10 Things You Need To Know About Designing A Business Web Site To Attract My Attention

Dear website owner intent on increasing traffic to your site.  If you want to attract me (and keep me), then make sure you do these 10 things.

Dear website owner intent on increasing traffic to your site. If you want to attract me (and keep me), then make sure you do these 10 things.

Dear Looking To Design A Business Web Site,

When you begin to create your business website, take the time to think about your user. We are all users of the internet and website space, so I thought I'd leave you with some tips and advice on how to design your website with me, and ultimately your user, in mind.

Tip 1. Make Your Site Useful

I like sites that do useful things or contain interesting information.

Tip 2. Make Sure Your Site Loads Fast

I like sites that load fast and are easy to use.

Tip 3. Make Sure Your Site Has Focus And Purpose

I especially like sites with focus and purpose,
whether the topic is tea cozies or aerospace composites.

Tip 4. Design Your Site To Make It Easy To Read/Navigate Through

I like reasonably large text that has lots of contrast with its background so that it's easy to read.

It must be used to compose full sentences with correct grammar and punctuation.

But a site shouldn't glob on much text that I get bogged down in reading it all just to figure out what's going on.

An executive summary and a link that I can "click for more" is excellent, whether the more is pictures or specifications or the story behind the widget I'm looking at.

Tip 5. Make It Visually Appealing

I like thumbnail images that are big enough to see what the picture is of, and that get a lot bigger when I click them (but not so big that I have to scroll my window to see the whole thing, unless I specifically asked for that).

Tip 6. Don't Make It Too Sale-Sy

I know salespeople like "testimonials" but I never read them on a seller's site (I prefer to read the bad reviews on review sites, it's not just schadenfreude but it gives an understanding of the worst that can happen if I deal with a company), and rarely buy from someone who plasters their site with them.

That sort of thing always seems amateurish, especially the epic lists of testimonials.

I also hate sites that try to sell stuff then hide what they're selling and how much it costs behind schlock about who they are and how cool they are because of it.

I also hate it when a real-world company tries to get its web site to take the place of all its advertising and real-world presence.

It's like they don't understand that a web site is just a supplement to everything else they do, that it gives them a presence in a new medium, it doesn't necessarily replace what was already there.

Tip 7. Make Sure Your Images Are Internet-Friendly

I hate when a site uses the HTML image resize feature to make thumbnails out of full-sized images on the fly.

I'd rather the site have a dedicated thumbnail linked to a full-sized image.

It speeds up loading and saves bandwidth because only the pics requested have to load.

I hate sites that resize my browser window to fit their content rather than the other way around.

I also hate the Adobe Flash-only sites that have become especially popular with those who consider themselves artsy types, architects in particular.

Tip 8. Keep Your Web Site Name Short And Memorable

I hate sites with titles so long that I can't remember them.

Forcing me to bookmark a site to remember it condemns it to being forgotten and then deleted in the annual purge.

Unless it stays valuable while its forgotten, and that only happens if my tastes don't change in the meantime.

It's tough to recommend a site you can't remember the name of.

Tip 9. Invest Some Of Your Time Flipping Through Sites Studying The Attributes And Characteristics That Distinguish A Well-Designed Site From A Poorly Designed One

Mostly I wish more site designers would flip through the catalogs of websites that suck that are available all over the web and try to avoid at least the bigger and harder to implement pitfalls.

Some designers have and to great effect.

Tip 10. While I Understand That Ads Can Make You Money, Don't Plaster Them Everywhere

Finally, ads have in general gotten so annoying and garish that I usually just leave my ad-blocker on.

If I'm really impressed with a site, I'll turn the blocker off and go on a clicking spree.

If the ads aren't intrusive, I'll leave the blocker off at the site.

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