Time has released its big list of the Top 50 Websites of the year. The sites hit a range of topics across arts, news, sports, business and more. What’s interesting is that at least 80% of them are all based on the idea of engagement. Yes, some of them have great design (Vimeo is so much prettier than YouTube) but they also have a purpose and story to interact with.
No longer is a website about dispatching information. The new digital engages users, not necessarily as the next Twitter, but engages them nonetheless. MIT, for example, offers ‘OpenCourseWare’ to engage the audience not directly attending MIT, creating accessibility to a broader scope. That’s the great thing about digital (including but not strictly about social media) — it allows you to connect with your brand and story with your audience.
In homage to the Time Top 50, we’ve come up with our own list of inspirationally engaging sites we’ve come across as of late:
Rackspace ‘building43′ – the web hosting service sponsors a site dedicated to user-generated content focused on sharing thought-leading ideas about technology, web and design.
Europe by Eurostar – Eurostar’s new site dedicated to user-generated European travel reviews and tips; a little bit TripAdvisor, a little bit the Eurostar product.
Business Week’s Business Exchange – an homage to LinkedIn discussions (and integrating your own LinkedIn contacts) mixed with content of Business Week.
The Economist Thinking Space – an interactive microsite showcasing innovation inspiration from global thought leaders. Next steps are to integrate user-generated and location-based content.
Omobono Client Work – I know, a bit of shamless self-promotion…but I am really proud of the work we create for clients to produce engaging content that might just think a little bit outside the box, but reaps some pretty big rewards for the brands (as an example, one of our clients saw a 300% increase in leads from our work with them).
This is obviously not an all-encompassing list. What other sites have you seen that really connect brand with audience?