52 Fridays – #8 Limit Your Website’s Bells & Whistles


52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday. New EMAIL blog subscribers receive a ’52 Fridays’ PDF when they sign up; existing subscribers and new RSS FEED & WORDPRESS subscribers can send a request for their own PDF here.

On all the 52 Fridays website-related posts, I look at things not from the perspective of a website designer or programmer (which I’m not!), but from the view that a customer might have if they were coming to your horsebiz website for the first time. What would invite me in? What will entice me to click through your pages? Anything that could make me click away from your website? And even more important, what might bring me back?

Some website ‘bells & whistles’ just aren’t a good idea because they don’t invite longer stays and return traffic. Here are a few features that you might want to think twice about adding:

  • Automatic sound: This is a recording (typically music) that starts up when someone visits your website. Many people find this annoying, particularly if they’re not expecting it and/or they can’t turn it off. If they can’t quickly eliminate the sound, many will simply click away from your site.
  • Splash page or screen: This is an ‘introduction’ page, sometimes with animation or images. If it serves a purpose, such as Cavalia’s ‘select your language’ option on their splash page, then it can be seen as useful. However, if yours is just an animated or image page and another layer to click through to get to the main event, it might be better to skip it, especially if it takes a while to load.
  • Animated banner ads: Whether you advertise on other websites, sell advertising on your site, or use banner ads to highlight services & products of your own business at your site, blinking animated banner ads are another ‘think twice’ feature. Yes, the whole point of a banner ad is to get attention, but a constantly flashing banner ad is like an irritating neon sign; it’s just not very appealing when you’re trying to read website text or look at images. If you really want animation, have it flash a couple times and then be still, so you’re not driving away your viewers & potential customers.

When designing your website, think about what you like, and don’t like, on websites you’ve visited. And, ask for the opinions of others, especially if they’re your target customers.

It’s also important to look at features and the amount of time necessary to download them at various connection speeds. While we don’t have the same issues with connection speed that we had when the majority of rural horsefolk still had dial-up, there can still be issues with not everyone having the ‘latest and greatest’ connection, nor the most recent technology to view your site with.

What website features do you absolutely hate? Share your ‘worst website features’ by clicking on the Leave A Comment link below.

You can read all the 52 Fridays posts by clicking the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu and selecting 52 Fridays. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #9!

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6 Comments

Filed under 52 Fridays, Equine Industry Marketing, Uncategorized

6 responses to “52 Fridays – #8 Limit Your Website’s Bells & Whistles

  1. Feature I dislike the MOST: sites that change my cursor to some “cutsie” thing like butterflies, flowers or (possibly the WORST) “sparkles”. “LEAVE MY CURSOR ALONE!”, I say! If I wanted cutsie, I would just go buy Hello Kitty paraphernalia and be done with it.

    Signed,
    Cranky person

    • Oh, that’s a good one! I’ve not come across that particular feature before. Thanks for the early morning chuckle.

      This is a perfect example where knowing one’s target market (TM) is crucial – if your TM is teens who like sparkly/cutesie cursor changes, then do it! If that’s not your TM, then don’t do it!

  2. Nan

    Can’t stand that cheesy computer twangy music and hate the dancing people. I’ll leave a site sooner than later because of these two annoyances

  3. Oh, you are so right! The automatic sound can be soooo annoying! I also detest cute little things moving about the page. I came across one site that had butterflies flitting across the page. Made it hard to read because they kept catching my eye. I didn’t stay on that page long.

    Also, a “busy” page can be truly annoying. Too many things going on on the page make me lose interest fast. It also takes longer for the page to load. And then when it does, one never really knows where to look.

    • Very good point, Sue, about the ‘busy’ pages – whether there are lots of link categories or lots of ads, lots of ‘anything’ on a website can make it difficult for your viewer to make heads or tails of what’s there.

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