Did you know many people have decided what they think of a web page before it’s even finished loading? I’m convinced that when people review their own website they aren’t very good at it for two reasons:
1, They’re emotionally involved. It’s their baby and no one wants to think they have an ugly baby. Even more so when they paid a lot of money for it.
2. They have no idea what web surfers want. Even worse, they don’t really know much about their own web browsing behavior. That’s because, like everyone else, we mainly tend to surf on auto-pilot.
If this could be you, here’s my challenge. (If you don’t think you have a problem, go challenge a friend.)
To get an idea of what a good website is, and to see how you “behave” as a web surfer I suggest you join Stumbleupon.
You’ll get a tool bar to install in your web browser which has a “stumble” button. When you click this button you will be sent to a random website. If you like it, give it a thumbs up, or a thumbs down if you don’t. You can refine your stumbles to things you’re interested in.
The amazing thing is web surfers give a website about 20 secs before they make that decision. Often they’ve left before the page has finished loading.
I think you’ll find that good image content and design will be a familiar theme in the sites you like. A side benefit is that Stumbleupon brings fun back to web surfing and can be highly addictive :-)
NOW for the hard part of the challenge … Apply what you learned about your own behavior, including your likes and dislikes, to a review of your own site. Be critical, be honest, and try to define what you want your site to be in the future.
Finally I don’t say any of this to manipulate Stumbleupon, but good design that interests a Stumbleupon visitor will appeal to all visitors, have a look at this post by Patick at piggybankpie.com and this post from socialmediatraders.com. There are some great ideas here for starters.