You’d never throw a party without sending invitations. Who wants to sit alone with four dozen spinach triangles and a couple cases of beer? (If you just answered, “I do!” then you might want to get out a little.)
That’s effectively what you’re doing if you’re like one of the many people I talk who aim to have an “interactive” website but don’t kick-start the festivities. They expect people to start participating, yet they don’t tell anyone what’s happening or make it a destination worth visiting.
It helps to think of your website as a venue where the party never ends. An always open house. How do you do this? By applying some of the same principles you would to any bash you host.
1.Send out invites.
If you know how to reach them online, you can invite them through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, listservs or however you normally chat with them. Are your partygoers the type to read a paper invite over an electronic one? Put it in the mail. The point is to invite them. Check out 18 Ways To Promote Your Website for ideas.
Remember, you website isn’t the one-time event of the year. It’s the ongoing event of the decade. Inform people they’re welcome to drop by any time. And then keep inviting them. People forget, have dentist appointments, get interrupted, so you need to keep the invites coming.
3.Plan something fun.
You don’t have to whack a piñata every time you throw a shindig, but people minimally expect snacks, drinks and good music. Why would they come to your website if there weren’t some kind of payoff? Make it worth their while, and they’ll keep coming.
You know how weddings nowadays have disposable cameras in the middle of the tables? It’s because everybody likes to see themselves and their buddies participating. That transfers to your website too, whether it’s actual photos of the people you know or representations of them.
5.Make it pretty.
Picking up the dirty socks from the sofa and doing the dishes translates into fixing broken pictures and links and correcting typos. Read our Spring Cleaning guide so you can get everything sparkling before the party starts.
6.Plan for amounts.
In the event-planning world, you need to know who’s attending your party so you rent a big enough space, have enough canapés and staff appropriately. If you have the kind of website that’s likely to receive a surge in traffic, make sure you’re expecting it. If you aren’t, people might receive a message that the website isn’t available. Up your hosting account, talk to your webmaster about planning for what happens if 100 people try to click the same thing at once.