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Web Design And Low Fluff Tolerance

Apr 27, 2008
There's a part in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang where Caractacus Potts, played masterfully by Dick Van Dyke, has the opportunity to visit with candy maker Lord Scrumptious about a treat he had invested purely by accident.

Lord Scrumptious appears in every way a very busy man and a rather no nonsense character. He gives Caractacus a short period of time to pitch the idea - and he's keeping track of the time while he continues with his daily routine.

Caractacus seems to stumble all over his words and is hardly a convincing salesman. He tries, but Lord Scrumptious is bored. Still gazing at his watch the aforementioned Scrumptious says, "Time's up. Had your chance. Muffed it."

All over the Internet, at this very moment, online users are demonstrating something similar when they back away from an online store that failed to give them what they wanted.

Times up.

Had your chance.

Muffed it.

When it comes to web design you cannot rely on proverbial cotton candy and carnival hotdogs. Internet users are demonstrating a low tolerance for fluff. The Internet is made for u-turns and people are taking them.

Can you define what your site does that can keep a visitor in place? Is your site easy to navigate? Is your content compelling enough to cause visitors to take a second look? When you look at your stats do you find that the majority of visitors spend 30 seconds or less perusing your site?

These really are questions that first time online businesses should evaluate, but these questions are not limited to noobies. Existing businesses that want to reinvent their web presence should learn to be very bold and objective about what their site can and can't do.

Too many times web design will center on what appeals exclusively to the business owner. This reminds me of watching those home selling shows on TV. Homeowners are constantly told to minimize and neutralize in order to allow guests to visualize the home as their own instead of appealing to a singular style that may be hard for them to get past.

That's not to say your website should be bland, but you may want to get outside input into style designs and textures. Web builder software can help by providing multiple proven templates that can take some of the guesswork out of the basic style.

Learn not to overload your site with nonessentials. Learn to maximize bullet points and headlines. Learn to inform and use summary text boxes.

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is an example of seeking to make your content pop with as few words as possible.

If we're to learn anything from the nervous Caractacus Potts it would be that you need to be decisive and don't shy away from a call to action. Don't be belligerent, but believe enough in your product that you don't have to experience the words...

Times up.

Had your chance.

Muffed it.

I honestly think web users are looking for sites that make it worthwhile to visit and that inspire them to make your Internet location one they are happy to return to over and over again.
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