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When is a Website TOO MUCH?

 

CCI WHITE PAPER

When is a Website TOO MUCH?

The website business is constantly evolving and ever changing, as newer technology becomes the main stream sometimes people get carried away and think they have to incorporate the latest hot new trend into their website. While the newer technology is usually appealing, it is easy to get carried away with too many new gadgets and gizmos. Incorporating too many bells and whistles into your website may actually become more of a distraction rather than a useful medium of communication with your website visitors. Too often people are actually distracted from your main marketing message or “call to action” by some new widget on your website.

Don’t be distracted by technology

It is all too easy to get distracted by technology and lose focus on what really matters: “content!” Too many options can be confusing and distracting. Too often when new features are discussed there is a very real risk of being attracted by the coolness of new technology and adding technology for technology sake, not for an improved web experience. Never lose sight of what is the intended purpose of your website. Before adding any new technology to your website you should always ask yourself, “how will this help achieve the goals I have for my website?” If the answer to that question doesn’t help to achieve your website’s goals then don’t be so quick to jump on the technology band wagon.

Keeping up with the neighbors

This problem is further compounded as people see others loading their website with features, so they feel the need to do the same just to keep up.

To stand out from the crowd consider cutting back on the features. Strip your website down to the bare essentials. Too many gizmos and gadgets on your website may hurt the performance of the site as many of them connect to third party web-servers to pull information essential for their operation. Not only does this affect the load time it also creates a dependency on resources that are out of your control, if something goes wrong with these 3rd party services then that cool new feature on your website may not function as intended and may end up hurting your web presence rather than enhancing it. When you find yourself thinking about adding a feature, stop and ask yourself why it’s needed. Work hard to justify the addition. Don’t just ask around your office or ask a committee if they want the feature as most will always say yes to new features. Instead, ask them if they will use the feature, how often they will use it, and why they will use it. By asking these types of questions you’ll get much better feedback.

Technology doesn’t encourage activity

Don’t be tricked into thinking that visitors demand certain features and functionality. Guest aren’t really interested in the technology, they are far more interested in getting the information they need quickly and easily then getting it through some flashy feature.

A huge number of features can actually reduce and discourage activity on the website. You risk losing visitors if website becomes overly complicated to use. Often times a website with too many bells and whistles will just overwhelm and frustrate new visitors and guests. Most visitors come to your site anguish to get to information and when they can’t get what they want quickly they will simply exit your site.

Check your web reports and see what features are used most on your website. Then remove features that aren’t being used. Remember, you can always reintroducing features in the future if enough visitors tell you they miss a feature you removed. Again, don’t introduce any new features unless there is already evidence of demand. For example, if you see in your web report, people always go from one section of your website to another page. If that is the case, consider making the most visited pages of your website a more prominent link on your home page, which will help to streamline the process of getting the intended information to the website visitor, and will increase the overall effectiveness of your website.

Be a technology skeptic and be sure to focus on people instead.

One way to reduce the number of components in the page is to simplify the page design. But is there a way to build pages with richer content while also achieving fast response times? Here are some techniques for reducing the number of HTTP requests, while still supporting rich page designs.

Ways to speed up your website

Reducing the number of HTTP requests in your web page is a good place to start. This is the most important guideline for improving web performance for first time visitors as 40-60% of daily visitors to most sites are first time visitors and as such their “cache memory” is empty. Cache memory, means that rather than downloading the information fresh from the website each time a page loads it will pull the info (images, flash video, etc) from your computer’s local hard drive rather than downloading it from the server each time the page loads. Most all popular web browsers store website information on your computer’s local hard drive in order to make websites perform better on your future visits to the website. Making your page fast for these first time visitors is key to a better user experience. Ask your web developer to make sure that as many files as possible on the page are combined together. This will reduce the number of HTTP requests by combining all scripts into a single script. Similarly combining all using a single style sheet on the website makes the site more efficient. Combining files is more challenging and require more load time when the scripts and style sheets vary from page to page. Also, combining your background images into a single image and defining it as background-image with background-position properties to display the desired image will also help to speed up your website response times.

If you have questions about your website please feel free to contact CCI's web manager Tom Affeld taffeld@cciflorida.com