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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    what fundamental reason(s) do peole visit and use websites for?

    in this book, Can I Change Your Mind?: The Craft and Art of Persuasive Writing http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0713678496 (which is an *excellent* book about writing i reckon) the author says there's three reasons people read something (he wasn't talking about websites in particular but reading in general):

    it's
    - useful,
    - interesting, or
    - entertaining
    to them.

    and there can be mixes of more than one, they're not at all mutually exlusive to one another. you might have something that's primarily useful but also a bit interesting as well, at the same time.

    it seems to me most websites that are at all remotely successful fit primarily into useful? usefulness is *the* main reason people visit websites, because it's useful to them i think. you can think of examples which fit primarily into the other two categeries (interesting: a news site?, entertaining: computer game company with replicated flash/web based version of their PS3 or Xbox game) but these are very much in the minority i think. are there any other reasons which can be added to useful, interesting, and entertaining, particular to websites?

    utility seems to me to be *the* driving force behind successful sites?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy
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    are there any other reasons which can be added to useful, interesting, and entertaining, particular to websites?
    It really depends on how you make your categories where controversy fits, which could fit with interesting or entertainment.

    Most people on the web are task driven. Yes, some wonder aimlessly, but mostly they want to solve a problem and/or perform some task.

    I don't believe you can change someone's mind without tremendous resources, lots of time, and an acceptance of failure. It makes for a catchy title however.

    The danger is getting into a "me centric" way of thinking and trying to change the world to fit. First, while a common way of looking at things, it's contrary and and simplistic way of thinking about persuasion. Second, the "change your mind" is most appealing to the very command and control thinking the web is so good at subverting.

    Influence or persuasion tends to suggest less direct control, binary thinking and more probabilistic mind sets.

    In other words, you can do certain things to increase the probability you may influence a percentage of visitors. You do this by writing in a way which reflects the reader's world view. Such writing seems authentic to the reader.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCrux View Post
    It really depends on how you make your categories where controversy fits, which could fit with interesting or entertainment.
    yeah i suppose controversy would fit in either or both interesting and entertaining. yes i suppose controversy is quite a driving force so far as people visiting websites go.

    Most people on the web are task driven. Yes, some wonder aimlessly, but mostly they want to solve a problem and/or perform some task.
    yup that's what i thought.

    I don't believe you can change someone's mind without tremendous resources, lots of time, and an acceptance of failure. It makes for a catchy title however.
    don't want to dwell on persuasion. just happened to quote from a book about it but persuasion wasn't the brunt of the question at all. where i'm coming from in particular is, as a website maker, a marketing tool maker, for companies, what can i offer on behalf of the company to their customers/prospective customers via their website? what's the best most powerful thing? the thing that'll get the results the company want. or if who i'm doing a website for isn't a company, still, what can their website offer whoever it's aimed at. usefulness seems to be the main thing. so that's it really.

    ah, this is a better way to ask what i'm getting at. first i'm considering websites as more than just words. their content includes words, but also for example actual functionality (buttons to trigger action and two way comminication (which of course involves words but it's a channel for words) for a couple of general examples). so given that websites are more than just words, and bearing in mind the original subject of the following now modified statement, does this still hold well?:

    there's three reasons why people visit and use websites. because they're
    - useful,
    - interesting, and/or
    - entertaining
    to them.

    or does whatever extra things websites as a whole bring along extra to words, make the above statement a bit short in some way? is it missing something? doesn't seem to be. usefulness does seem to be the key thing.

    great, thanks.

  4. #4
    masquerading Nick's Avatar
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    I think it depends on what niche you're marketing to. Look at CollegeHumor.com - not particularly useful, but certainly entertaining. But then again, probably not entertaining to those who have some years between them and college now. So it fits a particular niche.

    However, I think useful is too broad of a category - anything could be considered useful. In my above example, CollegeHumor could be considered useful because it provides entertainment and humor.
    Nick . all that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot Jim Beam's Avatar
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    People have been evaluated and become absorbed in internet! Website attract millions of people worldwide because of many reasones. The main is INFORMATION!

  6. #6
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    ah, i've got a new one, a new reason why people use websites futher to why people read something: recognition. surprised no one thought of that seeing as it's staring us right in the face on here, sitepoint! recognition only applies to a certain kind of website though, ones which involve participation but it's a still a fundamental enough reason to be added to useful, interesting and entertaining i think.

    i got it from this book actually: We-Think http://www.amazon.co.uk/We-think-Pow.../dp/1861978928 :

    Collaborative business models succeed because they reward people, satisfy desires, achieve personal objectives: they get a job done for people who want to share photographs, play games, find information, write software, sign up to a cause, unlock a gene, follow a faith, borrow some money, link to friends. Yet these practical benefits are underpinned by something even more powerful and less instrumental: a desire for recognition.

    the author wasn't talking specifically about websites, more generally about internet based initiatives/things generally, including websites.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Member fitzpatrickbrett's Avatar
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    In theory all three are needed, but I guess you can get away with just two. Interesting and entertaining are enough even if the inormation isn't usefull, in my opinion. For example I've found myself reading a printer review all the way to the end sometines even though I didn't need a printer if it was interesting and entertaining (contained some background information and was written in a fun style).
    My limited experience with site promotion..
    www.spiralcat.co.uk/site_blog.aspx


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