I run a couple of successful topsite websites. When I meet other designers and web savvy people and I tell them what I do they usually have a typical response. Most people think topsite websites are a thing of the 90′s and that the trend in general is dead.
I feel the opposite however, and I think that you can change a user’s expectation by making their experience a more pleasurable one.
Creating a more aesthetically pleasing design can be an easy way to change a users opinion. If a web site LOOKS like it is from the 90′s it is likely that people will think it’s going to be a dead beat site. How do you fix this? Gloss, glitter, and Web 2.0!!
No, not really.
Make your web site clean, meeting standards set by the W3C. In my example I show a topsite list that is clean and styled in standards compliant CSS. The other topsite is done in tables with borders — not something that makes much sense for this kind of site in this day and age. The aspect of design is an easy way to affect a user’s experience on your site.
I am a big believer in going the extra mile to make your site more human. I feel it adds much to the users experience and gives the visitor that extra push to follow through with what you’re asking. Topsites are generally created to be automated and I wanted to add my own touch to the experience. Now when users apply to my topsite list they see the following:
Thank you for your interest in Gecko Topsites! You are about to join United States Gecko Topsites. Please join the list that fits the region you are from. We have three different topsite lists you can join, including: United States, Europe, and Global. All sites are hand approved by one person so please give me a few hours to approve new websites.
This touch is nothing innovative in the aspect that is just informing the user. No other topsite I’ve seen offers this special note to the users when joining so it may make the user look twice, as it is not in the typical sign up process. I feel it shows that the owner cares about the user, not the hits that they are generating for the website. Anything you add to a premade script such as a topsite makes you stand out and gain more respect in the users eye.
Really though, a personal touch like this can be added on any site that involves interacting with the viewer in some way. Think of ways you can make your users experience more pleasing.
I feel the most successful way you can start a project is with a good sales pitch. Making people aware that your site is usable and fits their needs will draw in your customers. I have pitched Gecko Topsites as a site that is run by a human that can easily increase their business and traffic.
Summing It All Up
There you have it! Now you know how I took a project that would normally be looked on as a dead beat site and turned it into the top Gecko based topsite online! Of course the niche you are working with may be different. Designers may not be as happy to add your button to their site but if you alter your typical way a bit and fit what the user is looking for then it will change their expectations.