What makes a web site interesting and exciting for visitors? What makes some web sites attractive and successful and some not? Some have it easy: the big players like Amazon for example don’t need to worry too much about stunning design, but of course about usability and presentation – and for sure companies like Amazon invest a lot in research in how to present their products in a way that makes people buy. Even if the design of a site like Amazon is not really exciting, there is one thing which it has in common with other successful pages: it’s alive and kicking!
On web sites like Amazon there’s always something happening, new products, new deals, new stories to tell – every moment there’s something new to discover and that’s what makes a web site exciting enough to get returning visitors. You could call it “Entertainment Webdesign” as in the an article (in german) from a web design agency in Frankfurt, Germany (web site no longer available) which inspired me to this article. Thinking about how you can make your own web presence so attractive that you encourage returning visitors who then hopefully spread the word so that others notice and link to you too is one of the main jobs of a web designer.
Many Shops and Services Fail Unnecessarily
There are a lot of sites around but many of them don’t use modern techniques like responsive design or modern code for faster loading pages and easier maintenance. This might not be a problem for the visitor because he’s not usually interested in the code anyway, but it may effect the results you get in google searches or raise the question if people can see and use your pages on modern mobile hardware like tablets or smart phones.
By far the biggest problem of many sites is that they fail to take advantage of available chances to make their pages and products stand out. Many local shops or services do have their own web sites where they publish product lists, information about services and often their opening hours but once on-line they think the job is finished. Many are left unchanged, sometimes for years, especially if their products or services stay the same. This is ok if a visitor is only looking for opening hours or if he wants a general idea about what the business offers, but no more and no less. This visitor doesn’t have any reason to return frequently, there is nothing changing, no life, no new information – no entertainment.
Now think about the shop who publishes new offers every week or the latest statements from existing customers on his web site. Word of mouth is a powerful advertising tool, a customer who talks about an interesting product found in the local shop can inspire others to look for the same (“Oh, I didn’t know that my local shop offers such sweet things…”) Think about the shop who frequently integrates interesting news, short stories on the main page, a blog with information about how his products can be used or frequently changing product videos made in an entertaining way by the shop owner. These can all help to make web site visitors stay a little longer, can encourage them to visit more often or even to make a purchase. Giving people a reason to stay and return gives you more chances to tell about your services or products and maybe even to interest them in something that they didn’t know about, but something they may like – once they do.
A Web Site Tells a Story
A web site tells a story, your story. To a large extent it’s all about emotions. Many sites fail here because of the lack of “Entertainment Webdesign”, they just don’t make use of the possibilities; not the techniques, not the content and not the presentation. That leaves a lot of work for web designers and agencies to do. How it can be done is demonstrated in many impressive references that are full of life and “Entertainment Webdesign” – a nice source of inspiration.
Putting it all together – the design, the emotion, the (live) content, the creative ideas and interactive scripting – using modern techniques is something which requires an expert, a web designer or maybe an agency. Everything moves so fast, that even experts sometimes have difficulty to follow, but a good expert can bring all these things together, so that even the local shop can stand out and take full advantage of his Internet presence to attract new and existing customers and make his business more successful.
Title Photo: © Antonio Gravante – Fotolia.com
Smart Phone: © tashka2000 – Fotolia.com
Jigsaw: © ilro – Fotolia.com