6 ways to ensure your visitors never, ever come back

As one of the web designers here at MyMark, I spend quite a bit of time with my head in code. In fact,  “System.out.print()” makes a lot more sense to me than “Quoth the Raven.”  However, in my travels around the web, I have noticed many things that you can do to drive away pesky visitors.  Six of the most popular are:

6. If a feature exists, use it.

As a web designer, I remember a time when people just weren’t afraid to use every tool for every job.  There seems to have fallen a shroud of arrogance where we are too good for all the features the web makes available to us.

This individual has put together a really nice example of what a website should look like:


When this website opens, our senses are immediately greeted, not only with three separate background colors, but a page title that scrolls back and forth. We then are amused by an animated background that looks like little bubbles on the page.  These are only to be topped, however, by a wonderful blast from the speakers of the William Tell Overture — played in full MIDI glory.

There are so many options the web has given to us over the last 15 years:

  • Blinking text
  • Scrolling headlines
  • Auto-Playing Sound and Video
  • Pop-up advertising

Why not use them all?

5. Spelling and Grammars takes too much time.

We won’t spent much time with this because it’s relatively simple:

Churning out content takes a lot of time, and any time we can cut from the process is well worth the cost.  After all, our goal isn;t to make it perfectly readable, just readable enough to get them to click on the ads.

4. More color equals better.

Time and history have consistently proven that more color equals better.

See? Better.

Like most aspects of our physical world, this principal translates quite well into the online world. When designing your site always try to include as much color as possible. These colors may be complimentary, tertiary, binary, obfuscatory, etc. The important thing to keep in mind is just to get as much color in there as possible.

One website the makes excellent use of this principle is


Colorful Christian Website

This website really goes above and beyond! Not only do they manage to get ALL the colors in on one page, they somehow manage to scroll them across the screen at a high rate of speed — which ties into the next tip:

3. Rely on flash, images, and animation.

When that writers block hits — and it eventually will — nothing can mask it better that using  more graphics to spice up your content. These will distract your readers from the lack of meaningful content, and distract them until their eyes skim to the next part of the page.  The thoughts sound a bit like this: “Nice banner, hmm… menu. Oh, nice picture! words, words, words, and here’s the link I was looking for.”

Keep in mind that these images don’t necessarily need to be related to your post, just mildly interesting. For example:

  • A young child blowing on a dandelion
  • An attractive business woman
  • A portrait of a smiling family with the sun behind them.
  • An older dog, usually in sepia tone

This technique also works well for non-static imagery, like a GIF animation, or small flash object.

Let’s do a case study:

Company XZY knows they need a website — in fact they have been hearing about them for years.  After getting together the momentum and resources, they purchase a domain name and hosting space with a pre-installed web template. After typing in thier mission statement, “XYZ’s Mission is to scout profitable growth opportunities in relationships, both internally and externally, in emerging, mission inclusive markets, and explore new paradigms and then filter and communicate and evangelize the findings,” XYZ company realized their site needed a little more “POP” to it.

How could we help XZY company?  Instead of plain text “XZY Co.” and their logo, this could fly-in from the left of the page, and screech to a halt just before the right margin.  To spruce up their mission statement, we could insert a photo of a multi-ethnic business team standing in a large glass rotunda. We could also have chosen a rotating globe with their employees silhouettes in the foreground.

If these techniques do not immediately work, there’s always the “funny-picture-of-a-cat-with-a-badly-misspelled-caption” trick. This is nearly guaranteed to work.

2. Buzzwords are the key to good content.

It is generally well known that the purpose of text on a website is to provide search engines something to find you by.  Therefore, thorough and repetitive placement of industry relevant buzzwords greatly enhances the SEO (search engine optimization) of your particular web page, and will launch tagging you into the blogosphere of our post Web 2.0 world.  Note, however that these keywords do RSS not  have to be particularly relevant to your industry — any hip industry will do.

Any finally, the best way to ensure your visitors never come back:

1. Meet your needs, not theirs.

Its is Your website after all! When writing your content, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How will this make me look?
  2. What can this post do for me?
  3. What would be the popular thing to write?

Be very careful not to consider these questions:

  1. What is relevant to my readers?
  2. Can I solve a readers problem?
  3. Is there a pressing issue or concern I can help with?

These later questions can steer you away from your true goal: to meet your own needs.