All popular websites have some things in common that keep visitors coming in and coming back. It is not chance that an Internet user happens upon a site. Something or someone must have led him or her to the site, either by the need to gather facts, or just by curiosity.
The best sites are built not by random contents put together in neat layouts, but by a well-thought-of plan. What can we offer to the people? Who are our main targets? How can we keep them visiting us?
This planning does not happen in one night. Some sites are lucky for that instant flight to success, but some websites may take off after years of conceptualization, brainstorming, and reorganization. The important thing is that they persevered and, through this perseverance, they finally figured out that important ingredient for their site.
Whatever that ingredient is, these popular sites have other important things in common. Here are some qualities common in well-crafted sites.
As with everything else, content is the most essential. Whatever the product is and whoever the audience, content composes the heart of the site.
What Internet users usually look for are unique, significant, and relevant contents. Most of them are attracted to new and original topics. This is especially true for sites based on creative output, like music or graphic designs. Originality impresses viewers, which in turn can also push creators to do better.
If the contents are not original and are just re-posts, proper citation of sources is important. Aggregator sites and other informative sites devote on contents with confirmed and reliable sources. This is where the visitors invest their trust and loyalty.
Other than these, contents should be up to date and updated to ensure the interest of visitors and their return to the site.
This could either impress the users how valuable and secure the site is or astound them with the openness and leniency.
Sites involved in money transactions and that handle other important data have many walls of security features to protect their customers. These sites can be a buy-and-sell, social network, or an online bank account.
General information sites can be open with their contents, no password required. That is how Google Searches, Wikipedia, and other public database are very popular.
Design, layout, and structure of a site highly depend upon the contents. Before the visitor dives into the content, the first thing they notice is the design.
General information sites like Google and Wikipedia have basic, if not plain layouts: white background, sans serif typeface, and simple but attractive illustrations.
Other sites, especially those that allow social networking use colors to differentiate themselves from other social networks: blue for Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, red for YouTube and Pinterest, green for DeviantArt.
As it is not by chance that a visitor might happen upon a site, people usually get their news, information, and other things from social networks. Social networking is the invention of the technological era. One simple idea posted on a wall can go viral within a few minutes, re-posted, re-blogged, made into a meme. Make use of it. Set up an account in Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. Put ‘Share’ buttons in your site.
Be creative in promoting an idea. Plain or poorly handled promotions may seem like propaganda, a mindless advertisement, or a spam.
In addition to updating contents, the structure of sites should also advance. In a long process, at least once or twice a year, the site should improve its services, the scope of its contents, and the appearance of the site.
If the site’s number of visitors is growing, the site could strengthen its security features. If the site is based on buying and selling car spare parts, maybe it could expand on buying and selling secondhand cars.
What is important is that the site should evolve like an organism, as it is like a mind hive of particular information.
Aside from the mentioned networking, users should feel that there are humans behind the structure of the site, not just programs and robots.
Set up a Twitter account that is ready to reply immediate matters like problems and concerns. Put a news bulletin for new changes and development in the site. Make users feel part of that growing community.
Every now and then, send or post thank you notes about the company’s or website’s important dates like founding anniversary or winning an award.
Every site has a different blend of particular qualities that make each one unique. What is important is that sites serve their purpose to their consumers.
Jasper Dela Cruz is a business blogger. He writes for KTJ Media, a Danish company that provides professional solutions on web and graphic designs, CMS solutions, and SEO. Aside from blogging, Jasper is also a toy enthusiast.