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5. Large Media - Java applets, video media and images can be a real pain in you-know-what when they havenít been optimized. There are so many poorly written java apps out there that will actually crash browsers. Large videos and images will cause your site to load slowly and visitors to leave before they even see fully-loaded page.
Make sure you test any java apps across several browsers. If thereís any delay in loading, trash it or fix it. Optimizing large images is also necessary. Adobe ImageReady will significantly cut down loading time of your image while saving itís quality and dimensions.
Video should be an option. Never have it load with your site. Most people donít have time to sit around watching videos on web sites, let alone wait for videos to load. Pictures and text will tell your story just as easily.
Internet users still use dial-up accounts and with rise of people accessing internet from their mobile devices, shaving every second possible off loading time of your site will ensure that visitors do not get impatient and leave.
6. Limited ways to contact - Believe it or not, Iíve actually come across commercial web sites that have absolutely no way to contact anyone associated with site. Unless you hope your web site visitorís reaction to online representation of your business to be a string of profanity, I wouldnít suggest taking this route. In fact, Iíve always urged clients to offer as many ways as possible to contact them on their web sites. Phone, fax, e-mail, contact form, mailing address, etc.
Everyone has their own preferred method of contact. A lot of my clients prefer talking on phone and probably wouldnít be my clients if all I offered as a contact method was e-mail. Me, I hate talking on phone and filling out forms. If you donít offer a link to your e-mail address on your site, you probably wonít hear from me. But what about spam, you say? Well, youíll just have to decide for yourself whatís worse, losing potential paying customers or getting more spam.
7. Long Pages/Entire Site in One Page - When loading a site, finding a page that seems to go on forever can seem daunting. The same amount of information, organized into several pages will seem a lot less scary to your visitors. Labeled pages and sections will lead your visitor to exactly information theyíre looking for as opposed to making them search lines and lines of text to find it. Well organized content on several pages is also something that pleases search engines.
8. No Link Exchange Policy - A lot of web sites out there donít exchange links as a rule. This will not only stunt growth of your link popularity, but potential traffic that could come directly from those links would be lost. You donít have to exchange links with every interested site, but turning them all away is a dangerous practice.
9. Cross-Browser Compatibility Check - Always, always, always check what your web site looks like and how well it functions on other browsers. Do this whenever you update, make new pages, or new versions of browsers come out. Iíve seen some pretty funky stuff around web thatís been caused by non-compatibility. Title images on bottom of page, invisible links, missing images, even some sites that cause browsers to crash.
Here are some of more popular browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) Netscape Opera Mozilla Apple Safari
Download a copy of each of these and check your site! I realize most of you use Windows and canít check your site on Safari, so find a friend who has a Mac. Mac users are growing in numbers and can be some of your web siteís visitors. Make sure what they see is what you want them to.
10. Free Web Space/No Domain Name - This one is all about professionalism. To avoid having your business seem about as serious as little Sallyís lemonade stand down street, donít host it on free web space like Geocities, Angelfire, etc. Get your own domain name. It costs an average of $30/year and you can find good hosting for $10/month, sometimes less. If you canít afford that, I suggest you turn off your computer and sell it for food. Free hosting is straight cheese, and your visitors will get feeling youíre not taking your business seriously.
So, there you have it. The top 10 most ludicrous things you can do with your web site. Iíve heard some web site owners argue that their site visitors have complimented their videos, java apps, music, etc. Just keep in mind, visitors who donít like this stuff leave and you probably wonít hear from them.
The goal of your commercial web site should be to soak up every last potential paying customer from web. Any of these 10 points can turn paying customers away. Respect your visitorsí time, try to make their experience on your site as quick and full of information as possible. Be organized and professional and let your audience see that you know what youíre doing.
Courtney Heard is the founder of Abalone Designs, an Internet Marketing and SEO company in Vancouver, Canada. She has been involved in web development and marketing since 1995 and has helped start several businesses since then in the Vancouver area. More of Courtney's articles are available at www.abalone.ca/resources/