4 Ways to Make Your Website Indispensable

September 6, 2011
How to make your website popular for years to come

I recently stumbled across a Time magazine article that lists the 25 websites we can’t live without. On this list are well-known giants like Amazon, Flickr, and Technorati. The real surprise came when I noticed the article’s date: August 3, 2006.

In the Land of the Internet, a five year old website is considered to be a dinosaur, a dusty relic of days gone by. Many reach the apex of their popularity a year or so after their creation, and then fade into obscurity. So how have these 25 websites maintained (and expanded) their popularity?

Update often

All 25 of these sites are updated one or more times per day with the newest videos, products, news, and information. The content is always fresh, up-to-date, and relevant.

Takeaway: Give people reasons to keep coming back to your website.

Provide answers

People are accustomed to searching online for the things they want. Looking for the latest information on the NFL draft? Check out ESPN’s website. Want a copy of the latest Lauren Willig novel? Amazon is your place. Need new shoes? Zappos has thousands. Ebay has all kinds of stuff, both classy and kitsch. And if none of these places has what you’re looking for, let Google or Yahoo! point the way to your perfect search result.

Takeaway: Give your visitors what they want.

Leave room for discussion

Websites like Blogger and Flickr are places for people to post their thoughts and ideas, and share them with their friends or the entire world. People can comment on each other’s content, allowing for the easier spread of news and ideas.

Along those same lines, sites like Rotten Tomatoes, the Internet Movie Database, and Netflix allow people to review and discuss television shows and films. If a user wants to learn if a certain movie is any good, they can access thousands of reviews and comments with a few clicks.

Takeaway: Encourage and participate in conversations on social media and your blog.

Have fun

It can’t always be about work. Websites like The Onion give you your daily dose of over-the-top satire, and the Museum of Modern Art’s site helps you rise above the stress and enjoy beautiful art. If you like to keep up with the latest in movies, Apple’s Move Trailers page shows you trailers for upcoming releases, whether mainstream, independent, or foreign.

Takeaway: Help users have fun. And don’t forget to have some fun yourself.

Related Links

[Image: arte_ram]