Getting users to have a "crush" on your site

Chris Caceres · April 2, 2009 · Short URL:

Tips to make your Web site more attractive to your users from the Web 2.0 Expo

 Getting users to fall in love with your site is a lot like trying to win someone's affections over just as you would in a relationship. 

It's about not moving fast; it's about making the other person feel special; it's not about you, it's about them; acknowledge their achievements; it's about not making them wonder and holding their hand. You get the picture.

But before the love, there's always the first step - the "crush."

How Web sites spark a crush was the topic of a presentation by Alexa Andrzejewski, an interaction designer at Adaptive Path, who recently worked on the MySpace redesign. Andrzejewski was speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, Ca.

So why a "crush?"

If a user has a crush on your site, it basically means they can't get enough of it.  They'll talk about your site with their friends, and once the user feels comfortable enough, they'll share anything with your site. 

Here's Andrzejewski's tips:

It's not about you, (it's about them):

Be sure to tell the user what's in it for them when they visit your site.  Ask the user to let you know a little bit about them and once you find out what it is the user is looking for, speak to their needs.

Don't move to fast:

Offer your user ways they can participate in your site.   Be transparent and show them what other users are doing, Andrzejewski suggests to take a look at Tumblr's home page as an example.  And once your user is ready, make sure you are ready. Provide sign up as seemless as possible by simplifying the process.  All you need is the users name, email, and a password. Get the rest later. 

Hand holding is good:

Be sure to lead the way and make signing up as simple as three easy steps. 

Don't make them wonder:

Make your needs known by showing big empty boxes of what the user needs to fill in to complete their profiles. 

Be part of their world:

Find out who the user knows by importing contacts from their email.  Also, be sure not to get greedy and allow the user to connect with other sites they potentially may be using, for example photo, video and blogs.

Cheer your user on:

Make sure to count your user's achievements.  Award them with progress badges.  Show them how many followers they have.  And most importantly, don't cheer them on alone.  Allow users to make it easy to comment on their posts, and if possible, allow for light weight comments - like a thumbs up or emoticons.

In the end, getting your users to have a "crush" on your site is good.

But you really want them to fall in "love" with your site by incorporating all these elements to keep having them come back for more.

If you don't have a site, you can probably apply most of the advice to a relationship.

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