Navigating Beyond the Boundaries of Your Website

Make sure you have that voice to provide to your users, even if that voice isn’t always from a website.

A drawing of a ship at sea

Your website. It’s the crown jewel of your presence online. If the internet was a vast ocean (and it is), then your website would be the port that all visitors drop anchor at. But for any captain and his ship, the ocean beckons, and they will unfurl their sails and move on. So too can be said of anyone who makes the journey to your website. They will stop by for a bit, browse for what they need (be it knowledge, a service, or power to control the universe) and then be on their way. So this begs the question: How do I keep that user aware of me after they have set sail?

Taking a cue from Infomedian Laurie Smith’s excellent article, I will say you have many, many options out there to keep people informed about what you and your website are up to. Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest, to just name a few of the usual suspects, are logical solutions to keep a dialogue open with your users. But I want to take the usage of these tools one step further as a “Yep this isn’t my website but I’m going to squeeze as much out of it as I can” media portal. Plenty of online users, and you can include me in this, may actually never set foot on a particular website again. Does that mean I don’t have an interest in what that site has to offer? Not at all! I just don’t always have time to go to that particular site (Yes Virginia, I don’t always sit in front of a computer screen), but still want to know more about what the site is offering. Thanks to these social media applications, I don’t have to go to the website, and I still get all the information I am looking for.

Kung fu pandaLet me give you an example of this from my own personal experience. I’m a huge gamer. And Blizzard is a huge gaming company. They had this tiny little project of theirs go live yesterday. The reason I bring this up (aside from the fact that I’m really looking forward to playing it) is that the majority of information I learned about the new title didn’t come from Blizzard’s website, but from a social media outlet. I am a huge twitter user, and like most things I have interest in, I follow Blizzard on it. Following their twitter feed, I was able to find out about all kinds of interesting information that is going to be in the new game, without going to the game’s website. Every day leading up to release, they would post a link to a new video about the game that sent me to their Youtube channel of videos. I even learned about the Q&A they had on Reddit for the new release.

The hook for all of this is that I was still reading and seeing what Blizzard wanted me to be aware of without setting foot on their website. That is a huge asset to have when you are trying to accomplish your goals online. And in the end, it’s a great seed to plant in a user’s mind; because not too long after being fed all the information via these social media outlets, I was hitting up Blizzard’s website to find out even more information for the game.

So you can see, using my own experience as example, how key it is to step outside the framework of your website and try to think like your users. They’ve got places to go and people to see, ships to captain and tides to sail with. They are all busy going about their everyday lives, so just make sure you have that voice to provide to them, even if that voice isn’t always from a website proper.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go learn Kung Fu. As a panda.

Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment and DC Comics.


About Jimmy

Jimmy is our resident artist — the custom illustrations he creates for our birthday cards and our annual Christmas party are among the most coveted creations in the office. He brings that aesthetic eye to his work as a UI Developer, taking great care to develop sites that pay attention to both elegant coding and effective design and user experience. From client care to diagnosing broken code to sketching an impressive zombie portrait for a coworker, Jimmy can do it all. When he’s not programming or bent over a drawing board, you’ll find him reading comics, playing video games or getting worked up over Alabama football.

See more articles from Jimmy McClure

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