educational

Usability Models for Porn Surfers?

XBiz' Cosmic Village Members

Usability: it is an often misunderstood and overlooked factor in the layout and execution of adult websites, but one that must be courted and understood if profits are your goal.

A big problem with many adult Web sites is that the tour designs are typically driven by the designer's ego, as he or she attempts to prove their superior artistic skills (within the constraints of the client's budget), by creating something "pretty" rather than something that is "effective." While these pretty designs might ensnare a fair share of initial sign-ups (provided that usability was taken into account during the design of the site's 'join' form), recurring membership revenues (the bulk of most pay site's profits), are directly and substantially affected by the usability of the site's 'backend' or member's area — something that is often given little thought.

Usability isn't just about clean page layout, cross-browser compatibility and easy navigation, however; many other factors can play a role in determining a site's effectiveness at transforming visitors into cash, and some of these issues were raised in a recent thread on XBiz' Cosmic Village Message Board, when askalex posted the following: "I am searching for studies or experiences on surfer behavior with respect to visiting pay sites. Specifically, I [want to know]

1. Once the user sees the domain name for the first time, does it register mentally, and subsequently will the user type it into the address bar?

2. Do users use bookmarks more than they type-in a domain name?

3. If you list a .net pay site, will users often confuse it with the .com version? For example, your site's name is abc.net, but will users mistake it for abc.com?

4. Do porn surfers sign-up on the first visit to a new site? Or do they note the URL and type it in at a later date to signup?

5. What is the proportion of newbie porn surfers to experienced ones (I theorize the newbies will click the links and the experienced ones will type in the URL for faster access)"

I found these to be basic, interesting questions that every new Webmaster should ask, as the correct answers can increase profits, and help you to avoid making potentially costly mistakes. Insight on these issues was provided by dopeincorporated, who replied "I will answer what I can as I am an experienced porn surfer, and I usually will search in search engines or places like worldsex.com. [In answer to your questions]:

1. It depends on the individual's memory. I, for one, do not have much. If I search for porn, I end up going to many sites during an online porn search 'session'. Domain names are easily forgotten. You asked if that 'when the user sees the domain name for the first time, does it register mentally and subsequently the user will type it in the address bar?' Do you mean seeing your domain advertised somewhere? Usually I would like a brief description or pics to get me to type something into the address bar.

2. I have never ever used bookmarks, mainly because I have never owned my very own PC where I was the ONLY one to use it.

3. If you have the same .net name as a dot com, I could type in the wrong one, but if your site design is in my memory, I will remember it and try .net

4. I do not speak from experience, but I have the feeling it will be a compulsive purchase, just like any other purchase. They do not 'need' it, but something lures them in. Let me give you an example that still haunts my subconscious. I viewed latinapics.com, which was designed by SeeSea, and I fell in love. It was perfect, to me at least. I would have purchased a membership if I had been the type to do that. I have never made a purchase before, but I really wanted to at that moment. Actually, I still do, but I'm cheap and the domain name will live in my dreams forever! So, to answer your question, I believe most purchases are done when the surfer is turned on and vulnerable.

5. I do not know the proportions, but I do know that everyone likes to get lost in the links. How else are experienced or novice surfers going to find their niche? There are many treasures within the links... I can't stand it - I'm going to latinapics.com to see the hidden treasures!"

Next, UK_dude shed some light with his observation that "Most of my members tend to sign up on usually the first or second visit. I have noticed a tendency for surfers to have a quick look, and come back one or two days later to sign up." Surfers tend to bookmark things they want to remember — but feel they will forget.

As is often the case, junkiefred added his valuable thoughts to this eclectic mix of opinions:

"1. A good domain name is easier to brand than others, for example, it is easy to remember girls.com, but no one will remember asianpussyteengirls.com. If you have a good name, chances are you will get return type-in traffic. Otherwise I wouldn't count on it.

2.The same applies here. Surfers tend to bookmark things they want to remember — but feel they will forget. If you have a good domain name, you should get more type-ins than bookmarks.

3. Unless your name really stands out, or is associated with a major brand, .net is worthless. Take the example of Suze Randall; she runs suze.net and anyone into her work knows this and will type it in. However, if you're not familiar with her site already, you'll attempt to type in suze.com, or suzerandall.com.

4. The majority of signups are impulse buys. Typically 90% of your paid members signed up on their first visit to your site. Some do come back later, but they are the minority.

5. Good question. I have seen many stats on this, but none seem to be in agreement. I should comment though that you really shouldn't differentiate between newbies and experienced users. It really makes no difference in the context of this discussion.

Bottom line is if you have a great domain name, you will get type-in traffic, otherwise you will need to find other means of attracting visitors."

At this point, askalex returned, agreeing with junkiefred, and commenting that "I think this is very true. Everybody is talking about these new "keyword phrase" domains, i.e. "familycarswithairbags.com", however, this is still a long way off. It is not false to say that good domains with less than say 10 characters still get way more type-in traffic, or 1-2 key words strung together (e.g. hairyamateurs.com), even that one is less than 15 characters."

The diversity of thoughts and issues covered in this thread illustrates the wide variety of variables and concerns that Webmaster's need to take into account. Care to share some of YOUR thoughts and opinions on this subject? Simply click on the link below:

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