Website Survival Guide

In the big, wide online world there are millions of websites and billions of webpages. In the increasing sprawl of this virtual jungle there must be an evolution. Some of these webpages must grow stronger and thrive whilst others will weaken and die.
There are 3 types of websites in this jungle. It’s important that you ask yourself which category your website fits into. Your website survival may count on it.
The Poster Site
A stunning work of art with intricate graphics that both amaze and dazzle the visitor. Poster sites are created by graphic designers for large companies or for use by the graphic design firms themselves. They’re built to look good. Usability is not normally a factor nor are good search engine rankings. Looking good takes second place to being useful.
The poster site has its place in the virtual jungle for those companies who need to put a pretty “shop front” on the Internet e.g. grapic designers. Unfortunately many companies who hire someone to design their website normally winds up with a graphic artist who recently learned how to use Dreamweaver and is now a “website consultant”. The end result is a stunning piece of artwork that is of little or no use to the visitors or potential customers.
Poster sites are the supermodels of the online world – they look great but aren’t useful for anything other than looking great.
Pros

Looks great
A definite WOW factor for visitors

Cons

Normally difficult to navigate
Lousy rankings in search engines

The Content Site
A site littered with valuable, useful information that visitors and search engines love. Content sites are normally run by hobbyists who have an all-consuming passion for a specific topic or subject. They write, collect and publish online massive amounts of information on one specific topic.
Content sites are also used by intelligent online marketers who have realized the true value of providing useful content to visitors. This has lead to not all content sites being created equal with some lazy online marketers using spammy tools to create “dud” content.
Content sites tend to be quite plain looking on the outside but are stuffed full of useful information on the inside. Web surfers love content sites. Why? Because they find exactly what they’re looking for or a link to it. The whole idea of the Internet in the first place was to fulfill this need for useful information.
Pros

Valuable information for visitors
Visitors likely to return again
Search engines love them

Cons

Normally not as “pretty” as poster sites
Spammy techniques being used to create “dud” content

Don’t Have A Clue Site
These are interesting. A DHAC site is an anomaly. They’re designed by people who decide they want a website but have no clue how to go about it. They contact their ISP for information on how to do this. 45 minutes later their first creation is online.
The DHAC site has the following features:

Graphics that take 10 minutes to load
50% of the graphics don’t load at all
Flashing banner
Animated graphical menu
Flashing body text
75% of the links don’t work
Graphics randomly scattered about the page
Blue text on green background
Use frames and nested frames extensively
Incomplete HTML tags spread around the site
H1 tags used for all the body text i.e. huge text

It’s not fair to generalize like this I know but we’ve all seen these sites. They’re there and they give us a direct path that we should not follow.
Pros

Good to poke fun at
Great examples of how not to design a website

Cons

They’re awful

Some websites will thrive and survive in 2004 and beyond.
Other websites will weaken and die.
Which category does your website fall under?

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