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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blog Project: 30 Traffic Generation Tips




First of all a big “thank you” for every one who participated. As I said before the number of entries surprised me (and the quality as well, I will definitely apply some of those tips myself).
Now, without further delay, the 30 Traffic Generation Tips:



1. Sridhar Katakam
Keep track of blogs and leave comments on them. A good way to keep the conversation going is to install a MyBlogLog widget and visit the blog of people visiting your site.

2. Ian Delaney
Nothing creates long-term traffic more than value. Consider writing posts with resources or explaining how things work. Useful things get linked to and they get onto del.icio.us, which is far better long-term than a digg front page.

3. Scott Townsend
Inform search engines and aggregators like Technorati (using the ping functionality) when your blog is updated, this should ensure maximum traffic coming from those sources. (check the List of Ping Services)

4. Kyle
Simplify. Pay attention to complex issues in your field of work. It may be a big long publication that is hard to wade through or a concept that is hard to grasp. Reference it and make a shorter “for dummies” version with your own lessons learned and relevant tips. When doing this, I have been surprised to find that the simplified post will appear before the more complex version in search results. Perhaps this is why it results in increased traffic; people looking for more help or clarification on the subject will land on your blog.

5. Grant Gerver
Try to be polemic. I write obsessively about all-things political from the left-wing perspective in the form of humorous, sarcastic one-liners.

6. Daniel
A simple tip that will probably boost your page views: install a translator plugin. I decided to use a paid plugin for this, but if I am not wrong there are some free ones as well. The translation is not very good, as you can imagine, but it helps to attract readers that are not fluent in English.

7. Rory
Submit articles to blog carnivals (http://blogcarnival.com) that are related to your niche. Your article almost always gets posted, and it must generate a handful of visitors, at least.

8. Ramen Junkie
Newsgroups. I always see a spike when I post a review to a newsgroup.

9. Eric Atkins
Create a new design for your website. Not only will it be more attractive to your regular readers, but you can submit it to some CSS gallery showcase sites that feature great designs. This will give you exposure on those sites while generating a lot of traffic and backlinks from those types of sites.

10. Megan Taylor
Participate in conversations on related blogs. Start conversations on your own blog. Don’t just post about a story and leave it at that, engage your audience, ask questions and call to action.

11. Guido
Comment on blogs, write useful content and make good friends on forums.

12. Brian Auer
You must be active to generate traffic. I post comments on other blogs that are related to mine, and I post my site link in my signature at the forums. Spread the word about your blog and it will certainly attract readers.

13. Shankar Ganesh
Just browse around MyBlogLog.com and you will surely get visitors to your blog. Also try to join as many communities as possible that are related to your topic.

14. Andrew Timberlake
A great tip for generating traffic is off-line by including your url in all your off-line liturature from business cards, letterheads, pamphlets, adverts through in-store signage if applicable. I even have our website on my vehicle.

15. Cory OBrien
Read lots of other blogs. Leave trackbacks. Make sure your blog is optimized for search engines. Leverage social bookmarking sites like digg (both for new ideas and for traffic).

16. Jester
Leave comments on other blogs. If you’re already reading them, it takes
just a couple of seconds to leave a message agreeing or disagreeing
with the author, you get to leave a link to your site, and you will almost
ALWAYS get traffic from your comments.

17. Goerge Manty
Post 3-5 times a day. Use ping services like pingomatic or set up wordpress to ping some of the ping services. Engage your readers. Put up polls, ask them questions, give them quizes, free tools, etc. Make them want to come back and tell their friends about you.

18. Engtech
Community. It’s one word but it is the most important one when it comes to blogging. The only “blog metric” that makes sense is the vibrant community of readers it has. Building a community around your blog will bring you increased traffic, but how do you start? The boilerplate response to building traffic is always “SEO, social networking sites, and commenting on blogs” but it can be simplified to “be part of a community”. The easiest way to seed your blog is with an already existing community. But the only way to do that is to be part of the community yourself.

19. Chris
Squidoo Lenses are a good way to generate traffic. By using a lense,
you can generate your own custom “community” of webpages, including some
of the more popular pages in your “neighborhood.” Including your own
webpage in such a list is a good way of generating traffic.

20. Splork
I’ve had good success writing articles and submitting them to EzineArticles. Articles that have been written from well-researched keyword phrases and accepted by EzineArticles tend to rank very high in Google for that search term. Placing anchor text in the footer of those articles so the reader can visit my relevant website has always increased my site traffic.
21. Jen Gordon
I came upon some unexpected traffic when my blog popped up on some css design portals like www.cssmania.com and www.webcreme.com. If you can put some time into the concept behind and design for your blog, I’d recommend submitting your site to a design portal not only for
additional traffic but to build an additional community around your site.

22. Kat
I’ve recently gotten involved with several “MySpace-like” community sites that focus on my target audience. I share my thoughts in their forums, post intros to my real blog on their system blog and I’ve even created a group for my specific niche. It’s been very, very successful for me.

23. Inspirationbit
Well, obviously everyone knows that social bookmarking sites like Digg, del.icio.us, etc. bring lots of traffic. But I’m now submitting some of my articles to blogg-buzz.com (a digg like site for bloggers), and I always get not a bad traffic from there.

24. Mark Alves
Participate in Yahoo Answers and LinkedIn Answers where you can demonstrate your expertise, get associated with relevant keywords and put your URL out there.

25. Tillerman
Be the first to write a post about the ‘Top Ten Blogs’ in your niche. The post will rank highly in any general search for blogs in your niche and other bloggers in your niche write about the post and link to it.

26. Nick
Participating in forums is a great way to get loyal readers. Either link baiting people in your signature or posting great advice and tips will give you high quality traffic, which will result in return visitors.

27. Brandon Wood
A simple trick I’ve used to increase traffic to my blog is participate in group writing projects. In fact, that’s what I’m doing right now.

28. Alan Thomas
Don’t forget your archives. I just posted a roundup of all interviews I did over the past seven months. One of them generated a new link and a big traffic spike from a group of users that look like they will be loyal readers now.

29. KWiz
Write something controversial. I don’t think it’s good to write something controversial just for the purpose of getting traffic necessarily (especially if it’s only for that purpose and you’re being disingenuous), but it works.

30. Dennis Coughlin
Find the best blogs on your niche and contact the authors. Introduce yourself and send a link of your blog. This might help them to discover your blog, read it and possibly link to it.

101 Blog Tips I learned in 2006 From Start



Now you have a blog, but are you doing the right things to get it noticed? Some of these tips are for search engine optimization and some just make your blog more interesting to keep your readers coming back.







  1. if you are not, start blogging today
  2. write about something that you love
  3. if you are serious about blogging buy your own domain
  4. make sure your domain name is equal to your blog name
  5. use a short and easy to remember name
  6. use WordPress
  7. use WordPress plugins
  8. blog with consistency
  9. write at least 5 posts a week
  10. proofread
  11. proofread one more time
  12. interact with other bloggers
  13. leave meaningful comments
  14. leave funny comments
  15. leave the first comment
  16. backup your blog
  17. get rid of the sidebar calendar
  18. choose your niche wisely, not too big and not too small
  19. participate in online forums
  20. put a link on your signature
  21. use blog carnivals
  22. content is king
  23. customize your blog template
  24. use trackbacks
  25. simplicity is the way to go
  26. leverage social bookmarks
  27. consider joining a blog network
  28. write “Top 10″ lists
  29. use tags
  30. use pings
  31. write “How to” articles
  32. make your posts scannable
  33. list your blog on directories
  34. ask questions to your readers
  35. use Feedburner
  36. use sense of humor
  37. be generous
  38. encourage readers to subscribe
  39. have some spare posts for emergencies
  40. encourage readers to digg your posts
  41. put an RSS subscription icon on every single page
  42. use “series” of posts
  43. return comments
  44. return links
  45. use readable fonts
  46. gather .edu and .gov backlinks
  47. break long posts in more parts
  48. experiment with different revenue sources
  49. write “pillar articles“
  50. use Google Analytics
  51. study those numbers
  52. use email interviews
  53. be yourself
  54. avoid duplicate content
  55. use an RSS reader
  56. read as many blogs as possible
  57. focus on timeless content
  58. have an “About” page
  59. have a picture of yourself on the “About” page
  60. crate your own “Advertise Here” page
  61. use meta tags wisely
  62. learn the basics of SEO
  63. use pictures whenever possible
  64. create value for your readers
  65. place ads wisely
  66. be patient
  67. consider getting a co-blogger
  68. submit your articles to directories
  69. share what has worked for you
  70. share what has not worked for you
  71. read Problogger.net
  72. do not clutter your sidebar with icons
  73. get rid of looooong blogrolls
  74. experiment with Google Adsense
  75. experiment with Text-Link-Ads
  76. link to other blogs as often as possible
  77. make it easy for visitors to contact you
  78. use titles effectively
  79. offer email subscriptions
  80. always answer to questions
  81. always answer to comments
  82. use Technorati
  83. enable subscription to comments
  84. offer useful tools or resources
  85. write with a personal touch
  86. become an expert in your niche
  87. do not rely on “linking posts”
  88. always give your opinion
  89. use simple colors
  90. participate in blogging projects
  91. get to know other bloggers personally
  92. list your best articles
  93. have a voice
  94. organize your categories
  95. talk directly to your readers
  96. make your URL structure efficient
  97. put functional links on your footer
  98. mention your sources or references
  99. do monthly roundups
  100. consider adding podcasts
  101. create a “101 list”

How to Find Advertisers for Your Website: The Ultimate Guide


Direct advertising sales is arguably the best method to monetize a website. Finding advertisers for your site and actually closing the deals, however, is not as straight forward. Over the past 6 months I had more than 10 high profile companies sponsoring Daily Blog Tips, and through out this article I will share what I have learned along the way.







The Pros

  • More money: The first advantage of selling your own ads is the fact that you will cut the middlemen out, increasing your revenue potential. Suppose you sell text link ads on your sidebar through a certain company, and the text links sell for $50 monthly. Since you are using the company network to sell the ads, they will eat 50% of the price, and you will end up earning only $25 monthly for each text link. If someone is willing to pay $50 for a text link on your site, though, it means that they are getting $50 of value out of it. Why, then, should you share that with someone else?
  • Independence: Sure, large advertising networks have access to a wider pool of advertisers, and they have more credibility to close the deals. But if you have all the requirements in place (see the section below) and spend some time looking at the right places, I am sure that you will be able to sell your own ads just as efficiently as the larger networks.
  • Flexibility: The third advantage of selling direct advertising is that you will have much more control over where and how the ads will be displayed (i.e., you can avoid intrusive advertising). Google Adsense is nice, but unless you blend it with the content – annoying some of the readers – you will get terribly low click-through rates.
  • Credibility: Finally, having sponsors and direct advertisers on your blog might help your credibility. Even small and poorly crafted blogs can stick some Adsense units here and there. Having established companies that are willing to partnership with your site, on other hand, can signal that your content has quality and that the site is somewhat professional.

The Cons

  • Time consuming: While selling your own ads has many advantages, it is no panacea. The first drawback of this monetization option is the time that it will consume. This time will be spent optimizing your website for the ads, finding potential advertisers, negotiating with them, and handling the administrative matters (e.g., making payments, tracking statistics, delivering reports and so on).
  • Many requirements: Selling direct adverting is not as easy as making money from Google Adsense. As you can see from the section below, you will need to have a popular blog, a professional looking design, special software and the like.
  • Unstable: Unless you close deals for very long periods, which is unlikely, you will find your self looking for new advertisers or optimizing your website to attract new ones every other month. The opposite is true for most advertising networks, where you just need to plug some code and they will do the rest of the work. (If your site or blog is just a hobby, therefore, direct advertising might not be the best option)

What You Need to Have in Place

  • A popular website: Before landing direct advertising deals you will need to have a good amount of traffic on your site. There is no “magical” number here, but a good rule of thumb would be 1000 daily unique visitors. If you are below that mark you should focus on building traffic instead of looking for advertisers. Other factors like Google Pagerank, RSS subscribers and Alexa rank might also help. (Notice that small websites might also be able to sell direct advertising, but usually the time spent on that will not justify the results)
  • A clear focus: You might have the most popular site on the Internet (well, not as extreme as that, but you get the point), but unless your site also has a very clear niche and a defined audience, advertisers will not find it very attractive. This means that you should avoid rambling about 100 different topics on the website. Advertisers want to deliver a message to specific people, and the more specific the better.
  • A professional looking design: If you are planning to monetize your website through sponsors, you probably should invest some money into a professional looking design. Advertisers will be associating their product or service with your website, and not too many of them would be willing to get mixed with an ugly, MySpace looking site.
  • Give visibility to the sponsors: This point is connected to the previous one. Not all templates and themes will be suitable for selling direct advertising. Preferably you want to have an idea of what kind of advertising you will sell (e.g., 468×60 banners, 125×125 banners, text links) and design your website according to those objectives. Advertisers want visibility, so reserve a good spot for them.
  • Adserver software: In order to serve your ads, rotate banners and track statistics you will need to install an Adserver. If you are looking for a simple solution you should try WP-Ads. This WordPress plugin will serve ads for specific ad zones that you create. The only drawback is that it does not count clicks (only impressions). If you need a more sophisticated solution check OpenAds. You will need to spend some time learning how to use it, but it offers virtually all the features you will ever need.
  • “Advertise Here” page: It is very important to have an “Advertise Here” page. On this page you want to give some details about the website, like audience, traffic and any other factor that might be of the interest of potential advertisers. Secondly, make sure that you have some link to that page on the navigation bar and if possible close to the zone where the ads will be displayed. You can see a perfect example of such layout on Copyblogger.com.
  • Standard letter to approach advertisers: While some advertisers will contact you after reading your “Advertise Here” page, the rest of them will need to be directly approached by you. In that case, it is a good idea to create a standard letter to contact the advertisers. There is no “one size fits all” solution here, but you can follow some general guidelines: 1. Introduce yourself and quickly explain what the email is about
    2. Explain why you decided to contact them and what they have to gain
    3. Give details about your site (traffic, subscribers, topic, audience)
    4. Give details about the advertising options (location on the site, max number of advertisers, monthly price)
    That is it, after that information the advertisers should be able to decide if they are interested or not. If they reply, then you will fix the details. Bear in mind that all the info I mentioned should be contained in 2 or 3 paragraphs. If you send an essay to potential advertisers they will just skip it altogether.
  • Accepting payments: You might have everything in place, but if you are not able to cash payments – or more importantly, if advertisers are not able to pay easily – you will end up losing deals. PayPal is the best option here. Notice, however, that a personal account will not suffice. You will need at least a premier account to be able to accept credit cards.

Where to Find the Advertisers

Once you have your direct advertising program established, you will start to receive inquiries from people. On the beginning, however, you will need to hunt advertisers down. Do not get discouraged if get turned down initially, provided you have all the aforementioned requirements, sooner or later you will find someone willing to take a shot on your site.
  • People linking to your site or articles: If a company is willing to link to your articles or to add your website under its “Links” or “Resources” section, it is also probably willing to discuss about advertising on your site. Keep track of those incoming links.
  • People leaving comments/e-mails: The same principle applies to people leaving comments on your blog or sending you e-mails. If among them you see an employee or the owner of a company that could be interested on your website, bingo! Contact him or her and get the conversation going.
  • AdWords advertisers: Through out your search for advertisers you will notice that most of the established companies are not aware of the benefits of online advertising. If a certain company is already spending money on Google AdWords, however, it is very likely that it would also be open to other forms of online advertising. Think about some keywords that are related to your topic and Google them. Check the sponsored links that will appear and contact them. (You can also check the advertisers that appear on the Adsense units of related websites)
  • Other advertising networks: While Google AdWords is by far the largest advertising network on the Internet, there are many others that could be useful. Check the companies that are spending money on AdBrite, Text-Link-Ads, BlogAds, SponsoredReviews and so on.
  • Banner advertisers on similar sites: Check out popular websites on your niche and see what companies are advertising there. Provided you offer them an interesting deal (i.e., a reasonable price for your size), I am pretty sure they will be interested.
  • Create a “Potential Sponsors” bookmark folder: This technique produced outstanding results for me. I have a bookmark folder on my browser called “Potential Sponsors.” Every time I come across a company or website that could be interested in sponsoring my website, I bookmark it. Currently I have over 100 bookmarked sites on that folder, and I have not approached half of them yet.

How Much to Charge

  • You need to provide value: It is all about value. A potential sponsor or advertiser will want to see some returns for the money he will be spending on your site, and this can be seen as visibility (impressions) and leads (clicks and possible sales). Make sure, therefore, that your advertising deals will deliver.
  • The numbers: Remember that there are some pretty cheap advertising options out there (e.g., Google AdWords), and you will need to be competitive. Provided you reserved a good spot for the sponsors (sidebar or header, preferably) you could start charging a $0,5 CPM (cost per 1000 impressions). If your blog is generating 100,000 monthly page views, therefore, a banner spot on your sidebar should cost around $50. Start low and build your way upwards. Popular blogs (e.g., TechCrunch) have a higher CPM, sometimes as high as $10, but you will need a huge credibility to arrive there.
  • Cross-check: You can easily check if you are charging a suitable rate by using Adsense units on the places where you will sell direct advertising. Analyze how much you would gain with Adsense, and adjust your rates accordingly. Secondly, you can also check similar sites that are already selling direct ads.
  • Be flexible regarding the terms: Flexibility is key. First of all make advertising agreements on a month-to-month basis. People don’t like to commit to something they are not completely sure about. If someone proposes you a longer deal, offer a discount in exchange.
  • Offer test periods: Unless you have a very popular website, you will find potential advertisers reluctant to spend real money. If you are confident that the deal will create value for both parties, however, you can use that on your favor. Offer a free test period whenever needed. Some of the times the advertiser will turn you down after it, but other times they will confirm the deal. Either way you have nothing to lose.

4 Steps to Increase Your Blog Traffic Like A Champ




One of the most common complaints that I hear from bloggers is the fact that no matter how hard they try, they can’t grow their blogs past 100 or so daily page vies. Those early days are indeed the hardest, because you need to put hard work in without the certainty of achieving results.




If you are in that same situation, here is a simple strategy that will certainly increase your blog traffic and make you break the 1,000 daily page views mark. In fact, the strategy could be used even if your are already over that number but have reached a traffic plateau lately.

Just make sure to execute the 4 steps as planned and to spend the two hours and a half every day (obviously if you have more time available you can expand the time spent on each of the four steps proportionally).


First Step: Killer Articles (1 hour per day)

Spend one hour brainstorming, researching and writing killer articles (also called linkbaits, pillar articles and so on).

Notice that your goal is to release one killer article every week. If that is not possible aim for one every 15 days. So the one hour that you will spend every day will be dedicated to the same piece. In other words, expect killers articles to take from 5 up to 10 hours of work.

If you are not familiar with the term, a killer article is nothing more than a long and structured article that has the goal of delivering a huge amount of value to potential visitors. If you have a web design blog, for example, you could write an article with “100 Free Resources for Designers”. Here are some ideas for killer articles:
  • create a giant list of resources,
  • write a detailed tutorial teaching people how to do something,
  • find a solution for a common problem in your niche and write about it, or
  • write a deep analysis on a topic where people have only talked superficially
When visitors come across your killer article, you want them to have the following reaction: “Holy crap! This is awesome. I better bookmark it. Heck, I better even mention this on my site and on my Twitter account, to let my readers and friends know about it.”






Second Step: Networking (30 minutes per day)

Networking is essential, especially when you are just getting started. The 30 minutes that you will dedicate to it every day could be split among:
  • commenting on other blogs in your niche,
  • linking to the posts of bloggers in your niche, and
  • interacting with the bloggers in your niche via email, IM or Twitter.
Remember that your goal is to build genuine relationships, so don’t approach people just because you think they can help to promote your blog. Approach them because you respect their work and because you think the two of you could grow together.


Third Step: Promotion (30 minutes per day)

The first activity here is the promotion of your killer articles. Whenever you publish one of them, you should push it in any way you can. Examples include:
  • letting the people in your network know about it (don’t beg for a link though),
  • letting bloggers and webmasters in relevant niches know about it,
  • getting some friends to submit the article to social bookmarking sites,
  • getting some friends to Twitter the article, and
  • posting about the article in online forums and/or newsgroups.
If there is time left, spend it with search engine optimization, social media marketing and activities to promote your blog as whole. Those can range from keyword research to promoting your blog on Facebook and guest blogging.


Fourth Step: Normal Posts (30 minutes per day)

Just like a man does not live by bread alone, a blog does not live by killer articles alone. Normal posts are the ones that you will publish routinely in your blog, between the killer articles. For example, you could publish a killer article every Monday and normal posts from Tuesday through Friday. Here are some ideas for normal posts:
  • a post linking to an article on another blog and containing your opinion about it
  • a post informing your readers about a news in your niche
  • a post asking a question to your readers and aiming to initiate a discussion
  • a post highlighting a new resource or trick that you discovered and that would be useful to your readers
While killers articles are essential to promote your blog and bring new readers aboard, normal posts are the ones that will create diversity in your content and keep your readers engaged.

43 Web Design Sins You Should Avoid




There are several lists of web design sins around the Internet. Most of them, however, are the “Most common” or “Top 10” sins. Every time I crossed one of those lists I would think to myself: “Come on, there must be more than 10 sins…”. Then I decided to list down all the web design sins that would come into my mind; within half an hour I had over thirty of them listed.

Afterwards I did some research around the web and the list grew to 43 points.

The next step was to write a short description for each one, and the result is the collection of sins that you will find below. Some of the points are common sense, others are quite polemic. Most of them apply to any website though, whether we talk about a business entity or a blog. Cheers!





1. The user must know what the site is about in seconds: attention is one the most valuable currencies on the Internet. If a visitor can not figure what your site is about in a couple of seconds, he will probably just go somewhere else. Your site must communicate why I should spend my time there, and FAST!



2. Make the content scannable: this is the Internet, not a book, so forget large blocks of text. Probably I will be visiting your site while I work on other stuff so make sure that I can scan through the entire content. Bullet points, headers, subheaders, lists. Anything that will help the reader filter what he is looking for.



3. Do not use fancy fonts that are unreadable: sure there are some fonts that will give a sophisticated look to your website. But are they readable? If your main objective is to deliver a message and get the visitors reading your stuff, then you should make the process comfortable for them.



4. Do not use tiny fonts: the previous point applies here, you want to make sure that readers are comfortable reading your content. My Firefox does have a zooming feature, but if I need to use on your website it will probably be the last time I visit it.



5. Do not open new browser windows: I used to do that on my first websites. The logic was simple, if I open new browser windows for external links the user will never leave my site. WRONG! Let the user control where he wants the links to open. There is a reason why browsers have a huge “Back” button. Do not worry about sending the visitor to another website, he will get back if he wants to (even porn sites are starting to get conscious regarding this point lately…).



6. Do not resize the user’s browser windows: the user should be in control of his browser. If you resize it you will risk to mess things up on his side, and what is worse you might lose your credibility in front of him.



7. Do not require a registration unless it is necessary: lets put this straight, when I browse around the Internet I want to get information, not the other way around. Do not force me to register up and leave my email address and other details unless it is absolutely necessary (i.e. unless what you offer is so good that I will bear with the registration).



8. Never subscribe the visitor for something without his consent: do not automatically subscribe a visitor to newsletters when he registers up on your site. Sending unsolicited emails around is not the best way to make friends.



9. Do not overuse Flash: apart from increasing the load time of your website, excessive usage of Flash might also annoy the visitors. Use it only if you must offer features that are not supported by static pages.



10. Do not autoplay music: on the early years of the Internet web developers always tried to successfully integrate music into websites. Guess what, they failed miserably. Do not use music, period.



11. If you MUST play an audio file let the user start it: some situations might require an audio file. You might need to deliver a speech to the user or your guided tour might have an audio component. That is fine. Just make sure that the user is in control, let him push the “Play” button as opposed to jamming the music on his face right after he enters the website.



12. Do not clutter your website with badges: first of all, badges of networks and communities make a site look very unprofessional. Even if we are talking about awards and recognition badges you should place them on the “About Us” page.



13. Do not use a homepage that just launches the “real” website: the smaller the number of steps required for the user to access your content, the better.



14. Make sure to include contact details: there is nothing worse than a website that has no contact details. This is not bad only for the visitors, but also for yourself. You might lose important feedback along the way.



15. Do not break the “Back” button: this is a very basic principle of usability. Do not break the “Back” button under any circumstance. Opening new browser windows will break it, for instance, and some Javascript links might also break them.



16. Do not use blinking text: unless your visitors are coming straight from 1996, that is.



17. Avoid complex URL structures: a simple, keyword-based URL structure will not only improve your search engine rankings, but it will also make it easier for the reader to identify the content of your pages before visiting them.



18. Use CSS over HTML tables: HTML tables were used to create page layouts. With the advent of CSS, however, there is no reason to stick to them. CSS is faster, more reliable and it offers many more features.



19. Make sure users can search the whole website: there is a reason why search engines revolutionized the Internet. You probably guessed it, because they make it very easy to find the information we are looking for. Do not neglect this on your site.



20. Avoid “drop down” menus: the user should be able to see all the navigation options straight way. Using “drop down” menus might confuse things and hide the information the reader was actually looking for.



21. Use text navigation: text navigation is not only faster but it is also more reliable. Some users, for instance, browse the Internet with images turned off.



22. If you are linking to PDF files disclose it: ever clicked on a link only to see your browser freezing while Acrobat Reader launches to open that (unrequested) PDF file? That is pretty annoying so make sure to explicit links pointing to PDF files so that users can handle them properly.



23. Do not confuse the visitor with many versions: avoid confusing the visitor with too many versions of your website. What bandwidth do I prefer? 56Kbps? 128Kbps? Flash or HTML? Man, just give me the content!



24. Do not blend advertising inside the content: blending advertising like Adsense units inside your content might increase your click-through rate on the short term. Over the long run, however, this will reduce your readership base. An annoyed visitor is a lost visitor.



25. Use a simple navigation structure: sometimes less is more. This rule usually applies to people and choices. Make sure that your website has a single, clear navigation structure. The last thing you want is to confuse the reader regarding where he should go to find the information he is looking for.



26. Avoid “intros”: do not force the user to watch or read something before he can access to the real content. This is plain annoying, and he will stay only if what you have to offer is really unique.



27. Do not use FrontPage: this point extends to other cheap HTML editors. While they appear to make web design easier, the output will be a poorly crafted code, incompatible with different browsers and with several bugs.



28. Make sure your website is cross-browser compatible: not all browsers are created equal, and not all of them interpret CSS and other languages on the same way. Like it or not, you will need to make your website compatible with the most used browsers on the market, else you will lose readers over the long term.



29. Make sure to include anchor text on links: I confess I used to do that mistake until some time ago. It is easier to tell people to “click here”. But this is not efficient. Make sure to include a relevant anchor text on your links. It will ensure that the reader knows where he is going to if he clicks the link, and it will also create SEO benefits for the external site where the link is pointing.



30. Do not cloak links: apart from having a clear anchor text, the user must also be able to see where the link is pointing on the status bar of his browser. If you cloak your links (either because they are affiliate ones or due to other reasons) your site will lose credibility.



31. Make links visible: the visitor should be able to recognize what is clickable and what is not, easily. Make sure that your links have a contrasting color (the standard blue color is the optimal most of the times). Possibly also make them underlined.



32. Do not underline or color normal text: do not underline normal text unless absolutely necessary. Just as users need to recognize links easily, they should not get the idea that something is clickable when in reality it is not.



33. Make clicked links change color: this point is very important for the usability of your website. Clicked links that change color help the user to locate himself more easily around your site, making sure that he will not end up visiting the same pages unintentionally.



34. Do not use animated GIFs: unless you have advertising banners that require animation, avoid animated GIFs. They make a site look unprofessional and detract the attention from the content.



35. Make sure to use the ALT and TITLE attributes for images: apart from having SEO benefits the ALT and TITLE attributes for images will play an important role for blind users.



36. Do not use harsh colors: if the user is getting a headache after visiting your site for 10 consecutive minutes, you probably should pick a better color scheme. Design the color palette around your objectives (i.e. deliver a mood, let the user focus on the content, etc.).



37. Do not use pop ups: this point refers to pop ups of any kind. Even user requested pop ups are a bad idea given the increasing amount of pop blockers out there.



38. Avoid Javascript links: those links execute a small Javascript when the user clicks on them. Stay away from them since they often create problems for the user.



39. Include functional links on your footer: people are used to scrolling down to the footer of a website if they are not finding a specific information. At the very least you want to include a link to the Homepage and possibly a link to the “Contact Us” page.



40. Avoid long pages: guess what, if the user needs to scroll down forever in order to read your content he will probably just skip it altogether. If that is the case with your website make it shorter and improve the navigation structure.



41. No horizontal scrolling: while some vertical scrolling is tolerable, the same can not be said about horizontal scrolling. The most used screen resolution nowadays is 1024 x 768 pixels, so make sure that your website fits inside it.



42. No spelling or grammatical mistakes: this is not a web design mistake, but it is one of the most important factors affecting the overall quality of a website. Make sure that your links and texts do not contain spelling or grammatical mistakes.



43. If you use CAPTCHA make sure the letters are readable: several sites use CAPTCHA filters as a method of reducing spam on comments or on registration forms. There is just one problem with it, most of the times the user needs to call his whole family to decipher the letters.
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