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Taking a fresh slant

Istock_000004470271xsmall_2 Interactivity is the sweet treat that lures repeated visitors to your site earning you increased impressions. The degree to which you're willing to cede some measure of control to the consumer will be reflected in their level of commitment to you. This is the new reality.

When you're able to interact, you're creating something all your own. When you allow your customers to do so, every experience of your business becomes a custom-tailored one. Whether it's an option to arrange the page in a way that suits them, or create a customized landing experience for returned visits, user-crafting creates a sense of connection and ownership.

There are ways to begin a dialog that don't require major surgery to your site. By co-opting existing resources available on the web, you can create a hipper user experience. For instance, visitors can't resist a poll. They vote, they see their result. And, you get constituent credibility by asking their opinion.

There are resources for creating your own online poll. We like Survey Monkey. It's clean, easy to use and provides easy-to-read results--even for the math challenged. (like moi) You can use it free and try it out; for a full functionality you'll have to subscribe.

I found a new little gem you can embed on your site: slanty is still in beta, but has great promise. It's slick looking and returns immediate feedback to the user. And, because it's as easy to embed as a YouTube video, integrating it into your web experience is a piece of cake. Here's an example:

There are dozens of resources like this out there. I've tested many and narrowed down to some I find effective without diminishing your messaging alignment. Creating a shared experience is only the most important thing you can do to build results on your site. Let me know if we can help.

MyFoxHouston.com came on last year and quickly rose to be one of Houston's most popular television websites. The provided content didn't fuel their ascent. Instead, it was the ability for visitors to create their own, personal blogs on the site. It's not a TV station site, it's a community--and the station is an active player in it.

You can't fake this. Half-efforts are worse than none. It's a process to be launched, not a task to be completed. And, it has to reflect an authentic desire to connect with the visitor. Doing so magnetizes your messaging with a charge that gets passed along every time a customer connects with it.

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