20 Factors to Consider for Web Site Success


As an internet junkie, I see lots of web sites each day. I’ve seen some web sites that are successful and others that have the potential, but are missing a few key elements. Think about these as “technical” and “non-technical” factors that can help your website succeed and attract online customers.

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  1. Call to Action – As a web site visitor, I want to get straight to the point. If I don’t know what you want me to do on your web site, then you have failed. Make sure your book now buttons and you phone numbers are “above the fold”. If your visitors have to scroll to find it, you have failed yet again. Think of a folded newspaper, the most vital information is above the fold.
  2. The K.I.S.S. Approach to Navigation – Do not make your navigation hard to use. Visitors have a hard time making a decision if you give them too many choices. Make your navigation prominent and easy to find on each page. Vincent Flanders calls this Mystery Meat Navigation.
  3. Readable Text – Make sure that the text on your page is readable to all of your visitors. By using a web safe font and a decent font size, you surely can’t fail.
  4. Quality Control – Broken links and images can lower the trust of your visitors. When people don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you. Be sure to search your web site with a fine toothed comb.
  5. Marketing – It never ceases to amaze me how many web site owners don’t market their web site. Many just assume that by having a web presence, they are guaranteed online success. You may have the best web site out there, but how can it be successful if no one knows about it?
  6. New Content – Search engines thrive on new content and so do your visitors. If something isn’t new, why should they come back?
  7. Cross Browser Compatibility – Does your web site work in major web browsers and operating systems? If not, you are probably losing business. To test your web site in different browsers and systems I recommend using Browsershots.org .
  8. Return Incentive – Do your visitors have a reason to come back? You can update your specials regularly and even provide a contest to entice them.
  9. Not Enough Information – It’s good to have a few paragraphs that provide information your visitors are looking for.
  10. Too Much Information – Web users are scanners. They won’t read eight paragraphs of content; they will in fact scan to find the points that interest them.
  11. Visual Appeal – Do you use clipart or little animations of dogs, cats or hamsters on your web pages? If so you should ditch them and use some high quality photography. Users want a glimpse of what their paying for, not a piece of clipart from back in 1997.
  12. No Scrolling Text – Sadly, I still see these every now and then. Text should not scroll slowly (or quickly) across your screen and visitors shouldn’t have to wait to see the entire message scroll by.
  13. Ads for Competitors – Some web hosting companies, who offer free web site hosting, will put ads on your pages to cover the costs. Most of the time, these advertise your competitor’s web site. If you are cheap about your web hosting, you visitors probably won’t trust you.
  14. Load Time – The rule of thumb for a web site’s load time was nine seconds. Those nine seconds were to captivate the user into buying. Nowadays the time needed to amaze, keeps getting quicker as internet connection speeds get faster. Be sure that your images and code are properly optimized for best web performance.
  15. Under Construction – I see these too; it’s insane to think that I could have been a potential customer. “Coming soon” pages are an eyesore as well. If you don’t have the content, the page shouldn’t exist. One of the sorriest things that I have witnessed is large company web sites that “go down for maintenance”. A web site should never go down. If it must go down, it should be down for no longer than five minutes. This can turn off potential customers and most likely affect your search engine ranking.
  16. Splash Pages – Ever go to a web site that makes you click a link to enter it? By adding an extra step just to get to your web site is just wrong. I usually leave.
  17. Visible Hit Counters – Never let your visitors see how much traffic your site has received. Your site should reflect a professional appeal. Hit counters were a neat feature back in the late ‘90s, but you should not be using them today especially when you are selling something.
  18. Background Music – Nothing kills me more than to enter a web page and have some crazy music begin playing. If you must have background music, please have a way to shut it off. It’s annoying.
  19. 404 Pages – Let’s say that a bad link got past you from tip #4. Is the visitor going to see an ugly “404 – File Not Found” page or are they going to find a friendly page that looks like your site explaining what had happened.
  20. Redesign – The web is continuously changing and so are web technologies. Consider redesigning your web site every two years. Not only will your site be up-to-date, but your visitors will appreciate the change as well.
  21. Bonus – Commenting on blogs (such as this one) is a great way to let people know you are out there…

In conclusion, be sure to consult with your web designer if something doesn’t quite seem right. Remember technology is changing at a rapid pace. Make sure that your web site isn’t being left behind. Success comes in many different ways, by using the tips above, you shouldn’t fail.

22 replies
  1. I like it
    I like it says:

    Nice and Concise.
    I find these articles are best for educating anyone you are working with.
    I will print this out and give it to my marketing team.
    A team that thinks in terms of print.
    Good Post.

  2. I like it
    I like it says:

    Nice and Concise.
    I find these articles are best for educating anyone you are working with.
    I will print this out and give it to my marketing team.
    A team that thinks in terms of print.
    Good Post.

  3. WebChicklet
    WebChicklet says:

    Great list. I would add one more. Be buzz-worthy. Give your users some reason to talk about you (hopefully positive).

  4. WebChicklet
    WebChicklet says:

    Great list. I would add one more. Be buzz-worthy. Give your users some reason to talk about you (hopefully positive).

  5. Allan Collins
    Allan Collins says:

    @BOTD – Perhaps you should build out more pages.

    @WebChicklet – Thanks for the great tip.

  6. Allan Collins
    Allan Collins says:

    @BOTD – Perhaps you should build out more pages.

    @WebChicklet – Thanks for the great tip.

  7. Paul
    Paul says:

    You had several excellent tips in your article that I had never known. what a big eye opener and thank you so much. I have bookmarked your site and will definitely return.

    Paul C

  8. Paul
    Paul says:

    You had several excellent tips in your article that I had never known. what a big eye opener and thank you so much. I have bookmarked your site and will definitely return.

    Paul C

  9. Steve
    Steve says:

    Two great tips in this article, for me, kind of go together. One, you want to be re-designing your website every two years, and two, you want to have a quicker loading time. Definite food for thought.

  10. Steve
    Steve says:

    Two great tips in this article, for me, kind of go together. One, you want to be re-designing your website every two years, and two, you want to have a quicker loading time. Definite food for thought.

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