It seems like everyone has their own web portal these days and if you expect to drive sales or to earn ad revenue from your web site then you might want to make sure that you avoid the ten most common mistakes that new webmasters make when they launch a new web site. Some are obvious but others will be hidden such as in the actual HTML code that produces the web page for a browser. Here is a Top Ten list of common issues you should avoid.
1. Check your color codes
When your layout is so bright and intense that it causes your visitors to have an epileptic seizure you might want to tone things down quite a bit. Even if you think your layout is the best thing since the first operating system other people may not. This is an all too common mistake that new webmasters make when designing a site and can cause potential visitors to avoid your site like the plague. Instead use more neutral colors or even the classic black and white color scheme. The idea is to make the visitor comfortable and keep them there long enough to view your content and your ads. A bright red background with lime green text is a strict no-no.
2. Check your page code
Your website might look absolutely perfect in your favorite browser but you have to keep in mind that not everyone uses the same browser that you do. Look for Java script issues or page warnings at the bottom of your browsers status bar. Usually you can click on these warnings and a pop up will explain exactly what line in the code is causing the problem. It might be a missed number or close tag and may be an easy fix. The main thing about a browser warning to remember is that the page might not display correctly for some visitors or certain links or buttons may not function properly. This can also drive visitors away faster than a barn fire. Also make sure your page code is cross browser compatible. This just means that no matter what browser the user chooses to view your content with, the page will display correctly.
3. Check your layout and ad placement/ad type
If you are running a music site the last thing you want is a video ad to start in the middle of a visitors listening session. This can be very annoying and most users will look for other sites that provide the same service that you do. Video and audio ads may seem like the coolest thing ever but to a visitor it is the most annoying thing a webmaster can do. Make sure that if your site serves audio or video that your ads are text based or if they are audio or video based ads make sure they don’t start by themselves. If a visitor wants to view or listen to the content they will activate it and if not they will leave in a rage if the ads are automated.
4. Make sure your site content is meaningful and informative
The worst kind of website is the link farm. These are sites that only post links to other sites while they serve ads. From a search engine point of view this might seem like a good idea but the user can perform their own searches themselves and if they are looking for specific content or information this will be a huge turn off for them. Write information or how to articles that are useful and educational and then place your ads around the content accordingly. Make sure your ads are relative to the content that is on your page and your conversion rates will increase. There is nothing worse than an ad for a Chinese restaurant on a page that contains articles about dog grooming. Make each page count and ensure that the ads have everything to do with the content and you will see higher click through rates and revenue from sales.
5. Create an interactive experience for the user
A little bit of flash here and there might be a good thing but you don’t want to over do it. You have to consider the fact that some users do not want to have to wait for a plug in to download before they can view the content or use your site. Interaction can be as simple as having a place on your page to leave comments or to vote on certain polls you may have listed. Some times visitors like to leave feedback or click “like” button especially if they are passionate about the information and content on your page. This can also be a useful way for you to improve your content for your very valuable visitors by listening to what they have to say.
6. Don’t use illegal downloads or software as bait
Far too many sites are posting illegal bait to get people to come to their site. This could be the promise of watching a new movie release or downloading expensive software for free. The problem here is a simple one. If you get caught you don’t just get in trouble for the initial infraction, you get nailed for every click, download and view that your page has served to all of the visitors you have had. This can be problematic because you will be fined a lot more than what little you might have earned from ad revenue. You also might have to do some serious time in the big house and lose your rights to even use a computer to check your email. These are considered to be serious crimes against legitimate businesses that depend on the sales and downloads that they generate legally. You won’t just be facing the state or government on this one, you will also be facing every company that you stole from.
7. Avoid “Pay Per Click” sites and offers
There are a lot of sites that promise loads of traffic to your web site if you join their “club”. The problem with this traffic tactic is that the traffic is essentially fake. Some companies will tell you to view ads and click on them and in return they will have other members view your ads and click on them. The problem is that you will see a next to zero conversion rate with a huge amount of traffic. Ad marketing companies use the results of your ad revenue conversions and determine if the traffic is genuine or forced. Companies like Google will ban you and delete your account if they find this type of traffic because it costs advertisers hard earned money to pay for this type of scam and a company can not survive if it can not generate income from its marketing campaigns.
8. Keep it clean
Make sure your page layout and ad positions are clean and easy to read. This will help a lot but beyond this literally keep your content clean. Don’t use curse words or vulgar language because a lot of visitors you might get will be families with childrenor even under age viewers. This can cost you especially if you don’t have a disclaimer that is easy to read and find on your site. Some visitors might even report you to the search engines and if this happens your page will not even be listed in the natural results of search queries. This will cost you the most traffic because if no one knows you are there then no one will visit your site.
9. Avoid and check for malware/virus
Another good way to be dumped by all of the search engines is to serve pages that contain malicious code or malware. Some sites use scareware to get visitors to believe something is wrong with their computer. If they do buy into this scam they are directed to a page that will sell them fake anti-virus software or otherwise extort money from them when nothing was wrong in the first place. The worst cases of this are the ads you serve. Some underhanded ad companies will actually install malicious code in their ads so when a visitor is on your site viewing their ads they will automatically be redirected to a malware or scareware page. Always make sure you know who you are dealing with when it comes to ad revenue and marketing. If someone reports your site because of the ads that you might be serving then this can also shut your traffic down. Have you ever conducted a search and clicked on the result that you want only to be directed to a page that warns you not to go to the site. This is where a search engine will put up a brick wall and keep people from being able to view your content.
10. Be polite and be professional
The worst thing you can do is to be be rude or unprofessional. If you have 10 million visitors a day then making a few of them mad won’t matter but if you are like most people that are trying their best to get a few hundred visitors a day to their site then you should always remember this rule. Every visitor counts and every click counts so make sure your visitors feel welcome and comfortable on your site. Create a site that is trustworthy and people will tell their friends about it. This is basically free advertising for you and it is the best kind you can get. If your visitors feel comfortable and trust you then you can expect to see a lot of subscribers and visitors on a daily basis.