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Creating A Sticky Site

With so many small-business sites out on the Net, a ho-hum site just won't cut it.

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To lose your Web site's amateur status, consider the following tips to keep visitors coming back:

1. Design for maximum readability. Artsy backgrounds and fonts can make a site difficult to read. Choose dark type on a solid white background.

2. Make each page stand on its own. You never know which page on your site a visitor will bookmark. Include contact and copyright information, as well as navigation bar, on every page.

3. Make navigation simple. Sketch out how your information flows, and design a system visitors won't get lost in. If you're selling products, make that clear on your home page and provide quick access to catalog copy.

4. Don't overdesign. Too many extras can slow load time and cause impatient visitors to move on.

5. Include a response mechanism. Involve your visitors by using contests or offers for special information, such as an e-mail newsletter.

6. Keep the site fresh. Update your content continually to give visitors a reason to come back.