What Not to do on Your Website

10. Do NOT Post Things You Will Regret

I remember just recently a post from a well-liked blogger (who will remain nameless) that lost him quite a few visitors. He flamed before he thought of the consequences.

I also remember, in years past, when I decided to do a giveaway to encourage visits to my Deals site, back when it was the domain for a small home biz we had. Unfortunately, I gave away more than I could afford, and we ate Ramen Noodles for a little while. Wish I had thought that one through more. Of course, I am dying to do an iPod Nano giveaway, but again, I need to think through the costs before I jump.

As I have read recently on at least a dozen blogs, pause before you hit that big SUBMIT button. You can’t take it back after people have seen it.

9. Make Sure Your Site WORKS

Watch for misspellings, broken links, spam comments, etc. Subscribe to your own feed on multiple feed aggregators. View it in IE, Firefox, Opera, Blazer, Galeon, older versions, etc.

8. Don’t Be Graphic or Flash Heavy
Nothing makes me more irritated than having to wait for a flash intro to load. I mean it, 9 times out of 10 I will close the darn thing. Same thing goes for image-heavy sites and sites that use PDFs to convey all their useful info.

7. Don’t be Ad Heavy
If you have an unholy amount of ads, you will drive readers away.

Too many ads = too many things vying for attention.

Some good places for ads include:

*right below a popular story, between the comments and the post
*left sidebar (right side is often hidden until a user scrolls over and it statistically has a lower CTR)
*above the fold (while this is a truth on traditional sites, generally, I have found this is not necessarily a better place on a blog because a good blog encourages users to scroll down)

A good place is wherever a reader’s eye naturally falls. Your hot-spots will be left and top for the most part.

6. Keep your private life off your page.

On a blog, this can be tough. The personal nature of a frequently updated and commented upon site tends to encourage a ‘lets get to know you’ attitude. And, this is what we, as bloggers, want. The occasional insert of an anecdote involving your kids is OK, in fact it may be very useful for making readers feel like they are a part of your inner-circle, increasing reader loyalty.

On the other hand, a site focused on Laptops and Notebooks will not do well if every story involves the site owner’s dog stories. Likewise, a business site will suffer if the owner makes us all gag with his continual references to how in love he is. This is not to say we don’t all love our families, but c’mon, get a personal blog and put that stuff there. If I wanna hear about your lovely family I’ll click that link in your sidebar.

5. Keep Your Promises

If you say you’re coming out with an update on June 7, come out with your update on June 7. Barring that, at least come out with an apology explaining the circumstances and when the update will be available.

If you say you’re giving away 20 free T-shirts, give away the shirts.

If you promise an exclusive story on XBox 360, darnit, give us a story on XBox 360.

4. Stay tightly within your niche.

This is probably the most difficult one for many of us. In this world topics overlap and features stories are interrelated, oftentimes. However, when someone comes to your gadget blog, they don’t want to hear your rant against the President or how Sean Penn is a dork. Stay on target. You’ll keep your keywords within your targeted niche for search engines, Adsense, etc. and you’ll also prevent ticking your readers off.

3. Watch your language.

You never know how conservative your readers are until you make one mad by writing like you’re an adult bookstore owner. If your target audience aren’t porn addicts, don’t discuss your subject matter in an adult fashion. Keep it clean pal.

2. Avoid annoying your audience.

Don’t make use of annoying site techniques. These include, but are not limited to: auto-refresh, not allowing your users to utilize the back-button, ad pop-ups, making every link in your site pop-up into a new window, flashing text, scrolling text, music, etc.

1. Think with the end in mind.

What I mean by using this popular phrase here is keep your hopes, dreams, plans, and purposes for your site in your mind with every decision you make. You’ve heard of the phenomenally successful “Purpose Driven Church” haven’t you? Run your site, your business, with its purpose foremost in your mind. Each ad, each link-exchange, the topics you choose to write on… All these things should be intentional, purposeful.

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