Sunday, June 13, 2010

Top 15 Worst Website Practices - Part 1

With so many band and artist-centric sites like MySpace and ReverbNation around these days, it's easy for a band to believe that a website presence isn't required, yet it's an important piece of your online strategy. Your website is directly under your control, can be customized specifically for your message, and you never have to worry about a hosted site going out of business or changing the terms of service suddenly one day in the future.

That being said, there's a way to build it that's very friendly to your fans, visitors and search engines, but unfortunately not everyone chooses that route. So if you're about to build your own site or if you have one already, take a look at the following practices that are guaranteed to turn off your visitors. You know what they are yourself because you probably see them on other sites every day, but that doesn't mean you should emulate a bad practice.

Not only do many of the following aggravate people, but they're death to search engines. If you want fans to find you, make sure these are avoided.

1) Pull-down boxes for navigation. Designers love them, visitors hate them, search engines can't read them. Stay away.

2) Flash animation. Looks cool, but sometimes people just want some info and not cartoons. Search engines can't read any of the info in a Flash movie so they're a waste of time and money.

3) All graphics and little text. Search engines love text. Visitors love text. Pictures are nice, but use them in moderation.

4) A "splash" page. A splash page is an opening page with a movie or flash animation and no information. The whole "Enter Here" thing is so Web 1.0. There's no info for a search engine to grab and your visitors hate them. Avoid at all costs.

5) Frames. Again, so Web 1.0. Sites with frames went out a long time ago. Get with the times and dump these babies.

6) Pop-ups. It doesn't matter where they come from or if they're selling something or not, everyone hates them.

7) Dead links. This is just poor website design. It happens to everyone at some point, but remember that both search engines and visitors hate them.

Tomorrow we'll look at poor site practices 8 through 15, focusing more on search engine optimization.

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Anonymous said...

#1 and #2: Not true that search engines can't read them. They can now. Pulldown boxes for navigation are pretty much accepted as standard nowadays, and I don't know that it's true that "visitors hate them" - they can be an ergonomic and good solution for sites with many menu choices.

The rest of your recommendations are valid and true.

Jaya said...

Definitely with you on most of this, but wanted to clarify #1. Do you mean using a form option box as a pull-down, or drop-down menus in general. Also, did you find #1 referenced somewhere as I'd like to check out how current it is.

Bobby Owsinski said...

Drop-down menus in general. I'll try to find the survey that states that visitors aren't that fond of these.


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