The Website of Today: More than a Billboard

Websites today are more than just static billboards. They are dynamically engaging communities rich with High Quality content!

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A long long time ago (aka the early 2000s), websites produced in two flavors. These were Discussion Boards and E-Commerce sites. A Discussion board was a place where people could hang out and discuss various topics amongst like-minded people. Kind of like a public town hall. Think of Reddit or 4-Chan. E-commerce sites were simple websites that provided an online presence for a business to sell their goods and services. Stores like the original Amazon Book Seller or Netflix (Believe it or not there was a time when Netflix didn’t have streaming and would physically mail you CDs!).

All was swell and dandy for a while until time had something to say about it. Some 20 years have passed (feel old yet?), social media became a thing, YouTube popularized video sharing, search engines standardized and monopolized, some other things happened, blah blah, you get the idea. Times have changed and so have websites. Unfortunately, most people haven’t realized it. Discussion boards are a thing of the past as social media centralized online discussion. Massive E-Commerce sites like today’s Amazon which act as online marketplaces have monopolized searching for goods and services. As a result, the successful website of today had to become more than a static billboard. It had to become a dynamic hub of public discussion and commercial integration!

So what do I mean by “a dynamic hub of public discussion and commercial integration?” Quite simply, great websites must be both great sources of industry-specific knowledge and high-quality goods or services.

A Great Website must have Quality Content!

There was a time when a website could be simple and straightforward. Want a place to discuss ideas? Go to a public forum. Want to buy something? Check out this E-Commerce store. But that time has long since passed. As an example, I thought it a fun exercise to check out the Apple website to see if I could find an articles section. Lo and behold, it only took me 30 seconds to come across the Apple Community page! Now why does a personal electronic device manufacturer have a community page? This gets into SEO or Search Engine Optimization which won’t be fully discussed here. All you need to know is that modern search engines like Google want to provide useful information to their users. And the more useful information a website provides, the more often search engines will recommend that website.

People’s habits have also changed. The internet isn’t so new and strange anymore. The flair and pizazz of the World Wide Web has long since faded. Browsing the web is now as uninteresting as driving to work. This has made the average internet user skeptical and lazy in their search. If your website seems too simple, too old, or too static, people might distrust the service you offer. If it looks too boring people will hop away to something more fun. If it lacks critical information regarding the product and the website provides no information, the user will look elsewhere. You don’t want people to immediately leave your website. What’s often called the Bounce Rate. To avoid this, your website needs to be dynamically engaging.

What is Quality Content?

So if the goal of a website is to keep users there as long as possible, what do you do? Well, you provide Quality Content! These are things like articles on the product or industry your website is in, video tutorials explaining the need for such products, links that jump around your website so the user doesn’t have to look for them, customer review pages, newsletters, free trials, and more! Whatever you think can dynamically engage the user, do it! This is what a dynamic hub of public discussion and commercial integration means. your business only succeeds online if it is willing to put in the effort to engage with its customers. All this engagement builds trust and reputation. And perhaps, customer loyalty.

Types of Quality Content

  • Articles: You’re reading this aren’t you? Articles or blogs are a powerful way to provide high-quality content to a website. Why leave the site to look for information when it already provides the information? People use search engines to ask questions. Here is where you can provide answers.
  •  Videos: Most people don’t realize the potential videos have for their online business. The truth is a lot of people find reading miserably dreadful. This can be solved with video tutorials or guides placed throughout the website. This is also great for SEO since search engines like Google often suggest videos to users.
  •  Media: People hate static, boring, and bland. Spice up your website with pictures, short videos, dynamic web layouts, and anything else that makes your website feel alive.
  •  Trials: A great way to keep users engaged with your product/services is to give them a taste. Did you know people are far more likely to buy something if they touch it? Give them something to leave the website with. It will greatly increase user retention.
  •  Customer Reviews: These are great for building a sense of trust and community with users. Often times websites feel cold and unwelcoming due to their isolating nature. Put some customer reviews up with friendly faces. You’ll see the warmth it gives your website immediately.
  •  And More: Anything else that involves active user engagement and retention with the website. Remember that the most engaging content is useful and high-quality content!

A Dynamic, Everchanging Community

This is the website of today! A dynamic, ever-changing community. A place where quality content isn’t just found, but integrated into the foundation. A hub of knowledge that seeks to answer the questions of millions. An idea greater than the product sold. A bold vision and commitment of a business shouting proudly into that webbed world “I am here! And I hear you!”.

In Conclusion, a failure to achieve this is a failure in creative imagination and commitment. It will leave your online presence ignored and forgotten. Your website needs to be more than a billboard. It needs to be a lighthouse. A beacon of hope to lost sailors in a miserable and treacherous storm!

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