and blogs can easily be done with video hosting sites like YouTube. You may have noticed the “embed” code on these sites, which can be cut and pasted into your web pages. In 2008, more than 50% of Internet traffic was generated by video. Video is now a must have for a website or blog and is another sticky item that keeps people coming back.
You can also add Twitter updates and other social media to your websites and blogs. This provides an easy way to change your content on a daily or weekly basis without having a web guy. It can be set up just once and your interaction with the social media sites changes your websites and blogs.
These are all useful ideas, but the key point is that a website visitor does not see the code behind what your website really does – they only see the tip of the iceberg. When you look for a website or blog designer, consider these things and ask for ideas. If you get ideas for look and feel only, you know you are dealing with a graphics designer and not a web designer. Look for significant back-end functionality that brings people back time and time again – look for sticky items.
From Teo's book:
Social Media Marketing and Syndication
The Evolution of Advertising
Copyright 2009 GLI Publishing
All rights reserved
Edition 1.1 eBook
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