On Blogging and Social Media

To help educators get started with social media and blogging

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sticky or Slow?

Posted by Nik Peachey

One the most important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that the success of a website or blog can be judged upon is the time a visitor spends on your site. The longer the time spent on your site the more interested and engaged the visitor is with your content.

You can find out how sticky your site is using GoogleAnalytics. On the 'Dashboard' you should be able to find a section on 'Site usage' and this will give you the average time that each user spends on your site.

If you click on the text it will take you to an average for each day.

Deciding what a 'good' average time on site is will be difficult as it really depends on the type of site you have, but time on site is definitely important and you should try to improve it. As you can see the average time on site over the last month for my Daily English Activities blog has been around two and a half minutes, which I'm reasonably happy with.

‘Sticky’ content is one tools that bloggers and webmasters use to keep people on their site for longer. This usually takes the form of some kind of rich media like an interactive game, video or some form a of widget.

Many blogging platforms and web based services offer a range of widgets that you can add to your site or the side column of your blog to encourage users to stay around on the site for longer. They often look very nice and add a sense of dynamism to your site especially if your site is very text driven BUT..

  • This kind of content should be used with care. Before you decide on whether to add this kind of rich content think carefully about your audience and what they come to your site for. Does the content or widget really enhance what you are offering on the site or does it just slow the site down and discourage your users from visiting again?
  • I spend a lot of time looking round at various sites and blogs and what I’m really looking for is the main content. I’m much less interested in ‘edges’ of the page. What I want is for the page to load quickly so that I can get the information I’m looking for.
  • The kind of ‘sticky’ or rich content that is useful, is usually materials that can be embedded into the actual main page and is relevant to what you are writing about. This could be a video tutorial, an interactive widget, a slide show, or an example of some materials or useful downloadable document. This kind of content can really enhance what you are offering on the site and is more likely to encourage users to return for more.
So my main question when thinking about adding ‘sticky’ content is;
  • Does it really enhance what I’m offering?
Unless the answer is a definite yes, then I would stick with simple pages that load fast. They may look less appealing, but in the end the best sticky content you can have is good writing. It’s what brings people back to your site.

How about you?
  • Do you use sticky content?
  • What kind of content keeps users on your site longer?
  • How do you try to improve the amount of time users spend on your site?
Please feel free to leave a comment.

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Hi Nik,

A couple of things I did to make my page more sticky was in always trying to provide inbound links.

I also installed the widget "link within" and although it has slowed down my page a little I found that it helped increase the amount of pages viewed on the site.

Take care,

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