What is an Interactive Website (And Why You May or May Not Want One)

Interactive brings to mind a lot of positive ideas including communication, but what is an interactive site? According to the definition of the term, an interactive website is any website that uses plugins, features, or add-ons to allow visitors to directly interact with your site. For the most part, this is a very good thing but let’s take a look at the pros and cons of interactive websites before you choose to have your Seattle web designer work on yours.

interactive website

Pros of Using an Interactive Website

The most complicated interactive websites allow visitors to locate themselves on the map, see where other customers and clients have come from, submit to polls, and even leave comments. Technically most websites are interactive in one way or another, but mostly to small extents. One of the most popular forms of interaction is via social plugins and extensions that allow visitors to share, tweet, +1, or even comment via their social platform.

  • Promotes engagement and increases visitor time on website
  • Increases visitor to client or customer turnover
  • Offers visitors a more dynamic and enriched experience

The real advantage of using an interactive website is that you get to directly interact and engage with each visitor, either via comments and social, or via games, forums, or polls. To many websites, this is a huge plus.

Cons of Using Interactive Websites

There are also many cons to using interactive websites but most revolve around the time spent on the website, how the result (which is user engagement) is realized, and how it affects the website. One of the biggest concerns of using interactive websites is that mostly they require flash type plugins, customized loading options, and quite frequently take longer to load, break up SEO content, and can direct attention away from content and towards engagement which might not always be a good thing.

  • Takes more time to manage
  • Can be achieved in other ways
  • Can affect SEO

Choosing an Interactive or Non-Interactive Website

For the most part, interactive websites are a good thing and you can tell your Seattle web developer to go full steam ahead on building one for you. For example, a website with recipes could greatly benefit from allowing visitors to vote and review recipes, by allowing them to share recipes to their social sites, or even by allowing them to use an app to find grocery stores with the ingredients needed for the recipe. This type of engagement increases website value which is always a good thing.interactive website

On the other hand a simple business website with content aimed to make a sale might not benefit from engagement because social shares and polls can lead the visitor away from the website and towards another business. Importantly some apps, ad-ons, and even built in code to allow user engagement can actually slow a site down as well, which isn’t usually a good thing.

Another consideration is that while a forum or chat section on your website might be useful in some cases, you can usually achieve the same results by directing them to Facebook or Google +, if you don’t necessarily need interactive features on your website, you can usually direct visitors to a social site which is very interactive.

So what’s the bottom line? Usually interactive sites are beneficial and will increase conversion and lower bounce rate. However, they aren’t necessary for everyone. Consider talking with your Seattle web designer for a consultation about what sort of website features might benefit your business before you get started building.


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