Is your website helping you to connect with customers? Or is it just talking for you?
The internet is awesome. It allows us a super cheap way to get the word out to the world about what we do, what we care about, and whatever we want to share.
But it can help us do so much more! By adding options to allow our visitors to interact with us, we can build connections (and tribes), get feedback, and so much more.
Here are 5 simple ways to add interactivity to your website.
1. Allow Visitors to Share Their Thoughts
If you’re using blogging software, enabling comments gives visitors a way to share their thoughts with you. You can choose to moderate your comments and use a good spam filter plugin if you’re concerned about what may be posted. You can also allow visitors to comment on some pages but not others, or only on your blog posts.
If you’re not using blogging software, check what options may be available. You can embed Disqus or Facebook’s commenting system into almost any webpage.
2. Make it Easy to Share Your Content
Allow visitors to share your content with their friends, colleagues and social networks by enabling one of the many social networking plugins:
- ShareThis (works on almost any website, just grab the appropriate code for your situation)
- Add to Any
- Sexy Bookmarks
- … there are too many to list!
These options will make it easier for your visitors to share your content and more likely that they will.
3. Let Them Show Their Support
As you build a community around your website or blog, you’ll want to allow new visitors to see the community. Active commenters on your blog is part of showing that community. Here are some other great options:
- NetworkedBlogs: This site can do more than just connect your blog to your Facebook fan page. You can also create a widget that shows who’s following your blog.
- Facebook Fan Box: Add a fan box to your website to show your latest status updates as well as the avatars of your page’s fans.
- Google Friend Connect: Allows you to add additional social features to your blog including rating, sharing, and comments.
Give your visitors easy ways to follow you social networks, including your Facebook fan page.
You might also create buttons or mini logos that your fans can add to their own blogs/websites or profiles.
4. Give Them a Way to Share Their Own Content
Let your visitors share their content and promote themselves to keep them coming back. Make their visits valuable for both sides.
You can do this by enabling plugins like CommentLuv or Top Commentators that give them links back to their own site when they comment.
You can also offer options like link directories, member directories, and other opportunities for them to share their websites or businesses.
Source interviews, features, and other guest opportunities from the community you’re building. Feature them and build loyalty.
5. Provide an Easy Way to Stay Up-to-Date
Another way to encourage visitors to return to your website and continue reading, commenting, and sharing your content is to offer subscription options.
WordPress has an RSS (real simple syndication) feed built in that you can offer for visitors who use an RSS reader. Use FeedBlitz or FeedBurner to allow them to choose to subscribe by email.
You can also offer an ezine or newsletter subscription for visitors.
Which Option is Best?
It depends on your particular business and goals. Test out the strategies and see what works for you!
What’s Working For You?
Are you using some of these strategies or tools? Which ones have you found worked well for you?
Got different tools you like for community building? Share ’em in the comments!
Photo Credit: lubavnel/StockFresh