Website Success: Part Two

This is a follow-up to Website Success: Part One.

Step Two: Developing the Idea.

Okay, so now you know to keep user inertia in mind. What to do next? First, don’t try to fight human inertia. As a general rule, don’t try to fight against the natural tendencies of your audience. It isn’t productive and you won’t achieve success as quickly or reliably if you try to get people to do something they don’t really want to do. In actuality, you should learn to embrace human inertia. The question is, how do you do that?

In my mind, there is only one way to get people do things. Quite simply, it’s self-interest. Self-interest can mean a lot of things, but at it’s core it’s things that appeal to the basic human emotions; things like jealousy, curiosity, hatred, anger, surprise, etc. And as a subset, it’s anything that gives someone something they’re looking for, often as a derivation of the emotions listed before. While that may seem obvious, lots of websites ignore this concept. There are many branches of the self-interest tree and the one (or few) that your website chooses to go down should be relevant to the content you have on hand. Let’s look at a few examples.

First, Google. Why is Google so popular? It’s a shockingly simple concept. They deliver the most relevant search results. Anyone who thinks it’s anything else is fooling themselves. Sure gmail and other products are great too, but Google is completely and utterly reliant on search engine quality. If someone ever finds a better way to do search, Google will ultimately be crushed unless they can adapt their index to meet the best available search engine at the time. And in the end, that’s because people are ultimately curious and impatient and they want the fastest way from point A to point B. Google is the best way for them to get there.

Second, Facebook. Why is Facebook so popular? Once again, it’s simple: curiousity, jealousy, etc. People love to check up on friends, show off to friends, etc. More so than anything, the Photos application has made Facebook what it is today. Knowing where and when you’re being tagged, along with the ability to find pictures of your friends is, simply put, completely targeted at human emotions. People can’t help but use it. THAT is compelling content. And best of all, it’s user-generated, AJAX-validated (ie, it fills in names based on your existing friends list) and virtually maintenance free. It’s really the perfect idea for traffic generation.

Now, to a more poker-related idea. Think about PocketFives. What makes people consider P5s to be the 2nd most important/largest poker forum online? What did it do to separate itself from the rest of the mediocre pack to climb up into the 2nd spot behind 2p2 (which, quite frankly, breaks a lot of rules and achieves success anyway … although nowhere near the success it could reach)? It’s as simple as the rankings. Everything on that site stems from the rankings. First, despite what they may say, 90%+ of top online tournament players want recognition. They crave being admired, having railbirds and getting threads posted about them when they go deep. I don’t blame them — it’s how we, as humans, work/think/operate. The P5s rankings are the perfect content piece to bring the best online tournament players to the site. Having the best online tournament players posting on your site brings in the crowds. Bring in those crowds and you have the valuable traffic that all of the poker forums look for. As a result, all of the other poker forums are an afterthought in the non-2p2 market. Sure those other forums might make money and they might have decent traffic, but they missed a golden opportunity for unique and first-to-market content. That one piece of content was enough to overcome the inertia involved in getting people to sign up for a forum and to come back daily.

To wrap this post up, what can we learn from this? Well, for one, this inertia in human nature can be overcome. Also, we can see why it’s so necessary to appeal to human emotions and desires. What you also might be realizing now is that it’s harder said than done to come up with a product and plan. But you’re also probably realizing that with the right level of thought and planning, you can turn nothing into something with a reasonably high degree of success.

To be continued.

3 thoughts on “Website Success: Part Two

  1. Alex

    First off. I am big fan of your blog and appreciate all you have done for poker…

    I just have to say that your post are somewhat contradictory. You say, “If someone ever finds a better way to do search, Google will ultimately be crushed”In your last post you talk about peoples ignorance to better products. “For example, an incredible number of people use the actual AIM client because, quite frankly, they don’t care enough to look around for something better like pidgin or digsby.

    I agree with your overall theme that self interest is a inherent motive to do things. I just think the example you gave with google is unsound. The world seems to work a lot more like your example of AIM clients, people like familiarity, comfort, etc. its human nature to repeat things that you like and feel at ease with. It would take a lot more then some company creating a better search engine to compete with google. They would basically have to re-create the way we currently use a search engine all together.

  2. Pingback: Website Success: Part Three

  3. Pingback: Website Success: Part Four

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