Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Things not to have on your Web site

I came across this article by Jeff Wuorio.

"When it comes to your company's Web site, there's no shortage of advice on what you absolutely have to have there. But little is often said about those elements that should never see the light of day."

Wuorio lists his nine items and the reasons. I'm going to give my observations about his major points.

1. Your photo on the home page.

Interesting. Feels right. Heck, I don't even have my photo on my personal blog.

2. Visual (and audio) overkill.

I HATE sites that start music as soon as I go to them. Partly, it's because I'm usually already listening to music. Partly, it's because their music is usually treacle. It happens a lot at music and wedding-related sites I go to.

Sites that take too long long to load, I abandon relatively quickly. Virtually all studies suggests my reaction is the norm.

3. Too many confusing menu options.

I took this website design one-day course once - I was visiting a friend in Michigan and had to do something while waiting for the end of the workday - and it suggested a hierarchy very similar to what Wuorio calls for.

Not incidentally, nothing makes me crazier than going to a perfectly good website, only to find that the redesign makes it HARDER to find things.

4. Information that could lead to privacy or security breaches.

That's info that could lose customers forever.

5. Information that could tip off competitors.

Unless it's a public company whose SEC filings are a matter of record anyway. Then I think it's desirable to put that info right on the site. For small businesses, though, he's right. We often get questions about the competition and as often as not, I just check out the website.

That said, I always like websites that give me something for nothing. A restaurant that will give out a recipe or two, or other how-to info that doesn't compromise the bottom line.

6. Undue jargon and techno-speak.

Don't make your customers feel stupid.

7. Content that makes your business sound too good to be true.

Don't lie to me.

8. Unsupervised chat boards.

Moderation in all things.

9. Bad links and outdated material.

My personal pet peeves.

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