In September 2014, there were 1 billion websites floating around on the Internet. That number has declined to just under one billion over the past year, but still – that’s a lot! And a lot of websites means there’s a lot of competition for eyeballs. It also means it’s getting harder and harder to stand out.
When I joined Marstudio, we were in the middle of building a website for a new company called Pressbait, and they requested some unique features that you don’t see very often. In fact, the functionality we built for them really helps their website stand out – and depending on your business, such features could be integrated into your website, too.
First, let’s talk about Pressbait a bit. Pressbait is an interactive website that gives the press and the public direct access to each other. The press can post topics of interest that they would like to turn into a story, and the public can post personal experiences that they believe are newsworthy.
Because Pressbait is a startup and built this site as as proof of concept (aka, to see if their idea would work in reality), our team was able to develop the brand from scratch, including the logo, corporate collateral, and website. Needless to say, it was a really fun project.
Here are the unique features we built for Pressbait that a lot of companies don’t have, which would help any website stand out.
1. Color-coded triple-blog
When you go to the home page of Pressbait, it looks like you’re on a blog. You are actually on a triple-blog. Posts are color-coded by type:
• Stories from the public are teal,
• Requests from the press are orange, and
• Story ideas or conversation starters from Pressbait (called “bait”) are gray.
This color theme extends to other areas of the website as well. The “press” section is dominated by orange, the “public” section uses teal, and other pages of the website, like FAQs and How it Works, are in gray.
2. Submission forms that allow file uploads
Submission forms are fairly standard – name, email address, maybe phone number and company name, and message. Pressbait does not have standard submission forms, though – they allow file uploads. For example, if someone submits a story and has a an image for that story, he or she can upload it.
3. Unique ID number for each submission
Because submissions – story ideas and stories – continue to live on the website, we were asked to find a way to track and organize them so they can easily be found and responded to. Our solution was to generate a unique ID for each submission.
Let’s say you submit a story that you believe is newsworthy. Your submission will automatically get an ID number, which ensures that members from the press can respond to your story rather than a different story with a similar name.
4. Rating system
Rating systems aren’t just for Yelp, Reddit, and e-commerce sites! Stories that are submitted by the public can be rated from 1 to 5 stars (well, we used a fish hook icon), and those with the most votes appear on the home page. Press requests and “bait,” meanwhile, simply appear by date.
One of the trickiest parts of this project was making sure each feature not only functioned perfectly, but played well together with other features, and made sense for users. Because we love a challenge, this was definitely an ideal project for us.