There are days I get pretty fed up with lingo, especially business lingo. And more so internet business lingo and I am even in the industry. There are terms out there like “Web 2.0,” “social networking,” and “user-generated content” that are used freely in marketing and search optimization web sites. There is much pontificating, strategizing and meaty analysis that goes along with these sites. Use of industry lingo is common behavior for people in a specialized fields. It is important for communication to take place between experts – BUT you don’t need the lingo!
So, I’m going to break it down for you: the Internet reached a point a few years ago when there was a large shift in focus – give the users more input over the content of websites. Users are enjoying this new level of participation, that’s why we’ve got Facebook, YouTube, digg, and Flickr, which are all huge sites that you’ve probably read about, or may even use. I have noticed how people think it’s great to talk about these sites in cordial conversations, the news, just about everywhere. But where does all this new impetus leave you and your web site? Most of us are not focused on building the next Facebook
Leaving these behemoths behind for a little while, let’s look at the other end of the spectrum. I want to share something with you. There are three brand new websites each created in under 60 hours during Startup Weekend in Raleigh, and each one of them is a treatise on executing a good idea:
My Fries Suck – Bad restaurant experience? Let them know. Immediately. In about ten seconds you can review an eatery. No need for the cumbersome quantification of stars and a verbose write-up. Just type in where you ate, and click “Good” or “Sucked.” Done.
Bars For Us – It’s a specialized Yellow Pages, only it isn’t awful. Bars for Us catalogs every bar they can find (currently only in the Raleigh area, but with plans for expansion) and provides people with actual informative words about the establishment. Do you like darts, billiards, karaoke, drink specials? Find out what bars cater to your taste. You don’t even have to pay a cover charge to find the perfect spot.
Scavenja – You get a clue. You interpret the clue. Photograph something that you think fits your interpretation. Post the photograph as quickly as you possibly can. The faster you act, the more points you get. If you get the most points, you win the game and a prize furnished by that game’s sponsor. See, it’s advertising, only it’s fun.
So this is all building up to a point, and the point is this: if you are trying to attract people to your site, making it entertaining and useful is the best way to go, and it’s not as hard as you might think. Don’t let industry lingo intimidate you. The strategy to an engaging web site is simple – make it interesting for your visitors. Take these examples as inspiration, and see if you can’t come up with a good idea for your own site.