Way No. 1 - Clog Up Their Internet Connection
Imagine it. They're happily surfing around on Google looking for your 'widget' and everything's going smoothly. Your website appears in the first page listings (congratulations you must have employed magnet4web or another highly-esteemed website marketing company!) and they click through to you. Then their internet connection starts to clog up. It is positively groaning and creaking under the strain of downloading your homepage which has so many images on it takes over 30 seconds to appear. They look at the progress bar at the bottom of their screen. It reads '20%'. They look at their watch and then click on the little 'X' at the top right of their screen. Well done - you've just sent away a visitor - for good.
Way No. 2 - 'I am not a number - I am a free man'
Along come some more visitors. They lick their lips in anticipation of viewing your widgets which they are very interested in buying - they have their credit card handy.
They land on your homepage and all is well, at first. "The benefits of choosing Widgets Inc. are as follows..." Your homepage is laden with customer-focused benefits and selling points - excellent. But wait a minute. What's that at the bottom of the page? It's not what I think it is, is it? Oh dear, there in black and white is one of the fundamental no-nos in web design that is guaranteed to send the message "This website was built by my dog":
"Welcome - you are visitor number 102"
Regardless of the number (and let's face it 80% are either you or your family!) you will be sending away people in droves. Well done - your site is becoming less busy by the day. Let's move on to way number three..
Way No. 3 - "Help me buy from you - please..."
They're lost. You have built the site around what seems a logical approach but your visitors are lost. You've given most prominence to testimonials but they just want to send you an email. They click on three, four and sometimes five pages but can't find your phone number or email address anywhere. But it's okay - of course they have a spare quarter of an hour to hunt through your website (that doesn't have a site map) to find your contact details when they already have another window open with your competitor's website - complete with email address, phone number, fax number, street address, mobile number, map and GPS coordinates..
Yes - you've guessed it - you're one step closer to that ghost-town..
Way No. 4 - 'Please Let Me Watch Intro'
Yes, admit it - you once thought the best thing on the planet was a website that started up by having a revolving animation of the company logo that exploded, span round a bit to an 80s sounding techno tune and then re-constituted itself in the centre of the screen with the immortal words:
"Click here to enter site"
Strange that - "enter site". That's what all your visitors were trying to do when they typed in your web address or clicked on your link but instead they were faced with Jean Michelle Jarre and some possessed bit of code that replicated the effect of someone regurgitating your business' corporate identity over the screen. Nice. Flash intro = trash intro. Use em (the intros) and lose em (the visitors).
Way No. 5 -"I am five years' old - I like things that flash"
One day in the future a law will be passed that will make it illegal to use scrolling text, flashing images, rotating heads, animated animals and bouncing cursors on a website. Your website is here to do business. It is supposed to be a serious tool in your marketing armoury. It should be used to convey useful information to your visitors and convince them that you are worth doing business with.
Dress it up with flashing icons, swirling graphics, flashing logos and spinning pictures and the merry-go of visual delights will just make your visitors sick. They will leave your glitzy fairground never to return..
Michael Cheney is Author of The Website Marketing BibleTM. Take the Free 7-Part Course "Internet Marketing Made Easy" and get your free sampler of 'The Bible' here: http://www.websitemarketingbible.com/marketing/