YouTube – Why it Works and Why it Should Matter to Your Web Design

YouTube.com has created an incredible viral marketing campaign with fast streaming videos that propelled this young video sharing website into the top 20 most popular spot for internet surfers. At first glance it would appear that YouTube.com simply tapped into the video craze of today’s society. On some level, that’s true but if you take the time to look concept of this website that garners millions of visitors every day – you will notice that the key to YouTube’s success isn’t the quality of the videos. The overall web site development of YouTube.com is a perfect example of what people want online – connection, community and a place to call their own.

YouTube is a perfect melding of high technology and relationship marketing. Yes – there you can watch fast streaming videos of every kind. You can upload your own videos and tag them so other members can find your videos. Then the connection occurs. YouTube lets you rate the videos you watch. You can comment on the video or talk about what others wrote about the video. You can email the link to people that might like the video and if you have your own website or blog – you can even get the embed code to put your favorite video up on your on site.

The viral nature of this concept is powerful. I have embedded a video or two myself into my sites which means, although people that view the video on MY site – it’s actually running off YouTube.com and a message tells my visitors they can share this video, even email it to a friend. YouTube.com has made it possible for any video on their website to travel the entire world wide web with a message “SHARE ME” built right in. When you click through the video, you find yourself on YouTube.com browsing through even more streaming videos.

Even if this is where the website concept ended, it could have been pretty popular.

Remember, this is about more than videos. This is about connection and community. YouTube is built on relationships. When people start sharing videos, making comments and rating their favorite videos – the YouTube power is in the people fueling this community. Visitors can find friends, start groups, build a forum and invite your friends to come talk about their favorite videos.

There is sense of competition build in… with such categories as “most views” “most links” “most videos” in a forum or group. Members are encouraged to connect with friends, meet new people, and create their own “favorite” video list and play lists – all of which gives a strong sense of belonging.

The website development of what is now YouTube.com has taken every step to make the experience of watching videos to be highly interactive and in a way – powerful. Visitors are essentially moving in and out of communities, circles, video groups and connecting with other video raters. Great concept and its working. This could be considered a free plug for the creators of YouTube.com but it’s not.

The more I studied both the viral aspects and visitor interaction on YouTube, the more I realized that other high traffic sites aspire to this same level of interactivity. Websites that offer product reviews, forums, communities, encourage “tell a friend” relationship marketing and invite feedback – invariably beat out websites that are static. Everyone that has a website or is planning to create their own online presence should look at the human aspects of websites like YouTube and MySpace to see what visitors GET for being part of the action. When you can identify ways to pull in your visitors then make them feel that your site is a part of their lives – that is when you will see the POWER of relationships with online business.

On a smaller scale, blogs are moving from one dimensional online journals to dynamic reader focused communities. The bloggers are learning that the key to getting readers to come back again and again is relationships. Build a relationship with readers. Encourage comments – even discussions and debates. Sharing viewpoints and knowledge – this builds popularity because people want to feel they belong and their voices heard. youtube comments

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