5 issues each grid wants on its dwelling web page – Hypergrid Enterprise

5 issues each grid wants on its dwelling web page – Hypergrid Enterprise
5 issues each grid wants on its dwelling web page – Hypergrid Enterprise

I’ve a brand new OpenSim grid stats report popping out tomorrow, so I’ve been browsing OpenSim grid web sites these final couple of days, on the lookout for errant stats pages. And that signifies that I’ve been taking a look at a number of grid dwelling pages.

And there are some actually fairly ones on the market! And a few grids actually use their web sites to point out off what they’ve received to supply.

However most grids, I’m afraid, miss the mark. If you happen to’re a public grid and need to appeal to visitors, or a business grid seeking to lease out land, you’re leaving cash on the desk by not having these 5 components on your own home web page.

A stupendous image that exhibits individuals having fun with your grid

An image is price a thousand phrases, and with regards to your OpenSim grid’s web site, the appropriate image could make all of the distinction. As I browsed by way of dozens of grid dwelling pages this week, I used to be struck by how few of them featured photos of individuals having fun with themselves. Actually, I may solely discover 4 examples, and two have been avatars from different platforms, not precise grid residents.

This can be a missed alternative. Your grid’s dwelling web page is the proper place to showcase the enjoyable and pleasure that awaits guests. Even when your grid is model new, you possibly can nonetheless create partaking photos. Pose some alts in dance animations, have them chatting in a restaurant, constructing a home, working in a backyard, or elevating cattle. The probabilities are limitless.

Too typically, grid slideshows and pictures give attention to empty areas — a abandoned dance ground, a vacant cafe, a barren island, or a lonely rock. Certain, typically it’s a fairly rock, nevertheless it’s nonetheless simply an empty panorama. The identical goes for photos of museums or buying areas — in the event that they’re devoid of individuals, they appear like ghost cities.

By that includes photos of empty areas, you’re sending a unconscious message to potential guests: “Our grid is an empty wasteland.” That’s not the impression you need to make. As a substitute, present individuals having a good time in your grid. Seize the joy of a style present, the vitality of a rock live performance, or the camaraderie of a group occasion.

If you happen to don’t have a talented photographer in your grid, contemplate reaching out to the OpenSim group. There are many gifted photographers who could be blissful to take some nice photographs of individuals having fun with your grid.

One of many grids that featured outstanding photos of individuals having fun with themselves of their world was the New Life Italy grid.

5 issues each grid wants on its dwelling web page – Hypergrid Enterprise
(Picture courtesy New Life Italy.)

I’m not saying that each grid ought to put an image of a dance ground on their dwelling web page. OpenSim grids would all look just about equivalent if all people did this. Hopefully, your grid has extra to supply than simply dancing, or, if there’s dancing, perhaps it’s in a very particular location? And when taking photos of individuals having fun with themselves, attempt to have at the least one closeup of an avatar’s blissful face.

Once more, I’m utilizing an illustration from New Life Italy‘s dwelling web page right here:

(Picture courtesy New Life Italy.)

My principle is that many grid house owners and web site managers are technologists at coronary heart. They like to work by themselves.

You, as a technologist, would possibly get pleasure from a house web page that is filled with dense textual content, statistics, particulars of your server configurations, and capability utilization charts. However you target market doesn’t. In the event that they did, they might be working their very own grids — they wouldn’t must lease land from you!

Certain, a share of your prospects will even be loners, or individuals who would possibly like just a little quiet time infrequently. However most individuals are going to come back to a social grid to socialize.

The underside line is that this: Don’t make it exhausting for potential guests to think about themselves having enjoyable in your grid. Present them what they’re lacking with vibrant, partaking photos of individuals having fun with all that your world has to supply.

And this image needs to be the principle point of interest of your own home web page. The very first thing individuals consider after they see your website needs to be, “This grid is enjoyable. I need to be there.”

Methods to get there

Okay, so anyone’s come to your web site and thought to themselves, “Oh my God, the individuals on this image are having a lot enjoyable. I need to be part of them. How do I get there?”

This brings us to the subsequent important ingredient your OpenSim grid web site wants: clear and straightforward directions for accessing your grid.

For many current OpenSim customers, the only strategy to get customers to come back to your grid is by way of hypergrid. Give them your login URI as plain textual content that they’ll copy and paste into their viewer. Ensure that this login URI is prominently displayed and straightforward to seek out in your homepage.

Like on the prime of the DigiWorldz dwelling web page right here:

(Picture courtesy DigiWorldz.)

Keep away from utilizing graphic photos in your login URI, as this makes it more durable for customers to repeat the textual content.

I’m at all times stunned by how typically I can’t discover the grid’s login URI or hypergrid handle in any respect on the house web page and should hunt round for it.

For people who find themselves new to OpenSim, you’ll need to information them by way of the method of making an avatar and accessing your grid. Take into account including a button or hyperlink that claims one thing like “New to OpenSim? Begin right here!” This could result in a web page with step-by-step directions for creating an account, downloading a viewer, and logging into your grid.

The purpose is to make the method of accessing your grid as easy and intuitive as doable. If you happen to can, attempt to get somebody who’s by no means been to OpenSim earlier than to comply with your directions.

Keep in mind, each further click on or step you require is a chance for potential guests to get pissed off or distracted and quit.

Lease land

For many business grids, renting land is a main income supply. The land rental choices needs to be very straightforward to see in your web site. No person ought to hunt round for it. This isn’t one thing to bury in a sub-menu or conceal on the backside of a protracted dwelling web page.

Sadly, many grids make renting land much more sophisticated than it must be. They require customers to create new consumer accounts, or present technical particulars like area coordinates and particular server configurations. Until somebody is an skilled OpenSim consumer or grid proprietor, they most likely received’t know this info off the highest of their head. And in the event that they do know precisely what number of cores and RAM they want — nicely, they don’t want you, do they? They’ll run their very own grid, thanks very a lot.

Every time somebody has to decide, or look one thing up, half the time they’re going to say, “I’ll try this later.” They usually by no means do it later. As a substitute, you’ll lose about half you potential prospects with each further click on, each new web page, each kind discipline they should fill out. Faux you’re a brand new buyer. What number of clicks will it take somebody earlier than they’ll lastly ship you cash? What number of choices have they got to make?

So, if, say, you’ve 100 guests who come to your web site considering of getting a area, and 6 steps to undergo earlier than they’ll purchase land — you’ll lose 50 individuals at step one, one other 25 on the second step, 12 extra on the third step, one other six on the fourth step, three on the fifth step. And also you’ll have only one or two individuals left, in the event you’re fortunate. You simply wasted 99 potential prospects. Certain, a few of them would possibly come again. Finally. Once they bear in mind. Or they could overlook that they wished to get a area. Or get a area someplace else. Or they’ll go to Second Life, as a result of at the least they know learn how to purchase land there. Although even Second Life makes you click on round so much earlier than you lastly get to… $209 a month for a 20,000 prim area??? With a $349 setup payment???

Oh, for God’s sake. Don’t make your potential prospects endure like that! And pay so, a lot for therefore little!

Make issues straightforward for them. And take their cash first, then determine every part else.

Put an enormous, daring “Lease Land Now” button proper in your homepage. When a consumer clicks this button, they need to be taken on to a easy, streamlined land rental web page.

Or you possibly can put a kind proper on the house web page together with your three top-selling choices.

Darkheart’s Playground was the one grid I discovered that had a land rental field proper on the house web page. You do should scroll down to seek out it, and the choices may very well be less complicated, however they’ve received one thing! Sadly, as of this writing, not one of the buttons work. In principle, nonetheless, they might carry up a PayPal popup the place all a consumer must do is click on the “Pay Now” button and be in enterprise. They’ll create their consumer accounts and resolve on area names later, after they’ve given you the cash.

(Picture courtesy Darkheart’s Playground.)

Supply a number of pre-configured land packages based mostly in your hottest choices. For instance, you might need a “Starter Area” with 15,000 prims and 20 avatar capability, a “Neighborhood Area” with 45,000 prims and 50 avatar capability, and a “Industrial Area” with 100,000 prims and 100 avatar capability. Every possibility ought to have a transparent value and a “Lease Now” button that takes the consumer on to a cost web page. Otherwise you would possibly set up them based mostly on who the shopper is — a homesteader, a builder, an occasions venue, a service provider — and create default area packages that match their wants greatest.

If a consumer desires a extra personalized land configuration, take them to a easy kind the place they’ll enter their desired land dimension, prim depend, and avatar capability. Keep away from requiring technical particulars like server names or area coordinates — deal with these on the back-end after the consumer has accomplished their buy, or give them a default configuration that they’ll merely conform to.

The hot button is to reduce the variety of choices and technical particulars the consumer has to cope with.

Faux you’re a newcomer from, say, Second Life, attracted by your grid’s low costs. What number of clicks would it not take for them to really make a purchase order?

Attempt to get somebody who hates you to undergo the method — a teenage youngster, for instance, or a coworker whose lunch you’ve stolen. Will they have the ability to navigate by way of to the top with out your assist?

In case your grid doesn’t lease land, change this merchandise with no matter else a prime precedence in your guests could be.

For instance, in the event you’re a free-to-connect grid, you possibly can characteristic an at-home region-installer obtain.

If you happen to’re a non-profit, use this house for a donation button. You should utilize one easy donation button, or have tiers for various ranges of help. Clarify what the donation will probably be used for — to purchase builders espresso? To pay for backup servers? To scale back lag?

When you have a content material market, characteristic a bestselling merchandise or a brand new arrival.

If you happen to provide paid memberships, put that on this outstanding location.

Newest occasions

The subsequent factor you’ll need to characteristic on your own home web page is an advert for an upcoming occasion, to provide individuals an excellent cause to come back to your grid. Otherwise you would possibly characteristic a write-up of an occasion that simply occurred, to make individuals really feel sorry that they missed out on one thing cool.

If you happen to don’t have any occasions, provide a promo deal, or a how-to article, or showcase a freebie — one thing new and contemporary that may reward individuals for coming to your web site, and make them extra more likely to share the hyperlink with pals.

The purpose is to provide potential guests a way of the colourful, energetic group in your grid and to entice them to come back and take a look at what’s taking place. That is your probability to point out off the range and creativity of your grid’s residents and occasions.

Discovery Grid does an incredible job right here, by embedding their calendar proper on the house web page, with engaging visuals for every occasion.

(Picture courtesy Discovery Grid.)

Some concepts for varieties of occasions to spotlight embody:

  • Reside music performances
  • Artwork exhibitions and gallery openings
  • Vogue exhibits and contests
  • Position-playing occasions and adventures
  • Instructional workshops and courses
  • Neighborhood gatherings and events
  • Charity occasions and fundraisers

For every occasion, present a quick description, the date and time, and a high-quality picture that captures the joy and vitality of the occasion. If doable, embody a direct hyperlink to the occasion location in your grid, so guests can simply teleport there.

Along with that includes particular occasions, contemplate showcasing user-generated content material and actions in your grid. This might embody:

  • New and notable builds or areas
  • Consumer-created video games and points of interest
  • Standard social spots and hangouts
  • Featured retailers and creators

By usually updating your occasions and actions part, you’ll give guests a cause to maintain coming again to your web site and your grid. They’ll see that there’s at all times one thing new and thrilling taking place, they usually received’t need to miss out.

Keep in mind, the purpose is to make your grid irresistible to potential guests. By showcasing the colourful, energetic group in your grid and highlighting all of the superb occasions and actions taking place there, you’ll give individuals a compelling cause to come back and expertise it for themselves.

Having contemporary content material on your own home web page will even assist your grid rank increased in search engines like google and yahoo. It’s also possible to cheat, and embed your social media feed. For instance, in the event you usually publish stuff on Fb or one other social media platform, embed the feed to get contemporary new stuff in your dwelling web page on a regular basis. Properly, so long as you retain your social media contemporary.

Littlefield Grid, for instance, embeds their Twitter feed on their dwelling web page. OSgrid and AviWorlds embed Discord pages. GroovyVerse embeds their Mastodon feed and shared snapshots from residents. ZetaWorlds options their newest weblog posts.

(Picture courtesy ZetaWorlds.)

ZetaWorlds, by the way in which, additionally makes it tremendous straightforward to seize the hypergrid handle with that good crimson “Copy” button, the inexperienced “Be part of Now!” button takes you to a signup web page with a pleasant alternative of membership ranges, and the pictures on the house web page characteristic individuals!

Login button

That is one merchandise that just about each grid has, and it’s the place it needs to be — on the prime proper of the web page.

That’s as a result of they know {that a} prime cause that folks come to their web site is to do stuff with their accounts, like submit help requests.

Good job, OpenSim grids.

Hold it easy

Which may seem to be a number of stuff to placed on a single web page: an image of individuals, a hypergrid handle, a land rental field, a brand new occasion or announcement, and a login button on the prime proper.

However in the event you look by way of grid dwelling pages, you’ll typically discover that they’ve received a number of stuff crammed in there, most of it which isn’t a prime precedence for both customers or grid house owners.

Some grids put their mission statements on the house web page. In my view, these are all equivalent and a waste of house that takes focus away from the issues that you simply really need individuals to concentrate to. Some grids publish detailed technical particulars about their configurations. Some grids publish random graphics unrelated to OpenSim.

Many grids publish stats packing containers. I’m all in favor of grids publishing their stats, however that is one factor you possibly can safely put in a drop-down menu or on the backside of the web page. Stats are a nice-to-have — for me, anyway — but when they take away actual property that can be utilized to advertise an occasion or a land sale — go along with the occasion or land sale.

There’s solely so many issues an individual can take up after they have a look at an internet site. An excessive amount of litter will drive individuals away.

You possibly can put every part else in drop-down menus or additional down on the house web page, the place individuals can scroll to see it.

A be aware about grid stats

Now, I do know that grids don’t should publish their stats. And a few grids most likely shouldn’t — there’s no cause for a college grid or an organization grid solely utilized by its staff to inform the world what number of guests it has.

However public and business grids ought to publish their stats, as a result of it’s a free inbound hyperlink from Hypergrid Enterprise each month. Our month-to-month stats report is one in every of our best-read common posts, and other people verify the lists we publish to seek out new grids to go to.

When you have a grid, you possibly can verify that it’s on our energetic grids checklist, and if you wish to know if we’re accumulating your grid’s stats, try our April 2024 uncooked stats report.

If you happen to don’t have a stats web page, or need to make it possible for your stats web page is as straightforward as doable for our database to learn, in order that there aren’t any errors, it ought to have the next info:

Whole variety of registered customers: 123
Whole areas: 4567
Distinctive 30-day guests: 890

The best way the scraper seems to be is that it searches for a key phrase, then grabs the numbers instantly after the phrase.

I desire to see areas counted within the type of customary area equivalents, however my database can even deal with sq. meters and sq. kilometers. And, for energetic month-to-month customers or distinctive 30-day guests, I desire to have a single complete of each native and hypergrid guests. It’s also possible to produce other stats in your stats web page, however these three are those that I monitor to have consistency for comparability functions.

I additionally desire it when the stats web page is so simple as doable, with no tables, animations, or bizarre graphics to mess up the parser.

If you wish to see examples of stats pages that work nicely for me, try the DigiWorldz stats page, or the Alternate Metaverse stats page, or the Wolf Territories Grid stats page. That final one is my favourite as a result of there are not any hundreds separators within the numbers. The factor with separators is that some nations use commas, some use intervals, and a few use apostrophes. Arrgh!

If you happen to’ve ever puzzled why I’m the one one who collects these stats each month, and why there are such a lot of errors in them — because of this. It’s just about not possible to jot down an automatic system to gather stats as a result of each grid codecs them in another way. So there’s a number of guide labor concerned, of us.

Why ought to anybody care about OpenSim stats? They’re meaningless, proper? Who cares how many individuals a grid has? No, there’s no cause to care besides… advertising!

Each grid that experiences customers is extra social proof that individuals are utilizing and having fun with OpenSim. The extra grids report their stats, the higher. Even when your grid is small — some individuals desire small grids.

And don’t overlook: different grids aren’t your opponents. Your greatest enemy is the truth that Second Life customers don’t know that OpenSim exists. As soon as they discover out, and study concerning the nice costs we’ve got right here, the very good quantity of management individuals have over their very own areas or personal mini-grids, and the awesomeness that’s the Kitely Market, then they arrive. They usually keep. They usually’ll go to a number of grids till they discover one that matches them greatest the place they’ll cool down and make their dwelling. They usually’ll buy groceries, and attend occasions, and donate to performers, and do all of the issues to develop the platform.

Each single grid that brings in individuals from Second Life helps all of the grids. Each single article or publish or social media share that tells folks that OpenSim exists helps everybody.

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