In the social media realm it seems that new services are popping up all the time. Almost every new site launches in private beta and hands out invites to a select few who spread them around. I do my best to track down invites to new sites so I can check them out, but whether or not I go back is another story.
Over the past six to eight months, I’ve probably signed up for 20+ new websites or services. Some of my favorites include Twitter, Yelp and Bright Kite. Others that I’ve registered on, such as Digg and Ma.gnolia, are interesting in their own respects, but I don’t use them quite as often as others.
Anyone can launch a new site or service, but the real trick is getting first time visitors to come back again. Here’s my take on what makes a successful launch:
- Create a unique service. Offer your users the ability to do something different. Enable them to accomplish a task in a way they’ve not thought about before.
- Make it easy to use. Bulky user interfaces with too many extra features won’t fly. If it’s not easy to operate, people will ditch it for something that is.
- Make it easy to share. Develop widgets that users can add to their own websites or share with their friends. Create RSS feeds with your data and allow people to interact with it.
- Make it personal. Let users set their own variables. Give them options. If they want to access your site from a mobile device, give them that option.
There are many other things to take into consideration when building something new, but these four points are essential in my mind. If you fail at one of these, you’ll have a hard time keeping people around.