At first, I was doubtful. I thought perhaps Patapage was some kind of annoying overlay, not unlike those you get when you follow certain referrer links from Twitter. You know the kind; they let you vote up and down, share and retweet the page. To me, those overlays never add value to the site; they just add visual noise and an extra step when I actually do want to share the link, since I have to close that header first.
Instead, Patapage allows you to improve elements that are probably already present on your page. You can add simple photo galleries that draw from your Flickr stream, interactive wiki elements and e-commerce listings, windows to external sites and social media sharing interfaces without actually sending users away from your site, and you can do it all without really knowing a lick of coding.
One of my favorite elements is a feedback tab and form elementl. It should help users feel like you’re listening, and also prompt ample feedback with which you can easily tailor your content.
If you’re a musician, another awesome feature is the fully customizable audio player that you can load up with your songs, without knowing the first thing about building a web page.
I was wary of Patapage, since it seemed to promise nothing more than window dressing. I couldn’t have been farther off with my assumption. It’s actually a very powerful website creation tool that provides the extra “oomph” many amateur sites are lacking at a relatively low cost. Low doesn’t mean free, though. It’ll cost $89 a year for a single site, or $390 a year for a multi-site license that covers 100 domains. It’s well worth a look if you need something to boost the (social) media aspect of your website, and don’t want to learn advanced web development or pay someone else to do it for you.
If you’re a Patapage user, let us know what you think of the service in the comments.
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Social Media in the Enterprise