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I'm looking for features in websites that I may not have seen before that are unique, and are excellent features that not only improve the user-experience, but help the surfers come back for more.

Such as:

  • StackOverflow's status update banner (seriously now this is awesome.)
  • RSS feeds (when they were new)
  • Hotlinks to social networks (facebook, twitter, etc..)
  • Auto-posting to social networks (popup and auto-post link/content)
  • Mobile phone integration
  • OpenID login passthrough
  • AJAX push/pull technology for content updates
  • tinyUrl and others that concatenate URLS shorter.

I can think of many more, but if there is something you've seen that is unique to a site or isn't very well known, I'd love to know.

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no comment reason for the downvote? –  Talvi Watia Sep 8 '10 at 5:59
    
jumped the shark.. er dove under it I guess... –  Talvi Watia Sep 17 '10 at 4:58
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

None of those features would encourage me to revisit a website. They're nice and all but they don't offer me any incentive to want to come back. (RSS may get me to come back but only because I see new content I may be interested in, not because the site uses RSS).

Stuff that does make me want to come back:

  • Rewards - The point system as the stackexchange sites are an example of a reward. I get points for doing something that helps the community grow (i.e. provide good questions and answers).

  • Fresh & interesting content - I won't come back for any "wow factor" as that wears off quickly (usually after the first visit). I will come back for new content that I find interesting, useful, and/or amusing.

  • Benefits - I don't mean the website offers me health insurance! By participating in a website I somehow benefit from it. Example: I write articles for a website, I know get to say I am a published author. I participate in a forum and achieve a high status, I get to say I am an expert in whatever topic I cover and/or I can drum up some business for myself.

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The common term for this is, "Website Stickiness". And yes, content is king but there are many additional tools you can use to maximize user exploration and retention. Google "website stickiness" and you'll get lots of well thought out articles on the subject.

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+1 excellent keyword. first search in google gave me this: problogger.net/archives/2008/07/18/… –  Talvi Watia Sep 17 '10 at 4:57
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What makes me come back to a website? Simple. Did I find what I was looking for?

I don't give a toss if it's got RSS or AJAX or is HTML5 compliant. I don't care if it has streaming media, I don't care if supports OpenID (although a well-thought-out registration process is a huge bonus, but a topic for another day). And I absolutally despise URL shorteners.

You need to focus on your content before worrying about anything else. There were thousands of website that disappeared during the dot-com boom that looked great and were swishy, but disappeared overnight because they didn't have the content that people were looking for.

Don't misjudge your market. Your users aren't stupid and are most likely not going to be wowed by nice graphics and fancy CSS and cross-browser compatibility if what they're looking for isn't there.

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+1 because all the features in the world won't sway me (or anyone else) to return to a site that doesn't have the content or service which was sought –  danlefree Sep 7 '10 at 7:34
    
this is not what I am asking. I am asking for FEATURES, not debate if features are good or not. –  Talvi Watia Sep 8 '10 at 5:54
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@Talvi - your content IS your feature. That's my 1st and only thing that keeps me coming back to a website - content. –  Mark Henderson Sep 8 '10 at 11:54
    
ok, well features beyond content. The need for content is obvious... yet quite a different thing from features. Content only doesn't help social-network your website or make it easy to use. –  Talvi Watia Sep 17 '10 at 4:51
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