Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2004
In my web surfing adventures, I've found a few site elements which make surfing easier and more enjoyable. There are no concrete, hard- and-fast rules to follow - these are just observations of some things which I virtually always look for in a site.
So without further ado, here is my list.
I often look for a way to contact the webmaster. I may want to tell him something about his site (privately), propose a link exchange or just drop him a line. I feel an email link or a link to a form is something to expect to find on every single page. If you are running a commercial site this is essential - your customers want to be able to tell or ask you things and if you want their business you had better make it easy for them.
I like guestbooks. When I run into a site that I find enjoyable, I want to tell the webmaster. Give him or her a compliment - I think it's a good exchange. The webmaster worked hard and provided something that was entertaining, informative or useful. It's nice to let him know in return. So please put a link to the guestbook on every page.
A good navigational system is very important. A menu of some kind, with a link back to the home page, needs to be on every page of the site. Sometimes this may consist of a simple "previous" and "next", but please always add a "home" link in this case. If I've surfed a ways on your site, I want to be able to get back to the index quickly without using the "back" button.
Nothing makes me leave a site faster than finding one of those silly little "right click" scripts which attempts to disable the right-click functions. Not only do these not work, but they are rude and violate some of the primary tenets of the internet - free, sharing, and community. Also, you are modifying my browser controls - which is not a nice thing to do. If you display something on your page I guarantee you that it can be taken, no matter how many scripts or functions you install.
Speaking of browser control - don't modify my screen size, buttons, menus, cursors or anything else that my browser does. You want me to leave fast - resize my browser to fit the whole screen and remove the menu. I will be out of your site in a second!\
Whether your site is personal or professional, tell me a little about yourself, your wife, your kids, and your pets. I find it much easier to like someone and be receptive to their message if I know something about them. Just a quick page with a few paragraphs is fine. If you are going to ask me to fill out a form, please let me know how you are going to use the information. You want my address? Why? Phone number? What do you need that for? More importantly, how safe is this information?
I know many people like to put banner exchanges on their sites, but please keep it to a minimum. First, banner exchanges don't work very well. Second, they make the pages load slowly. And third, if there is more than one or two banners on a page it's pretty tacky. If you are going to insist on putting background music on your site, please give me an obvious way to turn it off.
Please don't expect me to go searching through your whole page for a little dot hyperlink. I've found sites which bury the link to the next page in the strangest places - in someone's eye, for example. Normally, I am just going to leave instead of trying to find out how to navigate.
Well, that's a start. I hope these ideas are of some value and help you make a better, more friendly site.
About The Author
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets. This website includes over 1,000 free articles to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.
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Claudia Arevalo-Lowe is the webmistress of Internet Tips And Secrets and Surviving Asthma. Visit her site at (http://survivingasthma.com)