Do not use any free web hosting service even if you are just starting a side business. While I have written an article in detail about this particular subject, it cannot be stressed enough. You must give the impression of being a "real business player" by having your own domain name and pay to have it hosted. Read the article for more.
No Music Plug-ins
Do not have any midi, wav, or other music related plug-ins unless there is a specific purpose directed for your target audience like music related site. I made this mistake the first month that I joined the Internet business community and eliminated all music when I found myself muting the volume while visiting my own site. Remember . . . do what you expect your target audience expects and wants . . . not what you like or want them to hear when in most cases has nothing to do with motivating a buy or return.
Keep Colors Simple
Do not use bright background colors like hot pink, fluorescent whatever, yellow, lime, red, orange and etc. unless you are selling a product to a certain target audience that requires it or doesn't mind constantly blinking to adjust their eyes to read the copy. Why send the wrong message to the target audience by making a site visually unattractive. (I won't even discuss what the wrong font color can do to 40 and over eyes when added to a wild solid or patterned background!) Stick to . . . acceptable colors like white, black, or other appropriate dark colors. (Light colored non-busy patterns combinations can be used, but are in the minority.) Font Colors . . . should contrast, but be aesthetically pleasing for easy reading.
Font Size Is Important
Do not make font size too small where it requires straining the eyes to read or putting one's nose to the screen! BTW -- I also wrote a more detailed article about this pet peeve of mine!
Keep Links Visible
Do not be customer service stupid . . . by making visitors look all over the place to find an e-mail, contact, and/or feedback links. One or more, especially the e-mail link, need to be on every page, preferably towards the end with other key links. A frames format should always have a contact link in the menu.
State Your Purpose
Do not forget to mention on the introduction page . . . about your business' purpose and/or reason why the target audience should continue visiting the site! Make sure it is loud and clear within the first paragraph, if not the first few sentences. You can then point them to other pages for more specific information.
Don't Overuse Graphics
Do not misuse graphics/photos . . . Use them only to make a point or support what you are offering in the way of products and/or services. The target audience will be more patient when it is relative, even if it is subtle. (Note: Page headers/banners, navigation buttons, and the like are not what I am talking about.)
Take It Easy On The Banners
Do not overload on link banners . . . especially at the beginning of a page. You really have to be the judge on the value of incoming traffic from reciprocals versus what audience is clicking away to another site before anything is known about what your business site offers.
Okay . . .
I am even saying enough already! I hope some of these "do nots" are helpful, especially to the beginners or soon to be Internet entrepreneurs.
Wishing all of us the success we so richly deserve!
Copyright © 1998
All Rights Reserved
David G. Bancroft
Published in InternetDay.com eZine on August 21, 1998.