So, you’re a website owner with several thousands of visitors monthly. Quite possibly you have asked yourself “how do I make my readers interact more on my website?” The answer? It could be through the use of gamification.
Your website has a lot of traffic but only a few people are actively engage on it?
Do you want to convert traffic into an active community?
Do you want to make your website more fun?
Why not gamify it?
I mean, convert your website into a game!
Do You have a Big Audience but little User Interaction?
- “I have tens of thousands of visitors but there are only 10 regular commenters”
- “Among my several thousand visitors no one clicks the Like button :(“
- “I have the means to make big changes on my website and try things out!”
- “ What’s wrong with my website?”
- “I want to make it more fun for my loyal readers.”
If you find yourself relating to any of the above statements about your high-traffic website, then something is definitely wrong! Visitor interaction is important if you want your website to improve!
I regularly visit several websites that have thousands of very loyal readers, many of whom came for entertainment. It is not very different for 1WD and other web design blogs, we have lots of regular readers, but only a handful actually spend a minute of their time to comment and share. We understand, of course, that not everyone who visits will leave a comment. I am guilty of this myself when visiting other blogs. What makes me comment and enter the discussion, along with the rest of humanity, is that rewarding feeling at the end of the comment.
What is Gamification?
The essence of gamification is to convert a website’s still community into a lively carnival. You may have 100,000 visitors on your website every month, but do you have an active community? A community where people actually discuss things, where they feel they are a part of your website, where people know who the top contributor is, who gives the best opinions, and who is the most loyal?
Nope? Did you just realize that the answer is…nope?
Well, that can easily be solved by gamifying your website. By awarding readers points and badges you are turning your website into a place where people will actually strive for a reward. It is proven that people love free things, and human nature dictates that having a higher number than others is better. Because, seriously, who doesn’t want to be on the leaderboard of top commenters? Or Loyal Readers?
Basically, you’re awarding points. You can, of course, shake your pocket once in a while and enable points-to-gift conversion. Even I would salivate and roam your website for several hours if you do this!
Is Gamification for You?
Hold your horses! Before doing anything else, you need to know if gamification is for you. Gamification can work for every type of website, as long as there is huge traffic involved and high-quality content is available.
Gamification is right for you if:
- If you want to leverage that huge traffic.
- If you want to reduce your website’s bounce rate.
- If you want to create a community.
- If you want to host regular gift-givings as a sign of giving back to the community that made you successful.
- If you are willing to spend money for the gamification systems subscription and prizes.
- If you want to make your website more fun.
Top Gamification Systems
Badgeville is one of the biggest gamification platforms that makes it easier to convert readers into loyal readers and one-time visitors into regulars by rewarding specific behaviors like reading articles, commenting, sharing posts, and by simply just visiting. It’s all about rewards!
The Next Web, one of the leading news websites out there about technology and business and culture, once had BadgeVille installed their website.
BigDoor is another gamification system whose goal is to help developers, publishers, and marketers make their visitors engage more and develop a solid community. It is easy to install, with a free widget that anyone can use for a test run.
I actually tested BigDoor a couple of months back and ran into a problem, but it was taken care of almost instantly by their team. They kept me in the loop of what their discussion about my problem was and how they solved it. Talk about awesome customer support, even when it’s free! For bigger websites, there is a paid version loaded with extra features.
Through PunchTab, loyal readers earn points for every visit, likes, share, by becoming a fan, through commenting, and by tweeting. Website owners can then specify prizes that readers can “cash out” on using their points.
I tested PunchTab too and the installation is pretty easy, anyone can use it. There’s also a very useful control panel where you can check the leaderboard, set prizes, and a lot more.
5 Ways Why Gamification Works
Online forums were one of the first to use this system to encourage their users to be more active. I’m pretty sure that by now you already know what I’m talking about. In every forum system there is a “class” system where posters receive a rank whenever reaching a specific post count. There’s also “reputation” and “thanks” on some systems signifying that “this user can be trusted”. And in the online world, being trusted while maintaining anonymity is a treasure.
So, how does gamifying your website actually work?
- By providing points for every engagement (share, comment, or when a user reads a certain number of posts).
- By awarding badges to loyal users, or users with high number of points.
- By having a private section that only users with high points can enter.
- By giving high-level users important tasks for the community.
- By making the points convertible to gifts.
Have you heard of the social news websites Reddit and Digg? They are basically the same website, but I will talk about Reddit here.
Reddit has a point system called “karma” which is acquired in two ways: through comments or through link submissions. Believe it or not, a lot of people spend several hours on Reddit just to amass thousands of karma. Imaginary points! But it works.
I’ve been laboriously trying to study Spanish using Memrise for a month now, not continuously though. The idea is to first present you with common words that you should memorize. As you get to memorize the words you are then awarded with seeds, which you can “plant” on your brain by revisiting the test. Then as things progress the seeds begin to grow into plants. The more plants you get to grow the larger your vocabulary becomes.
Facebook sort of does it too, with the Like and Share button. Admit it, isn’t it fun to see hundreds of people like your witty post? Makes you want to post more, right? That’s how it basically goes. Gamification, in its basic sense, is all about making you feel important. Because you are!
What Do You Think?
Personally, I think gamifying 1WD would bring more people to browse and actually read every post we publish. I’m also guessing that the number of comments and shares, tweets, and +1s will increase dramatically. I mean, you know, we have over 3 million unique visitors monthly!
What do you think? Would it work? Tell us!
Rean concurrently served as the Head of Operations and Editor-in-Chief of 1stwebdesigner from 2011 up until Aug 2014. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development with a little touch of internet marketing here and there.