Improve the Stickiness of Your Site
By Brett McCarron, webmaster
The Blame Productions
Stickiness, as applied to the web, deals with making your visitors stick around and spend more time at your site. One way to do this is to make it harder for your viewers to leave.
I'm not talking about restricting your viewers in any way, nor am I condoning any trickery or extra mouse clicks. Rather, it's as simple as changing the way your site links to external web sites. If a visitor clicks a link and leaves your site, you take it on faith that they know how to find their way back. But what if they surfed in via a link from another web site? Or from a search engine?
My recommendation is for links to external sites to pop up in a new browser window. Then when the visitor closes the browser window of the linked site, your site is waiting for them in the initial browser window. This tip is especially valuable if you manage a list of links to external sites.
Try the link shown in Example 1, which is how most webmasters create their external links. Notice how the new web page appears in the current browser window. To return to this page, you'll have to press the BACK button on your browser. Now what if your visitor looked at several pages at the linked site: would they go through the trouble of repeatedly pressing the BACK button on their browser to return to your site?
Now try the link shown in Example 2. A new browser window is opened when the link is clicked. You can delete the window when you're through, and you'll still have this page visible in the initial window. The snippet of code that makes this possible is the _target="_blank" which is added after the link URL and before the closing bracket. Be sure to include a space between the double quote of the URL and the underscore, otherwise this won't work.
Use this tip wisely. It makes sense when you include it with a series of links to external sites. It doesn't make sense if you use it with links within your web site. There's a fine line between trying to maintain the stickiness of your site and annoying your viewers.
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