How to Make Your Website a Party People Want to Attend

illustration of a fun party from the 1950s

Have you ever walked into a party where you didn’t know anyone?

  • And there was no one to greet you or take your coat …
  • No one to show you where to get a drink or introduce you around …
  • No one to make you feel welcomed or show you where to go next …

It’s an awkward, uncomfortable feeling, right?

Your first instinct is probably to turn around and walk right back out. I know mine is.

So why would you treat visitors to your website the exact same way?

Your website is a party, and you’re the host. So you better make your visitors feel comfortable and want to stay.

Otherwise the party will die long before the music does, and you’ll be spinning records (or are those your wheels?) all by your lonesome …

With no audience to respond to anything you say. (Cue: sad trombone.)

It all starts with ambiance

Ambiance is “the character and atmosphere of a place.”

We humans respond viscerally to venues that are inviting, that make us feel at ease, and that fit the mood we expect to slip into.

When an ambiance is right, we may not even realize it.

We get lost in the moment. Which is good, it’s what we want. It’s surely what whoever is planning the ambiance wants.

But when an ambiance is wrong — when the lighting is off, when the music doesn’t match the mood, when we feel stressed or uncertain — we do notice.

It shakes us straight out of the moment, and it makes us wonder whether we even want to be there in first place.

This isn’t just happening at restaurants, parties, or fourth dates at someone’s apartment.

It’s happening on the web, at every single web page you visit.

Here’s how ambiance matters on the web

The ambiance of a website can be described in many ways.

  • It’s how your site looks on each device used to view it. If the mobile view is the same as the desktop view, your ambiance is driving away visitors.
  • It’s how your typography choices influence the consumption of your words. If your content is difficult to read, your ambiance is driving away visitors.
  • It’s how your page layout influences the eye movement of each person who sees it. If your layout is cluttered and doesn’t make eye movement effortless, your ambiance is driving away visitors.

I think you get the point I’m making:

If your ambiance is off, awkward, or obsolete (as in, not in line with design trends people naturally come to expect) … then your ambiance is driving away visitors.

And just like the pathetic party host spinning records and talking alone, you don’t want your website to turn into a lonely party of one.

Here’s how to deliver the perfect ambiance to your visitors

The good news is that getting your ambiance right on the web isn’t hard.

Even if you don’t know the first thing about design and can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on a custom one.

What you need is:

And you need typography — the nuts and bolts that will ultimately construct your content — that is a foundational element of your design, rather than an afterthought.

Oh, and if I may step into your shoes here for a second, you probably need (or at least want) all of this for under $100 … if possible.

Easy.

You just need the brand new Ambiance Pro theme by StudioPress.

ambiance-pro-theme

Why Ambiance Pro?

Ambiance Pro has everything I described above.

For example, check out the main demo and then check out the mobile demo.

See how you get an optimized user experience for both?

And see how in each view you are welcomed to the site and immediately know what to do next?

None of your visitors will ever have to feel like the out-of-place partygoer from above — which we’ve all felt like before and never want to feel like again.

In addition, the single page layout that Ambiance Pro delivers is sublime (see for yourself: go back to the demo and then click on an image).

  • Notice how the image enlarges to draw your eye …
  • And then how the thumbnail and post title take you by the hand and lead you down the page …
  • And then how the utter lack of clutter on the page allows you to sink yourself into the post — like stepping inside a quiet room at a loud party with someone you can’t wait to have an intimate one-on-one conversation with …

Ambiance Pro gives you all of this, including the ability to easily customize your header and create landing pages.

And yes, it’s less than $100.

You may not be able to plan a memorable party with that amount of money, but you sure can turn it into a design for your website that captures attention, keeps it, and converts.

Host the online party people want to attend.

Do it right, and you’ll even have them checking their inbox for your next invitation.

Here’s how to do it right (now):

Get Ambiance Pro and install it on your site today

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Nina Zed (illustrated by Jack Mathew)

About the author

Jerod Morris


Jerod Morris is the VP of Marketing for Copyblogger Media. Get more from him on Twitter or . Have you gotten your wristband yet?

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Comments

  1. Jerod,

    I couldn’t agree more. I constantly have to battle with my clients about the importance of content over design, but that doesn’t mean “ignore design.” An appealing, aesthetically pleasing website also speaks to credibility, and tells your visitors you care enough about them to provide a good experience.

    I stumbled across the Ambience Pro theme with in 24 hours of launch and used it for my photography site — http://vscottellis.com — for anyone that wants a real life example, and it’s one of the few themes I’ve launched completely stock, which as a full time Genesis developer, says a lot!

    • Content IS design. :-) And believe me, as a word guy, I hate thinking about design. Or, hated thinking about design. Being able to launch sites so easily that look great and are mobile responsive is so great for someone like me. That even someone like you feels comfortable doing the same says a lot.

    • How did you get your full menu to display on the desktop version without the little menu button? I recently switched over to Ambiance Pro and that’s the only thing I don’t fully love about it right now.

  2. This is beautiful. Question. I have a Shopify website for e-commerce. It also includes a blog that I really don’t use. However, I’m contemplating starting a blog on WordPress keeping it separate from my website. Perhaps integrate into my Shopify blog somehow. The blog will also stand alone. I just think shopping and reading about a specific topic should be separate but connected if the reader wants to take it further. Is this something I can do with Ambiance Pro?

    • Certainly you can incorporate ecommerce into Ambiance Pro. How much you want to keep things “separate” really just depends on your content and what you are selling. I certainly don’t think you want to keep it TOO separate. Would need a little more background to provide a specific answer.

  3. Mary Ann,

    First to answer your question, as Jared said, there are different ways you can have different platforms that are somewhat connects. One is to have your blog on a sub-domain, but that is just one of many possibilities so it does depend.

    I’m not going to spend a single minute trying to convince you to move off of Shopify and create a single integrated solution. Shopify makes things very easy (I’ve used them for clients in the past).

    But for reference, on the photography site I mentioned in my first comment, I also sell prints and the entire thing is done in WordPress and took me a few hours to set up (starting from scratch), and everything is fully integrated so it’s not all that difficult to do when you get there. Just food for future thought.

    • Scott,

      Nice website! Thanks for the input. I wonder if it would take a novice an hour to put together!

      My main site on Shopify sells tea, iced tea, etc. The reason I’m thinking of using Ambiance is to launch a daily tea meditation website. Each post would be short contemplative, self improvement, insightful type topics to meditate over a cup of tea. I just want to trial it to see what kind of reception it gets. I would include photos along with each post. Just thinking out loud.

      • Mary Ann, Sounds awesome and the Ambience theme would probably work well for that.

        Just make sure you have nice big images to go along with it but sounds like a killer use for the theme so let us know when it goes live!

  4. When I started my blog, I thought design just didn’t matter. After all, I’m writing for an audience of writers! It’s all about my beautiful words, right?

    Wrong. So, so wrong. Every positive design change I made brought new readers.

    The other thing I’ve done to make my blog a party is — have parties! I have a First Friday link party for writers that I’ve done monthly for a while, and then more recently quarterly.

    Giving my readers a chance to be the stars and link posts from their own blogs has helped readers get to know each other, and me get to know readers better. Bloggers need to be on the lookout for pportunities to connect with readers, and connect them to each other. That builds the relationships that make a great party atmosphere.

  5. Loved this – I wrote something similar the other day about a bad website is like a bad haircut – but I like this better. May I post this on my website with the proper credit (link) back to you and CopyBlogger?

  6. Loved this perspective to website design.

    I also find that ambiance is also created by the story or the why, and is what draws the text and design elements on a website together. Sites like this one, socialtriggers and amyporterfield incorporate this element, and is what helps make them stand out to their audience.

    To give a offline world example – what differentiates a pack of salt that I can buy from the supermarket for $1 versus Himalayan salt which sells for $70? It is the story and claims of Himalayan salt having health benefits. The packaging/ambiance around Himalayan salt reinforces the value as well.

  7. This is a great analogy of your site vs visitors. We are not just looking at the number of visits but also on how long our visitors stay interested on the site. This means how long they stay, page visits, and how often they go back.

  8. Hi Carol.. nice to see you on here. When I grow up to be more like you, I’ll invite myself to one of your parties… maybe even send you an invitation to one of mines.

    This is really nice! What’s happening graphically with Pinterest, Facebook, and even Twitter is testament to the fact that content may be king, but there’s a lot more to the Kingdom. And what better way to showcase it than with big, tasteful, strategically placed graphics?

    Mary-Ann, think BRANDING. I conceive of your Ambiance blog as something with great cultural content and strong branding components that fit together elegantly. If done right, it will drive a whole lot of people to shop for your teas. I just LOVE the idea. In fact, you may end up And the Ambiance theme is just perfect because it will help you to build that brand by subtly associating it with bigger, larger-than-life concepts you write about. I totally see you actually re-designing more elegant spaces associated with the Ambiance site that does E-commerce with the tea in a way that is consistent conceptually with your new brand. Go sign up for this course and build on your ideas: https://www.coursera.org/course/contentstrategy

    I can’t wait to see what you will do with this combination.

    • Rodney and Scott,

      Thank you for the encouraging words. I’m now more inclined to go forward. What size images are best for Ambiance Pro?

  9. That’s a great analogy. I’ve always thought about site design as a store front ( probably because of my retail background) but the idea of a party is an interesting one. Responsive themes nowadays are an absolute must. My only problem with the theme above is that there are no text snippets for the blog posts. Is that an option that can be added?

  10. Oh wow, I have been looking for a new WordPress theme lately and this looks like a cracker! $100 – I’m going to have to think long and hard about this!