A browser theme is more than a pretty picture, or it should be. That’s why we call ours “interactive browser themes” and we’ve seen browser themes deliver 6 – 12x more clicks than the average visits to our partner sites. You get this return traffic by utilizing the content you’ve already created for your web site. It’s a simple matter of exposing it and directing users back to your site through the browser theme.
Here are some tips to help you get started.
RSS Feeds in Your Browser Theme
If you have a web site, blog, audio/video content, or even photos, you can offer a feed of your content. You can see an example of almost all of these at work in our NASA browser theme. NASA generates news, videos and photos constantly and have feeds for virtually all their content. Explore the NASA Multimedia site, then compare how you can utilize the feeds differently in your browser theme.
The news feed in the toolbar ticker is a highly engaging element. That’s why in the early stages of our BT:Engage browser theme creator, it was one of the essential features to include for what is still a limited feature set product. You’ll find an option to add an RSS/Atom Feed under the Widgets tab when you’re building a theme.
The great news is, if you are using a popular blogging platform or publishing tool like TypePad, WordPress, or Blogger, you have a feed automatically. Even other non-blogging sites like social photo-sharing service Flickr offer feeds of your content. As an added bonus, you can use products like Feedburner to get additional analytics and reports about your feed usage. You can run your feed through their system before putting the link into your browser theme.
Hotlink Your Logo
The RSS feed delivers dynamic, breaking news to your audience and goes a long to deepening your relationship with your audience. That doesn’t diminish the fact that they have an affinity for your brand and many users simply want to start at the top of your site. Adding your web URL to your logo right in the BT:Engage browser theme creator turns a flat image into a clickable one, and that gets users back to your site a lot. It’s a simple addition and not one to forget if you’re looking to optimize your user engagement.
Browser Theme Toolbar Buttons
These are the work horses of your browser theme. They’re not pretty and not sexy, but they get the job done – just don’t get too much of a good thing.
You should include 3-5 buttons in your browser theme that link back to the key areas of your site where your community visits or interacts the most. These could point to your photo or video galleries, your community forums or your news page. If you have a commerce area, don’t ignore those. The people using your browser theme are your Super Fans, or soon will be. Help them support you.
The sports teams that use browser themes often have two commerce links in their browser themes. One button will point to the team store, the other to get tickets. The dual commerce connection isn’t limited to teams, though. What we see is more than a doubling of clicks to commerce when the two button approach is used. Just make sure your giving enough content around those commerce links to your audience knows it’s not all about the money.
These are the basics. They are core to every product Brand Thunder has built and why we made this the starting point for our BT:Engage browser theme creator. We’ll add more functionality over time and give you more options, but if you get the fundamentals right – the rest comes easy.