Why Your Site Sucks (Doug Karr Session)

Doug stresses these are observations & ideas, not rules. He went through his list of things that make visitors bounce, through the alphabet. I, of course, love alphabet themes! Plus, he pulled actual websites from the attendee list—I’d love his thoughts on some of my sites, but I didn’t make the slideshow.

  • Address: be sure your address is available. Especially if you have a physical business. Putting an address on your site builds trust.
  • Blog: recognized as the personal voice of a business—be sure it is at the forefront of your site.
  • Contrast: keep good contrast between background & font colors to make it easier.
  • Cross-Browser: check to see if your site is compatible with all common browsers.
  • Depth: let’s move past drop shadows and add graphic depth.
  • Emphasis/Elevation: 2-second rule (people will bounce fast if they can’t pick out what it’s about.) Sub-headings, bullet points, bold.
  • Fat Footer, Flash Blocker, Fold: Put a background image under any flash so there is something for people to see if their browser blocks flash. Keep important information above the fold but add details in the large footer to help navigate large sites.
  • Graphics: Watch bright colors as they can be tough on the eyes.
  • Headlines: Concise.
  • Internal Linking: Utilize keywords & links to to other pages on your site for SEO & content depth.
  • Just Enough to Lead, not Qualify: Every feature doesn’t need it’s own page & link on the home page. Pare the landing page down to usable info.
  • Keywords: The landing page needs content the search engines can read. (Verify what can be read at SEO Browser.)
  • Landing Page: You need landing pages that convert—have a call to action. When you tell people what to do, they do it. Put a picture of a button on a home page, they click it.
  • Mobile: Websites need to be mobile optimized. Give people what they need to know when they visit your site form a mobile phone. Anchor tag for telephone numbers: <a href=””tel:number”>number</a>
  • Navigation: Keep it simple so users can find what they need.
  • Originality: You can buy stock web designs, but come up with a unique twist.
  • Phone Number: Be sure people have a way to contact you.
  • Questions: Your landing page should answer the questions people are coming to ask.
  • Registration: Provide a registration form so potential customers can contact you. (Sidenote: Adding an email form on Inexpensively at Jim Kukral‘s suggestion earlier this month resulted in a 20% increase in RSS subscribers in just 2 weeks.)
  • Search Engine Optimization: Get off of Blogspot or WordPress.com (P.S. The hubby can totally do that for you!) because all your authority is going to someone else’s site. You want backlinks & Google juice coming to your own domain.
  • Twitter: Display your social integration, but don’t let it distract from your site’s content & purpose.
  • Ugly/Unecessary Pages: Avoid!
  • Video: People click play when they see the arrow. Promotional videos can get people to stick around.
  • White Space: Symmetry & space
  • eXtra Content: Provide something extra—ebooks, demos, etc.
  • You: Get rid of stock photos and use yourself! People want to connect with you.
  • Speaker: Doug Karr, @DouglasKarr

    This is a live blog—an unedited version of my notes. It is not meant as an exact transcript but I try to capture the highlights along the way. I’ll fix spelling errors & grammar later, when I get a chance to go back. Be gentle, until then.

  • BlogIndiana – I’m Speaking!

    I stumbled on BlogIndiana just last year, via Indy’s vast Twitter community. I was invited to speak on 2 panels – and really enjoyed the entire experience. Shawn & Noah put together a great, local program. And, I am honored to be a part of it again this year.

    BlogIndiana will be in downtown Indy on August 20th & 21st. My session is titled The Blog That Press Built. See that list of media appearances on the right sidebar? I’ll be speaking on how to capitalize on press mentions to benefit your blog.

    I am counting down the days to the 2-day event – it’s a great weekend with the Indiana blogging community. I’m looking forward to seeing friends, meeting new ones and learning from some of Indy’s greatest blogging talent.

    Plus, I have a coupon code for you! Earlybird registration ends Friday ($79 per day or $149 for both), and you can save an additional 10% on your ticket when you use coupon code SPEAKTOME10. I hope you’ll join us!