Sticky Websites

A “sticky” website is one that will either encourage people to stick around for a while, or – better yet – encourage them to return to your site frequently. Sticky websites are interesting, interactive, conversational or frequently updated. The following are some ways to encourage people to visit, and re-visit your site.

  • Give It Away! – People love free stuff, there is no doubt about it. But what does an artist, performer, or writer have that someone might want? Quite a lot, actually! By giving things away for free on your site (wallpaper of paintings, songs, video of performances, podcasts of readings, information, chapbooks, etc) you can turn your audience into a marketer for you. Don’t forget that what you are giving away is not your actual work (unless you are giving that away), but representations of your work that can be shared with others and promote you in the process. Some things to keep in mind when giving things away:
    • try to brand it in some way. include your name, logo or website address – this helps people who see the work out of context find you.
    • make it high quality. if someone is sharing your work you want to make sure that they are sharing your best work. just like you wouldn’t want a poorly printed catalog or postcard, your images/video/audio should be of the highest quality that you can make available.
    • make it easy to re-share. if you can, build in the ease of sharing the work for others. don’t limit the copies or block people giving your work to their friends.
    • consider licensing all of your work under creative commons
  • Encourage Audience Participation/Interaction – Most people love to voice their opinion and contribute to a conversation, especially about things in which they are particularly interested. (And if they are interested in your art, chances are they are willing to engage in a discussions of it).
    • comments – you can set up your website to allow your audience to comment on your work or your blog posts. If you do allow comments and people begin commenting, make sure that you engage in the conversation as well. Respond to questions, thank people for the comments, and feel free to solicit additional feedback. You can also set up the comments to be “moderated,” which allows you to review comments before allowing them to be posted.
    • participation – certain types of work can take advantage of very specific types of online interaction. Some filmmakers have posted their films and asked their audience to post video responses. Other work can ask people to participate in processes of creating work or modifying the work. You might solicit other types of feedback and participation as relevant to your work. When you engage the audience in this manner they feel more invested in your site and work and will be more likely to return.
  • Update, Update, Update – consistent and frequent updates make people want to return to your site to see what you are up to.
  • Make It Easy For People – you can consider using rss feeds for images, text and audio. This allows people to know immediately (in their inbox or feed readers) when your site is updated. If you provide summaries or other links in your feeds people are likely to revisit other portions of your site.
  • Make Your Content Compelling – make your site look good and/or read well. if you provide content that is interesting or arresting, your visitors will want to share it and return to visit often.
  • Examples