A sticky website is one where people stay a nice long while and come back regularly to see what’s new.
How important is it to make your studio’s site sticky? Imagine parents in your community visiting all the dance studio websites in your area to determine where to take their daughter for class. Would you prefer they linger on yours or that of your competitor(s)?
Making your website sticky means encouraging visitors to spend some time there, which is not an easy task with the myriad of distractions online. Using the techniques below, however, can help keep visitors right where you want them — exploring your dance school through your website, and giving them ample reason and opportunity to act upon their interest!
1. Content is King!
The easiest way to keep visitors around (and coming back for more) is to offer well written, interesting and relevant content. Offer both dry but important information such as your studio policies and recital handbook, and punchier, fun items such as latest competition results and studio news.
Your website will ideally answer visitors’ questions effectively, lead them to important points, and entice them with calls to action throughout the site. What is meant by ‘calls to action’?
Examples of effective calls to action are:
- ‘Call us now for more information at (234) 555-6789’,
- ‘Click here to register online now’, or
- ‘Sign up for classes today, and receive a free studio t-shirt!’
Content is the key to a sticky website. If there is nothing there, then there is no reason for your audience to stay.
2. Keep it clean
What first impression does your website give? Although we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, appearance is the first thing people notice, and it sets the tone for their entire visit. Whether the tone is professional or amateurish, warm or cold, catering to adults or the younger set will make a real difference in the way people view your studio.
People will not remain on a studio website that is cluttered and confusing. We’ve all been on a site that overdoes it with colors, font styles, graphics and technical gadgetry. My personal first impression in such cases is usually irritation and a vague sense of disappointment, and I can’t get off those sites quickly enough.
It’s best to make your website clean, straightforward and consistent, with a uniform appearance. Using the same backgrounds, colors, navigation menu and site logo throughout your pages will help create a good first impression, and first impressions matter!
3. Make Your Studio Website Sticky, Not Stuck
A sticky website is one where a visitor arrives and finds it difficult to leave. You want people to spend time on your site, but not because it takes a long while to figure out how to navigate through it.
Ease of navigation is imperative and a vital component of a sticky site. Visitors will only click around so long to in order to get the information they are looking for. Once they become confused or agitated, feeling ‘stuck’, moving to another site becomes inevitable. Intuitive and consistent navigation bars help visitors feel at ease with your website and, by extension, your studio.
Every part of a successful website functions like a well-oiled superbly made machine. If parents can register online through your website, facilitate their passage through the process. Make it clear, step by step, what they need to do to successfully register and/or make payments online.
How easy it is to maneuver through your website is an indication of how easy and pleasurable it will be to belong to your studio!
4. Keep Your Site Fresh
Does your audience have a reason to return to your site? The first time someone visits your site, everything is fresh and appealing. If they come back to your site and nothing has changed, you’ve missed a vital opportunity to market to them. And visitors will not keep coming back if they feel they’ve already seen it all.
It’s super important to update and rotate your content to attract new visitors and keep them coming back for more. If you’re having a difficult time thinking of ways to do this, try offering a dance-related quote of the week or “Teachers’ Tip of the Month” on your news page.
Have a production coming up? Have your students just participated in a parade? Are you offering a discount for those who register early for class? Have new recital photos to share? These are all opportunities to freshen up your content.
And in doing so, you answer every returning user’s question: “What’s new?”
5. Make it personal
People are more interested in connecting with a person than a collection of content. You can bridge the gap and help first time visitors feel comfortable making contact with your studio by personalizing your website. Doing so also results in return visits from your current students and/or their parents. You are building community, and giving your visitors something to belong to.
Think of your website as a personality, and as an extension of your studio. Make it welcoming, accessible and inclusive. Your customers (and newbies) will love to learn about and see photos of a teacher’s newborn or the ongoing progress of a studio expansion. Adding faculty photos, writing your newsletters in a personal tone, using video and including personal details and stories of life at the studio will help you engage with your website visitors and help them feel connected.
Because the internet can be cold and impersonal, personalizing your website can go a long way towards making people feel part of your studio family. And when visitors feel like they are a part of something, they’ll stay on a website longer.
Create a warm community feel to your site — a sure-fire way to increase your site’s stickiness.
Do you have suggestions on how to create a sticky dance studio website? Please share any thoughts in the comments section below.