Seven Habits of Highly Successful Web Sites

Aaron Swartz:

“I picked out seven recent extremely popular websites. While perhaps not having the mindshare of a “Basecamp” or a “Ning”, these websites do have the benefit of having tons of actual users. Here they are, ranked roughly in order of popularity:”

  • MySpace
  • Wikipedia (basically tied)
  • Facebook
  • Flickr (pronounced flick-her)
  • Digg
  • (pronounced dell-dot-icky-oh-dot-you-ess)
  • Google Maps (no popularity data available but I bet it’s pretty popular)

“I looked at all these websites to see what they have in common. Here’s what I discovered.”

  • Be Ugly
  • Don’t Have Features
  • Let Users Do Your Job
  • Ignore Standards
  • Build to Flip

Hmmm, seems like Five Habits of Seven Successful Web Sites, but some entertaining observations inside.

7 Replies to “Seven Habits of Highly Successful Web Sites”

  1. You see — users really *don’t* want features! We just want a place to scrawl our stuff.

    Here’s my pitch for the ultimate Web 2.0 app: it’s a completely blank white page, with a monospaced font logo at the top. Users can type, draw, scribble, or upload anything they want on that page. Add an RSS feed, and wait for Yahoo to come knocking! I call it “Suck.r“.

  2. Wow, that’s pretty Zen! I kept waiting for something to happen. Then I realized that I was seeing all kinds of things on the page, in my imagination: My daughter’s face. What I had for breakfast. A beautiful summer day. Al Gore as president. Amazing! How did mneptok manage to get that brain-Web interface going like that?

  3. I don’t think Flickr is by any stretch ugly, nor light on features…etc. The poster bracketed his major (singular) insight with two examples of nonsense on either vertical side; The one overarching theme that is the quintessence of the non-thing we call Web 2.0 is let the users do the work. By doing that, you create users that do something more than just use — thus it is easier to hook them on the junk your peddling and make a buck, because they believe in what you have: they created it.

  4. Nate, he actually does give a nod to Flickr as not being ugly later in the article.

    Why is “Web 2.0” a non-thing? Seems like you described the “thing” of it pretty well :)

  5. Hmmm, seems like Five Habits of Seven Successful Web Sites, but some entertaining observations inside.

    That is one of the undisclosed habits: Don’t follow through on your promises.

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