Secrets of Successful Websites Part 3
The trick is in satisfying all of the different requirements of a website at the same time, and delivering excellence in multiple dimensions. Consider that a web site is a multi- dimensional object. Two dimensions of each page are seen on the screen at any one time, and multiple screens will describe the third. Unseen by the user, but just as real is the code behind each of those screens than makes motion, navigation, and the like possible.
But there are other, abstract dimensions which are even more important: the interaction and chemistry between the website and the users, and between the web page and the search engines. These chemistries are abstract because, though they are very real and important to the success of the site, they are created by the physical objects mentioned in the beginning, in conjunction with the perceptions of the users and the search engines. These comprise the website experience.
The real magic comes in manipulating the real dimensions to attract the right viewers, and create the right experience to induce them into buying your product.
The success factors for dealing with search engines are exactly opposite those required by the ultimate viewers of your website. Consumers want attractively packages graphics, and easily digested bullets about what your site is about. They want sites that are easily navigable. Search engines can’t read or index graphics or any kind.
Search engines want specific and formatted textual phrases in explicit locations to index your pages. Each search engine has its own set of targets, or those things it considers most desirable. Directories (again each one is different) want another set of requirements. Most of the formatting protocols required by the search engines would be quite unappealing to the end user.
Add to this the fact that search engines are constantly changing and adapting their criteria for ranking and listing, and you have quite a puzzle. The search engines need to be appeased because they are the primary engine which deliver users to the website. And, unless the message on the web page is appealing to the consumer, they will leave for greener pastures as soon as they arrive.
How then, given the mutual antagonism of the requirements in web pages of users and search engines, does one appease both in the same website? And remember, one does have to appease both, because you must pass through the search portal in order to get to the end users.
Obviously, some sleight of hand is required to get the maximum effect from both search engines (used in the broadest sense, so as to include directories, and pay per click organizations), and the ultimate viewers. Some of these techniques involve techniques that are not at all straightforward. Examples might include hidden text, cloaking, multiple submission, multiple doorways, hidden hyperlinks, independently targeted pages, timed and choreographed submissions, and on and on. There are literally dozens of tricks professional webmasters use to enhance the performance of their web pages.
To list them all would be futile, because each search engine has its own weaknesses and defenses against these tactics, and as soon as one tactic is eliminated, the professional webmaster community will find another loophole, or way to gain an advantage for our clients.
The second skirmish you must win to have a successful website (after you succeed in getting the viewers to click onto your site) is holding their interest. Behaviorists tell us that there is about a 20 second window of opportunity to grab the average viewer’s attention. In most cases this means that pages must be lightweight—very quick download time.
It also means that your graphics must be attention grabbing, concise, and meaningful. It is true that a picture is worth about a thousand words.
Excess sound and motion can be distracting, and annoying to the viewer. Good quality sound takes forever to download, and most viewers simply don’t have the patience. Of those that do, even fewer will be happy reading and absorbing your message with music that they didn’t choose blaring at them. So, except in exceptional cases (like a site which markets CDs) sound will obfuscate your message. And a little motion goes a long way.
Gimmicks don’t make for successful websites. Keeping in mind the basics, and paying attention to the hundreds of little details wins the race.
We’ve got lots more ideas. If you want to hear more, just contact us!
Website Secrets 1
Website Secrets 2