How to Win Buyers and Succeed in Overseas Markets Part III - Features of a Wrongly Designed Website

We all understand value of positive and professional communication in e-commerce. There is no disagreement that communication channels should project a positive and professional image about your company. Your website being a major part of your communication channel, indeed your face to outside world - must project a positive image about your company.

Unfortunately, when it comes to website design many of us forget this simple fact. Instead of being sensitive to customers' concern and need for information, we fall for technology showmanship or other strange considerations. Sad part is - many of us do not even realize how awful or messy our websites actually look !

This week - let us discuss the features of a messy website or 'How to drive away customers and spread negative image about your company'

How to Drive Customers Away

  1. Force every visitor to register before they can enter your site. For a thorough and professional job - make them fill out a lengthy form, giving you a lot of detailed information that you will never use. Make every field compulsory.
  2. Start your home page with a huge graphic, preferably totally meaningless. However, visitors will never get to know until all of 1 Mb is fully downloaded. Never make it interlaced, do not specify HEIGHT and WIDTH tags, and by all means never use ALT tags.
  3. Be really creative on title - make it ambiguous and meaningless like "Home Page," or "Welcome to our Site!!!"
  4. Make the home page really cryptic to baffle any Columbus making it through the registration and lengthy graphic download. Avoid simple labels like "Contact Us," "About Us", "Our Catalog," "Services We Offer," "Frequently Asked Questions" etc. Get really imaginative in naming your sections (e.g. "Take Off !", "Buzz the Bean" etc.) "Cool Stuff" is an old standby that still doesn't work.
  5. Have a "vision", "mission", "goals" and "objectives" statements. Ensure that these statements reveal nothing about the actual services you offer.

How to Project Negative Image

  1. Use lots of continuous text without white spaces around. Sentences should be long and winding. The idea is to make it long and ambiguous to leave every visitor gasping for breath.
  2. Pay special attention at spelling and grammatical mistakes. Nothings spreads negative images as much as miss-spelt words and silly grammatical mistakes.
  3. Always use lots of exclamation points and, be sure to put commas, where they don't belong!!!!!!!!
  4. Page layout is one of the easiest things to do badly on a website. Always use plenty of horizontal rules and bulleted lists. Make columns either narrower than 1" or wider than 4".
  5. Never check your pages on different browsers, because what looks dreadful on Netscape might look unacceptably good on Internet Explorer.
  6. Remember, you have almost unlimited colours and fonts at your disposal. Use as many of them as you can. Let the world know what a creative guy you are.
  7. Always avoid navigational links - let visitors wander around your site aimlessly. Visitors must spend quite some time appreciating your talent before making anything about of the company.
  8. Do not care about broken links - visitors anyway will find what they are looking for.
  9. Never forget to use flowery Javascripts that slows down pages or display strange messages. Damn the content, you must display your programming prowess !
  10. Never use meta tags - search engines may then pick your site leading to more visitors at your site. If you must use meta tags, make sure they are thoroughly confusing and misleading so that search engines either do not touch you or index your site in wrong category.

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Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 3, Issue 26 October 17' 2002

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at )

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