How to Build a Pinned Site in Less than 5 Minutes
by Justin Garrett, Senior Product Manager, Internet Explorer
Updated: September 14, 2011
- Introduction: why build with pinning?
- Getting an ROI for your site
- If you have 5 minutes…(keep it simple)
- If you have one hour…(lots of options)
- If you have a day…(a unique experience)
- Related Links
Internet Explorer 9 introduces Pinned Sites features like favicons, notifications, jump lists, and thumbnail toolbars. These tools give you the ability to extend your website outside the browser and make it more like a native application in Windows. Pinning puts your site in a highly visible place where 87% of users launch their applications from the Windows taskbar. The result is that you get, on average, 50% more site traffic and engagement through users that pin.
Here are some examples:
- Gilt (shopping) — visit 39% more often, add 160% more items to shopping cart, complete 45% more sales transactions
- hi5 (social gaming) — respond to 200% more social requests (like friends, games, notifications)
- Business Insider (news) — read 57% more pages, spend 95% more time on site
- Flixster (media entertainment) — read 34% more pages, spend 57% more time on site
- Huffington Post (news) — spend 49% more time on site
- The Killers (music) — read 65% more pages, spend 103% more time on site
- DocStoc (doc sharing) — viewed 229% more pages and 650% more likely to search docs
You can grow your traffic (and your web business) by using Pinned Sites. It's easy to get started in about 5 minutes by using BuildMyPinnedSite.com and PinMyWebsite.com. We think of this decision to develop as a return-on-investment (ROI) for your site, when new features provide developers the tools to innovate on the web:
- Value per User – Create compelling site experiences that build repeat engagement and loyalty. From our telemetry data, we know that users will visit a single pinned site, on average, 30 times per month. That accounts for over 40% of an average user's visits to all sites on the web per month. More than 12,000 top ranked sites reaching 1 Billion users, like Facebook, Yahoo, and ESPN have done so; WordPress.com made pinning available to their network of over 20 million blogs.
- Number of Users Visiting – Reach millions of users on a growing platform like IE9 and Windows 7, which has over 25% share in the USA and 18% worldwide. You can use these tools to bring new customers to your experiences through promotion, offers, and discovery of features.
- Cost to Implement – Be easy to design, build, test, and sustain on a stable platform. It should be measured in minutes or hours, not days.
The Cost to Implement is a key part of your decision to develop. You are limited only by the number of hours in a day, your creativity, and the tools you have to use (like frameworks and libraries). There are also competing priorities to consider like the latest page design, content engine, browser feature, version, technology, or extended support for the growing number of devices like mobile phones. Every feature is already high-priority, so the cost is design, build, test, and sustain becomes critical.
Pinned Sites features are designed to be a low-cost implementation based on your website that has already been built, not a brand new platform. We've learned some best practices from partners and developers that can make it even easier for you to build one yourself:
Most of the benefit comes from your site when it has a high-resolution favicon and a jumplist. Use the new capabilities on PinMyWebsite.com to enhance your site without touching any code. If you are a site owner or designer, you can import your site logo and complete the form and give the one line of code to your developer team. The process looks like this:
Step 1: Use X-Icon Editor like The Killers did
Step 2: Create your jump lists using the wizard on PinMyWebsite.com
Step 3: Add some advanced features like your blog feed and notifications
Step 4: Paste the Code
Step 5: See the goodness
Before: Your site is buried under the Internet Explorer logo like all other sites.
After: Your site may be pinned to the Windows taskbar for one-click access. A right-click provides new ways for your users to go deeper into the content on your site.
You are a developer and you may want options that fit into how you code and the frameworks you use. You want some options which are more customizable for your site design and easy to test:
- Use HTML Metadata – It typically takes less than 15 lines of
code. Use the code snippet on BuildMyPinnedSite or see the
MSDN guide on pinning metadata.
- Site Name – this appears when your user hovers over it on the taskbar
- Tooltip – this appears when your user hovers over the start menu or desktop
- Start URL – you can determine where the Pinned Site always starts, like a home page
- Window Size – you can specify the size of the window
- Navigation Color – make the browser look like your site
- Static Jump Lists – take users deeper into your site
- Use jQuery – Do everything with the pinify jQuery
plugin in one step. The code only runs when users browse with IE9 and
Windows 7 so there is no site performance impact for users of other
browsers. The plug-in is also a cleaner way to test and enhance your site
across many browsers.
You want something that really takes advantage of pinning features (and creates a new, unique experience for your users). It takes a little more time to build but your site now has the capabilities that make it feel like a native app. Try looking through some of the ideas and code on BuildMyPinnedSite.com that are most like your site:
We’ve gathered some of the best ideas from partners and developers. They share their thoughts on what to focus on for your site:
Begin by evaluating what you already have on the website. You already know what your users do most often. Explore alternatives and decide what's most valuable to them and to your site. After a user has pinned the site, the value of features like notifications and dynamic jump lists are powerful because they can pull the user into the experience based on what you design.
Let's take an example of a social gaming site. Getting users to interact socially with each other ultimately translates to advertisement views. That is quite different than a shopping or auction site model, where the purchase itself is far more important. So, if a website is already set up to take advantage of how a user converts to value, your Pinned Site should do the same.
A social gaming site might be set up in three different ways (with different goals) to optimize the potential of Pinned Sites:
- In-Game Status – Show what's going on in the game without you and pull them in
- Social Interaction – Encourage social response and in-game purchase
- Personal Status / Rank – Build loyalty by showing what you've achieved and what's next
hi5 built their social gaming experience to maximize the opportunity for the social interaction itself. You can see how the idea translated to the design below.
Banking and Finance websites are primarily focused on creating a convenient way for their customers to complete a transaction. They might also be interested in serving new services or promotions. Conceptually, they might extend their Pinned Sites experience in these ways:
- Notifications – Set up reminders and inform users of activity (like low-balance, fees, activity)
- Promotions – Show how users might save money through offers
- Account Status – Show balances or changes (likely after a log in to protect security)
Travel websites catch user attention by highlighting beautiful destinations with great deals. Similar to shopping, the purchase conversion is top priority, but because planning a vacation is complex, you want to make it as easy as possible:
Your Profile – See your itineraries, trips, account/mileage balance, or travel preferences
Featured Destinations – Create thematic or destination-specific offers
Trip-specific Offers – User has already booked a trip. You can now personalize related offers.
These are some of our ideas and those we've learned by listening to what's possible. See all of them at BuildMyPinnedSite.com. Think about combining the existing web experience with what you want users to do most often. That should probably be the design that gets the most benefit and is the most simple to develop.
Pinned Sites are features that give you the ability to extend your website outside the browser and make it more like a native application in Windows. This is part of our sites-at-the-center approach to Internet Explorer 9. It is an opportunity to get a return-on-investment where sites get an average of 50% more engagement from users that pin. The cost to implement is also low. As IE9 on Windows 7 is over 25% share in the USA and 18% worldwide, the millions of users pinning continues to grow. Decide what works best for your site and share with us your thoughts.
- MSDN Pinned Sites: Learn more about these features and begin developing
- BuildMyPinnedSite: Get pinning ideas and code in 5 minutes
- IE Test Drive: Try out the pinned site demos and code samples
- @IE on Twitter: Get your questions answered today
- Exploring IE Blog: See examples of great site experiences and developer “how-to”
- Beauty of the Web: Browse a gallery of IE9 features and sites