May 21, 2020

The user experience should be one of the primary considerations when building your website. For Ampry, it is.  Our role is to make your users’ experience as enjoyable and straightforward as possible. The easier your website is to navigate, the longer your users will stay, which will inevitably lead to higher conversion rates. Having a great looking website isn’t helpful if it is difficult and frustrating to use.

Sticky content is a relative newcomer to website design. There are different schools of thought relating to sticky bars and the benefits they may or may not bring to a website. While some see them as distracting, others argue that it makes the user experience easier and more enjoyable. In the end, it comes down to data. On Ampry, every KPI you would ever want to know is automatically tracked and easily accessible. That’s partly what makes optimizing your website on Ampry so easy.

What is sticky content?

On a website, sticky content is any element that moves down the page as your users scroll. Essentially, these elements have a fixed position on the screen as they don’t disappear with scrolling.

A sticky bar, also called a floating bar, can be used for any content on a website, like a sticky footer or social media buttons. Sticky bars do not always have to be navigation bars, although they frequently are. You could even use it to display important messages or discounts and other offers. Sticky content can also function as an alternative to popups. Using a sticky bar instead of a popup means you don’t interrupt your visitor’s browsing experience, as it is continuously displayed on the webpage.

Other elements you can implement with sticky bars include logos, important messages, contact details, and calls to action. It is especially handy to have a sticky call to action button that moves down as the user scrolls through your page. This way, if (or when) they decide to engage with your call to action, the button is easy to find and convenient to use.

Furthermore, you could include tools, pages, and frequently used areas of your website. All of these will improve your users’ ease of navigation.

Your sticky content does not always have to be at the top of your page. You can add them to the footer or even on either side of your page. If you do this, it’s vital to ensure that the sticky content does not cover or obscure your website content. Few things are as frustrating as content or navigation hidden behind sticky content.

A sticky navigation menu is a navigation bar that sticks to the top of a webpage. The menu doesn’t scroll along with the webpage and is always visible to users, no matter where they are on the page. However, a sticky bar is not the same as a fixed header. While a fixed header is displayed all the time, a sticky bar will only appear once the user starts scrolling down.

You can also use a sticky bar in a vertical position. In this case, some options on the menu might be inaccessible when used on smaller (read: shorter) screens. As the user scrolls down, so does the menu – which means some options will always be cut off. In this case, a shorter or simplified menu might work better.

Smashing Magazine did research on how users interact with sticky navigation bars versus websites that do not use sticky bars, and they came to some interesting conclusions. They found that a sticky menu bar is 22% quicker to navigate. While you do want to keep your visitors on your site for longer, it defeats the point if they only stay longer because the site is challenging to navigate. Remember that providing a smooth user experience is one of the most important goals of a well-designed website.

Smashing Magazine also found that users prefer sticky navigation menus to static menus. Participants in the study were given two nearly identical websites to navigate through. The only difference was that one website had a traditional fixed navigation bar, while the other had a sticky navigation bar. Users preferred the site with the sticky bar, without knowing why (they were not told how the two sites differed).

Sticky bars make using a website similar to using programs like Microsoft Word. In these programs, the header bar with the menu is always visible, no matter where you are in the document. The familiarity that a sticky bar brings creates a sense of confidence within users.

When should I use a sticky bar?

Actionable websites.

Websites that want visitors to engage in a specific action work well with sticky bars. These kinds of websites include retail and eCommerce sites. Sticky bars on these websites improve their visitors’ experience and help them feel more in control.  Sticky bars with an offer countdown timer is especially effective.

Pages with long-form content.

Longer pages or pages with a lot of content tend to work well with sticky bars. The sticky bar works kind of how ‘back to top’ links used to work – only they are on the screen all the time.

Generally, people tend to scroll further down a page when there is a sticky bar present at the top. If your website is concise and requires limited scrolling, there would be no reason to implement a sticky navigation bar.

If your target visitors are older or younger.

Users that fall into the demographic groups of older adults or younger users like the additional support that sticky bars give to navigation. They find that websites with sticky navigation bars are more comfortable to navigate, which gives them more confidence when browsing a website.

Hopefully, it’s clear by now that sticky bars can be a spectacular tool on virtually any website. It’s why sticky bars should be simple and slick and easy for every website owner to make their own. And more importantly, It’s why Ampry has given it so much attention to making it the best it can possibly be. There is no other website that makes implementing a powerful sticky bar as straightforward or smooth as Ampry.

Tips for effectively using a sticky bar

Leave the code alone!

When changing code on your website, do not change it directly on your live site in case something breaks. Instead, use a test environment to set up the sticky content and test it before you implement it on your live website. This is one of the reasons why Ampry uses pixels.  Create your banners in Ampry, then simply turn them off when you are done.  No expensive plug ins, and no need to mess with your website code.

Customize to your brand

Keep the color palettes of your web page in mind when you design your sticky bar. A sticky bar that blends into the background of a website is not user friendly and could render itself useless. Consider creating a visual contrast between your sticky bar and the web page it is displayed on. Alternatively, you can pull your menu or sticky content down on a solid-colored background.

If you already have a significant number of visitors on your website each month, you could consider asking them for feedback on the usability of your site. Or, another way to obtain this information is to install user behavior research tools on your website. A user behavior research tool tracks how your users interact with your website. You can then identify issues or friction points and use a sticky bar to address the ones that frequently come up.

Strategic feedback and effective data analysis is a huge must for any website trying to improve. It’s also one of the features that really sets Ampry apart. You can easily track which placements are working for which campaign. Identify which views are leading to clicks and where those clicks are leading to conversions. Scale up the winners, shut down the losers. Ampry makes it easy.

Pros and cons of using a sticky bar

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of having a sticky bar navigation menu is that it makes your website easy to navigate. Users can easily find what they are looking for without getting lost or needing to scroll up.

A sticky bar also shows your website visitors other options that they can explore on your website, besides that page that they are currently on. It reminds them that there is additional content to look at – and ideally, this means that they stay on your website for longer.

If you decide to include your logo in the sticky bar, your website visitors will see it the entire time that they are on one of your pages. Having your logo constantly in their view helps with subtly building brand recognition.

Sticky bars allow your users to move around your site quicker, on average, saving them 36 seconds per five-minute visit. Given the amount of time that the average user spends on the internet, this could have a massive impact.

Websites that implemented sticky navigation bars, especially eCommerce sites, saw an increased conversion rate of nearly 3%. While this seems small, consider that the current average eCommerce site conversion rate is around 2.86%. That means sticky content could double the average website’s conversion rate!

On the other hand, if it is not correctly implemented, a sticky bar could be distracting for visitors. It could be seen as a nuisance and encourage visitors to leave your site.

Sticky bars tend to take up space, and they could be distracting visitors from the content that you want them to see. While this is not usually a problem on a desktop version, it might become problematic for mobile users. If you do use a sticky navigation bar, do thorough testing and make sure that it functions properly across devices, especially tablets and mobile devices.

By implementing sticky content on your website, it might increase the loading time of your site. Some users might find this frustrating and navigate away from your site sooner than they would have if it loaded quicker.

Sticky bars are more challenging to integrate into your website’s design. Poor integration could lead to menus being jumpy or mess with the other elements on your site. Because the sticky bar is a moving element, it is more complicated to implement than a fixed bar.

Whether or not to use sticky content on your website is an individual decision. There are some drawbacks and special considerations to keep in mind with sticky content — like whether they are worth the space that they take up. Still, these elements do generally add to the user experience if integrated properly. You can do this by ensuring that you use sticky content only when you need to, and only to make your visitors’ experience better. Doing some research on your users’ behavior when they visit your website will help you make this decision.

When used properly, sticky content is a great way to personalize your website and give your users a unique experience. It makes navigation easier and might encourage some visitors to commit to clicking a call to action button. This will inevitably lead to more conversions with very little financial outlay from your side.

If you’re worried about implementing sticky bars for the first time, don’t be. Every website has room for improvement, and testing is the only surefire way of progression. With Amrpy’s data-driven split testing, trial and error becomes less risk and more reward. If you’re not using sticky bars yet, it’s time. Get creative. And get optimizing.

More and more websites choose Ampry Everyday!
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