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Thread: Finish your site before you promote it

  1. #1
    Senior Member mossoi's Avatar
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    I've been flicking through the "Site Of The Month" forum and one thing stands out, too many sites are not complete and some don't have any content at all.

    I'm going to try to explain why it's important to finish all aspects of a site, or at least complete most of it, before you start promoting.

    One of the challenges with web design is that there are millions of web pages out there and getting people to stop at your site is arguably a lot harder than actually building the site.

    Visitors are inundated with sites for even the most esoteric search on a search engine and the majority use certain tactics for dealing with such an overload of information.

    The first thing most people do is to mentally filter out any search results that don't return a description of a site or looks like it might be padding it's meta tags - which site are you more likely to visit?

    Online Cat Dental Clinic
    Help and advice on how to care for your cat's teeth and gums
    Or:
    Online Cat Dental Clinic
    Cats, cats, kittens, dogs, otters, teeth, dentist, dental, dentistry
    I hope you agree that the first site is a lot more appealing to the average visitor. The owner of the second site might think they are being smart by getting a higher search engine rank but the traffic they do get will not be relevant and can be construed as a waste of bandwidth.

    So the first rule, get your meta tags sorted. It may not be as crucial to SE ranking as it used to be but it's a pretty easy job and there is no excuse for not doing it.

    Ok, so the potential visitor likes your description in Google and clicks to see what you've got to offer.

    This is the most critical time for your site; this is a new visitor who has just searched for something. This means that they probably need a resource for whatever it is they are searching for and could quite possible keep returning to find subsequent information.

    You need to give the visitor enough information in the first few seconds of their visit to allow them to decide whether your site is worth reading or bookmarking for future visits.

    So for this reason out should go intro pages, beautiful splash pages and other things that stand between a new visitor and the reason they have visited. There is a place for eye candy but it should be used to enhance your content rather than inhibit it. "This site is under construction" and "Lorum ipsum dolor..." are fatal. Why will I bother to come back to a page on the chance that it will be finished anytime soon when there are a hundred other sites all baying for my time? If your site doesn't offer any content the first time somebody visits then it's likely to be overlooked even when it does have content. Visitors will take one look at your logo or banner and remember that there was nothing of interest on their last visit.

    Keep your information relevant, fortunately sites that start "Welcome to..." are dying out, the Internet is a fast paced medium and people don't want to read long introductions (something of which one of my sites is guilty), as the Brits might say "let the dog see the rabbit", i.e. "get out of the way and let me see what I came for".

    Get your spelling and grammar right and don't use "netspeak" abbreviations. It's amazingly disturbing to read a site written in pigeon English (or a bastardization of any other language) and gives a lazy or unprofessional image to what you are saying.

    You've finally got your lovely design ready and it's time to start putting content into it. You get the homepage done and put a bit of information in the about page (well it's easy isn't it?) so you upload and decide to fill the rest in later. Does that sound familiar?

    We've all done it and it's not very good for the visitor. None of the links work and the whole site seems to be very one dimensional. Dont rush to upload your site, get your content and various pages sorted out, and make sure that your links work and your visitorís first impression will be that much higher when you do go live. Always bear in mind that there is another site offering something very similar only a click away.

    To summarise the main point:

    1. Content is as, if not more, important than the design.
    2. Get your meta tags right then people are more likely to visit.
    3. You must have the vast majority of your site content in place before you 'go live'.
    4. Get your spelling and grammar right. Run all your content through a spell checker or get somebody to proof read it.
    5. Make sure all your links work and that all the pages you have are complete.
    6. Once a visitor has a bad experience with a site they are much less likely to return.

    This is more of a lecture than a tutorial but the attitude that design is everything and content follows seems to be getting more popular and is a dangerous misconception.
    Pink Spider likes this.

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  3. #2
    Junior Member bhewitt's Avatar
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    I agree with the heart of your argument, though great content in a bland, unnavigable design is just as doomed. Design plays more and more a part in determining the the worthiness of a site: interaction, for instance, is more a design characteristic of a site than content, and it can help to maintain visitors, generate bookmarks, etc (think flash games for kids on an educational site).

    Design also determines if a user can bear to read the content on your site to begin with. Design aspects such as text size, background/foreground color, animations, and contrast can make the experience interesting and vibrant, or obnoxious and regrettable. I feel like your quote ("design is everything and content follows") is true in this respect.

    Design and content go hand-in-hand; one is not necessarily more important than the other. At the same time that I won't visit a site again because of a lack of significant content, I won't visit a site again due to serious design flaws. Content is certainly key in a web site, I would not argue against that, but design is the environment that the content lives in. Whether that environment is hospitable or not is indisputably important as well.

  4. #3
    Eve
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossoi
    To summarise the main point:

    1. Content is as, if not more, important than the design.
    2. Get your meta tags right then people are more likely to visit.
    3. You must have the vast majority of your site content in place before you 'go live'.
    4. Get your spelling and grammar right. Run all your content through a spell checker or get somebody to proof read it.
    5. Make sure all your links work and that all the pages you have are complete.
    6. Once a visitor has a bad experience with a site they are much less likely to return.

    This is more of a lecture than a tutorial but the attitude that design is everything and content follows seems to be getting more popular and is a dangerous misconception.
    Great post deserving of more attention. I particularly agree with getting the grammar right. Too often spelling is corrected but grammar remains awkward, and there is nothing like an observant reader who can help with editing content. Design attracts but content retains.
    saifulislam likes this.

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    That is why I always say that on-page SEO is so much more important than off-page one. What is the reason to promote website if it is not done yet? If you have nth to show and to offer your visitors?? Common, people!!!!

    Thank you for sharing a great thoughts!

    Cheers!

  6. #5
    Junior Member designminds's Avatar
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    I agree with finishing a site before promoting it in most cases. There are some cases where you can still create an interactive temporary landing page such as I am currently doing while rebuilding my companies site. I don't want to be accused of spamming so check out my profile for my site link and you can see what I mean.

    I simply put up the company logo in the header, added basic contact info and added social networking tools such as Google +1, Tweet button, Like button, a Bookmark Us button, Facebook comments, Facebook activity feed for my Facebook page.

    I feel with this, the public can still be able to contact us, share our page and promote it. The search engines are still able to index this page as well as other sites like Automatic Backlinks and AdBrite.

    I also promote the hell out of the new site on a daily basis through offline marketing and online marketing. I have only had this new landing page up for 48 hours along with our new Facebook page and the "likes" are adding up slowly but surely.

    If you're not going to take the time to make an interactive landing page then DO NOT promote the site. But if you do, then market the hell out of it. Its still bringing exposure to your company, brand, etc...

  7. #6
    Junior Member gatawa's Avatar
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    Hi there.i have a question concerning "5. Make sure all your links work and that all the pages you have are complete."
    I recently addded my website's sitemap to google.A few days later i looked at the progress and found out that most of the links dont work.But the thing is when i go through the site,all my links are ok.
    What could be the problem?
    Please help

  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gatawa, post: 215201
    Hi there.i have a question concerning "5. Make sure all your links work and that all the pages you have are complete."
    I recently addded my website's sitemap to google.A few days later i looked at the progress and found out that most of the links dont work.But the thing is when i go through the site,all my links are ok.
    What could be the problem?
    Please help
    Anything could be.

    Post a link to your site and the sitemap in a new thread so that people can see it and figure it out.
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  9. #8
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    Also sometimes an unfinished site might as well confused google for that matter if your site is already online but unfinished.
    Your cool Web Design and Web Development resources

  10. #9
    Senior Member Andrew Yurlov's Avatar
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    In my defense, I need the site to be uploaded in order for it to even work. If I don't do this it will just display a bunch of errors. Like a lot of people I use php includes to put the site together. I don't want to waste my type by properly linking them on my desktop when I can just upload and start tinkering.
    Artificial intelligence is nothing compared to natural stupidity -Someone

    Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks.
    But of course, if you dig deeper, itís really how it works.
    -Steve Jobs



  11. #10
    Senior Member Ronald Roe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenEmerald View Post
    Thank you, great post!
    Quote Originally Posted by arianna143 View Post
    Ya I understand. Before to promoting the website it should be perfectly designed and developed. There should be not a single CSS, W3C validations errors. Heading tags should be good, no broken links, website content etc are some major parts that should be perfectly.
    Thanks to share the wonderful share with us.
    Can we ban these 2 yet?
    Vapr_Arts likes this.
    Ron Roe
    Web Developer
    "If every app were designed using the same design template, oh wait...Bootstrap."


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