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What Makes a Website Memorable?

Written by | Tuesday, 01 January 2013 00:00 | Published in 2013 January
When perusing through websites the last thing on a person’s mind is something like what will make me want to come back to this site? All the same, there are certain aspects of a website that will lodge themselves in a visitor’s mind. Subtle though they may be, these are the nuances every website owner wants to capture. Why? Because these are the things that cause return visits, that cause visitors to spend more time on a particular site rather than idly surfing the web.  
What Makes a Website Memorable? image by @helvecio

When perusing through websites the last thing on a person’s mind is something like what will make me want to come back to this site? All the same, there are certain aspects of a website that will lodge themselves in a visitor’s mind. Subtle though they may be, these are the nuances every website owner wants to capture. Why? Because these are the things that cause return visits, that cause visitors to spend more time on a particular site rather than idly surfing the web.

That said, where does it all begin? With the domain name, of course. While a domain name does not necessarily make or break a website, it does go a long way toward making it memorable. For instance, a domain name matching the company name makes it easy for a visitor to know exactly where to go on the web. Big companies do this with website addresses such as homedepot.com or jackinthebox.com. It is effective because visitors think of the company and know exactly where to go on the web to find that company.

But what happens when using a web address the same as the business name is not an option or when a business is not well known enough for the domain name to stand alone drawing traffic? Then a business owner must use the domain name to help create a brand name, something like Amazon.com. Branding is a highly effective marketing strategy for any business, but it can go a long way with a website as well.

The next thing that people notice about a website besides its content is its usability. A website that is easy to navigate is a friendly website, and people love friendly websites. Anything that takes too much thought to operate is not considered user friendly. Thus, visitors are not likely to spend much time trying to figure out how to make a link or menu item appear. Likewise, unorganized navigational links will confuse visitors, usually causing them to lose interest in the site fairly quickly.

On the other hand, a well thought out, user friendly, interactive site will compel visitors to stay for longer visits. It will also be an incentive for users to share the website with others. Interactive elements may include things like music, games, or videos. These things are fun and entertaining; they make users want more of whatever it is your site has to offer.

Another thing that makes a website memorable, even relevant is the text itself. Not the graphics of the text, but what it has to say. There are only a few precious seconds to grab a reader’s attention with something catchy and meaningful. Having a sense of humor when appropriate helps, but most readers really want in addition to personality is something useful.

Think about it, many users arrive at a site via search engines. This means they were searching for some particular piece of information. If a website can provide them with the information sought after it will be one that stands out in a visitor’s mind, especially if the site is helpful enough to offer relevant information with every visit. Information can be about various topics: a company, products, general information pertaining to the subject matter of the website. And, with any literary information, readers lose interest if the text is awkward or wordy. A website must be concise, straight to the point, but remain interesting.

So, next time you are creating a website think about the kind of things that make you come back to certain websites. Maybe be the person that visit’s a site asking what makes me come back to this site? And if it is a site that turns you off, ask yourself what it is about the site that is such a turn off. Chances are, these are the same type of things that matter to other web visitors.

Additional Tips for Creating Memorable Websites

  • Use original graphics, maybe even graphics that are a bit quirky. Everyone likes a little eye candy, and graphic art can provide that. Just don’t go overboard with graphics so strange that it is hard to read or distracts too much from the actual message your website is trying to bring.
  • Experiment with website design themes and colors. Some colors that may not normally be paired together might actually make your website pop, so to speak. For instance, green and purple are typically assumed to clash, but when used together for art purposes, the combination can actually work. It makes the design stand out and can actually be surprisingly aesthetically pleasing.
  • While keeping in mind all of the other advice, also ask yourself what your website has to offer that competitors do not. Offering your visitors something other sites have yet to offer will go a long way towards making your site stand a part from the crowd.
  • The last, maybe most important tip: let your personality shine. If your creativity and personality come through in the design others will see it too. People relate to personality, especially those sites with personality that appeals to their own.

 

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Pete Juratovivc

Pete Juratovivc

Strategic Director and founder of Clikzy Creative, a Washington DC Website Design Company