Site Planning for a Sticky, Future-proofed Web Site

Site planning to make your site “Sticky” might include the following strategies:

  • Comments Section: Let the visitors post comments, suggestions, etc.
  • Forums: But visitors have to use these. An empty forum looks bad.
  • Registering for updates
  • Asking visitors to tell their friends about the site
  • Visitors are encouraged to explore the site by the easy-to-use design and navigation
  • Posting newsletters or eZines keep visitors informed: Put your best information in the newsletter or eZine
  • Keep the site updated
  • Communicate an irreverent attitude
  • Personalize the site

Tricks that inept site designers use that do that are opposite of “Sticky” include:

  • Adding a weather report
  • Adding a visitor counter
  • Listing the site's awards
  • Adding a cutie splash screen and Flash™ animation
  • Adding a guest book
  • Adding a stock ticker
  • Adding any “xxx” swirling, twirling, dancing dunce-created junk
  • Adding “Under Construction” images or icons, even animated ones

The site must be sticky and generate repeat visitors or someone in power will order it changed. Creating a sticky site is an important future-proofing strategy.

And, planning for stickiness should start from the very beginning of site planning.

Knowing who your audience is and what serves (or entertains) them is the start of making a site with repeat value. Knowing your audience is more important for future-proofing your Web site than fancy graphics or flashy design (no pun intended).

Here are the Dos and Don’ts for planning a sticky site.


  • Do your homework. Make your site different enough from similar sites to make it interesting
  • Plan everything in advance. Think first, code later
  • Add a blog
  • Keep pages updated
  • Do something that is different, funnier, more entertaining than the rest
  • Add a “Tell a friend” link so that your visitors spread the word


  • Tack up junk so that your site looks like “Sticky Notes”. This is not what “Sticky” means
  • Just add lots of text.
  • Change your update routines
  • Make things difficult to find or use

Creating a sticky, future-proofed site is an art.

The most important thing is to fulfill your visitors’ needs.

With a school district site, design the site's navigation for the way that students, parents, teachers think.

And beware of brochureware sites. Brochureware sites are only useful for prospective employees, an audience that abandons the site as soon as they land employment.

Here are some examples of sticky education sites... - Over 1500 pages of free activities, articles, and other resources to make education fun and enjoyable for both child and parent!

Notice how the description ads to the quality of the link.

Here is another example of a sticky site. In this site, links are ranked by how much traffic the give out and bring in This keeps site owners checking back to see how their site is doing on the ranking list.

Sites for Teachers -- Resource sites ranked by popularity

Link to a hands-on forum tutorial

Here is the link to the tutorial forum.

Here are links to more information on this site.

  • Planning
  • Requirements
  • Specifications
  • Writing a Development Plan
  • Project Management
  • Web Project Phases