Making Your Website Work for You: Bells and Whistles

This week we’ll continue focusing on ways to make your website work FOR you instead of against you in making sales. “Bells & whistles” can be fun, but be careful with fancy features.

Here are four things to keep in mind when enhancing your website with fancier features-Quick Page Download Time With too many fancy features or large photographs, the time it takes for visitors to load your page may slooooow to a crawl. And if it takes longer than a few seconds, you’ll lose shoppers who don’t have the patience to wait. This is especially important on your home page. Be sure that your images are optimized (try the free tool at www.resizeyourimage.com).

– Browser Compatibility

Be cautious with features that only work in Internet Explorer or any other specific browser, or features that are only available in the latest versions of browsers. Some of your visitors may not be running the latest upgrades so always check to be sure that your website will work with older versions of popular browsers. You can do a basic check at www.browsershots.org to see if your layout comes out right.

– Let Your Visitors Be in Control

Please don’t set up your audio files so they start automatically. Offer a “click to play” button instead. Let visitors be in control of video and sound. This is especially important if your target market includes women with small children since they may be holding a sleeping little one who will not be happy if woken by a loud, “Hi! Buy my products!” type message or music that plays itself. Video and sound can be a nice addition and help increase your sales, but show respects for your visitors by allowing them to control it and choose when to turn it on and off.

– Flash Only Websites

If you must use flash or animation, use it only on non-essential parts of the site. Do not turn your entire site into a flash file unless you are absolutely positive that your target market will be able and willing to wait for it download and have the appropriate plug ins to view the site. Do not use flash for your navigation. If you do, anyone with an older computer, older browser, or slow internet connection may not be able to navigate your site at all.

Next week… Making Your Website Work For You! Part 4 of 7, Customer Questions

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