To do and not to do! The ways to make your website great

There are many gadget scripts available that will perform neat tricks on web pages and while they may excite you they may disgust visitors. It is always best to test your completed website with your friends and family to determine what works to keep them, and do so without suggesting what you like and what they should like. It is clear to them that the fact that you published an image jumping around then it means you liked it.

Don'ts: Proven stuff that website visitors hate

  1. Useless animation.
    If you use animated images or marquee text, it must deliver a valuable message or call to action. Those animated phones and spinning globe to indicate contact us went out with the '90s. Animations also tend to use up bandwidth and page load time is long so use it only if necessary.
  2. Auto playing music or video.
    Many people tend to visit websites in public places and most times cannot play music. If you have music that auto starts and the person draws unwanted attention then that embarrassment is forever associated with your website and they may never return.
  3. Distorted or disproportionate images.
    You may place an image in your page and because it is too big, you re-size it by dragging an edge. While it fits the space perfectly, it may now look distorted. This appears non-professional and so a visitor will not take seriously your service or product and move on. Not only does it look terrible but the file size does not change when you scale the image so it will cause the page to load slowly and turn the visitor away. Always make your images appear correctly.
  4. Really big images.
    This is a challenge for many people as they use their digital camera with the setting at hi-resolution. The uploaded image tend to be 3000px wide and 6000px high. This will not display on the screen and while modern browsers tend to reduce the display to fit the window, the image still wrecks your webpage and you are back to non-professionalism. Use online image editors if you do not have or know how to use the one on your computer.
  5. ALL CAPS and all bold!
    All uppercase text is more of an insult. This is not good for your professional page. It is deemed as shouting or just ignorant. The visitor feels like you are treating them as retarded and cannot read small case text. You lose the visitor and all their potential references.
  6. Endless blog pages.
    A blog software tend to post all entries on the home page but you do not have to use it as such. There are setting that will allow pagination. Use it! Nothing is worse than visiting a page that takes 10 minutes to load because of all the images in posts dating back 6 months.
  7. Interfering backgrounds
    Do not use background images that blend with your text. This is pointless.
  8. A page called 'Links'
    What exactly is that? There must be a relative purpose. Do not add a page that has hyperlinks to websites which are totally unrelated to what you are marketing. Again it is a novelty of the '90s and should be avoided. Page depth and relative hyperlinks do bring value to your website but it should be titled more appropriately like 'Our Associates' 'Additional Info' 'Manufacturers' and so on.
  9. 'Under construction' or 'Coming soon'
    If you do not have content ready for publication then do not place a link to a page that just states 'coming soon' or 'under construction'. This is yet another '90s fad that has faded and is now only considered non-professional. If your website is being updated and you take it off line or it is not yet ready then post a sensible and encouraging statement with an estimated date of completion. Something like 'You have found the right website and we appreciate your visit. We are in the final stages of construction and expect to be online by 6/21' and even better if you provide a form so they can submit an email to be notified when the site is published.

Do's: Positive elements that help to retain visitors

  1. Fast loading home page.
    The home page is the most likely to be found by the search engine so make it light weight to load quickly. You can then put snippets of internal content so the viewer can choose where to go next.
  2. Use relative images.
    Don't place images that is absolutely pointless. If you are selling fish and have images of candles burning without any text declaring some relativity then it makes your site seem non-professional and thwarts the visitors' desire to purchase.
  3. Use contact forms.
    If communication with your visitors is important to your business then provide forms for immediate contact. Placing an email address on the page only open you up to spam and is useless to the viewer who uses web based email (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail etc). When they click the email hyperlink, the default email program on the computer will open and if it is not configured to send mail then it will not work. Now the viewer has to copy and paste. A form will do the job much more efficiently.
  4. Provide lots of details.
    Do not show just an image of your product with a price. Always give complete explanation of usage, functions, durability, sizes etc. You are trying to convince the buyer to get your stuff and they are impressed with your knowledge and trust that they can consult with you if they have questions after purchase. If you sell cakes and you show an image of a Pineapple Upsidedown with the price you may sell one but if you show multiple images and even a video along with details of the hygienic production process, shelf life, storage instructions, calories etc, you will sell much more.
  5. Easy and intuitive navigation.
    Ensure that your primary navigation menus indicate what the page or section is and the landing page shows exactly what the menu indicated.
  6. Post content daily.
    It is surely a task to keep your website fresh with new content but it is a necessity if you want the visitor to spend time at your website and return often. Give the viewer reasons to give you their email address to be notified of updates.
  7. Allow viewer interaction.
    Allow visitors to post comments, cast votes etc. Visitors will always return to follow-up on a response by another and if the comments are exciting then they will refer the page to others. Discussion forums are great but can become chaotic and require consistent monitoring so use this tool with much planning.
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