Tips for Making Your Website More Interactive

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In the world of SEO, the vast majority of our discussions have to do with how to achieve better search rankings so that more people will come to your website. But today I don’t want to talk about getting traffic to your website. I want to talk about how to get people to come back to your website time and time again. See, it’s not enough to have someone stop by your website once. You want them to think your site is special, and you want them to be a repeat visitor.

Unfortunately, most optimized sites fail miserably at this. That’s because they get so focused on pleasing the search engines that they forget about human visitors. We’ve all seen these types of pages. They’re full of text (with maybe one cookie-cutter image), the design is boring, and they offer nothing to keep the visitor around.

So, what’s the key to keeping your website visitors coming back time and time again? It’s all about interactivity. Interactive websites make the users a part of the experience. Interactivity adds value to the website, and it provides an incentive for visitors to come back repeatedly.

Here are some tips for making your website more interactive.

•    Use Weekly Polls or Quizzes—One of the simplest ways to make your website interactive is to create a weekly poll or quiz question. A simple poll question can be placed in a box on the upper right hand corner of your website. Make sure the poll question is something related to your business but that your visitors will also care about. I like having weekly polls on a website because it makes the visitor feel as if their opinion counts. And at the end of the day, respecting your website visitor is the best way to keep them coming back. Just make sure you actually update your poll each week; otherwise, people will lose interest.

•    Promote Your Social Profiles—Today, companies of all sizes and from all industries are creating profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, and other social sites. An easy way to add an element of interactivity to your website is to feed your updates onto a sidebar on your site. Twitter has many options for badges you can easily install on your website to display your most recent Tweets.

•    Maintain a Blog–This is probably the most obvious tip on the list, but it can still be the most effective. If you can create and maintain an interesting blog, the level of interactivity on your website will go through the roof. An active comments section will keep your readers coming back on a regular basis. Just make sure you follow these tips for getting more comments and for what to do when you get comments on your blog.

•    Create a Game—Okay, so you probably don’t have the skills to design a game for your website. However, you might want to consider making an investment into hiring someone to create an online game. Online games have been used successfully in several viral marketing campaigns. As an example, Peerflix-a P2P DVD trading company- created an online paparazzi game that made players snap photos of celebrities to earn points. The game was simple but effective. In only 90 days, 2 million people had played the game. 5% of these people (or 100,000) went on to view the Peerflix website. This is a great example of how a simple game can boost your brand awareness.

•    Allow User Generated Content—Allowing user generated content can be a risky move, but it can have high rewards. The risky part comes if your users create negative content about your brand (remember when Chevy asked consumers to create commercials for the Tahoe? The satirical ads were overflowing.) However, allowing user generated content doesn’t always go badly. Doritos has had great success over the last several years with their Super Bowl contests allowing users to submit and vote on videos. If you can find a way to allow users to submit their own content to your site, it could earn you a lot of attention.

How interactive is your website? Which tips would you add to this list? Share them in the replies.

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