Myth #1: Field of Dreams - "If you build it, they will come"

If you've seen the Kevin Costner film then you remember how he hears this phrase whispered several times. He then builds a baseball field in a middle of a farm and voilà, famous baseball players show up.

A lot people carry this misconception to having a website, blog, or online store. If it is online (built) then web traffic will just happen and my website will be on the first page of search engine listings. This, unfortunately, is not the case. Simply put, you must promote your site if you hope to have people view it.

While there are several solutions to increasing traffic and visibility, here are a few quick tips:

  • Clean Code (Search Engine Optimization) - make sure your website has the correct meta tags and design your HTML tags in an orderly fashion so that search engines index your valuable content correctly.
  • Advertise – Every business card, email, letterhead and piece of advertisement, whether paper or electronic, should have your web address on it.
  • Search Engine Submission – Make sure that your site is submitted to search engines.
  • Social media – Take advantage of social media like twitter, facebook, linkedin, digg, etc. to network and promote your website in a peer based environment.
  • Blogging – Consider adding a blog or latest news item to keep new and fresh content on your website.

Myth #2: More is better

The idea here is that the more "stuff" I have on my page (flashing graphics, advertisement banners, blinking text, pictures, etc.), the more people will pay attention to my page. The truth is that most pages like this are just simply confusing, poorly designed and annoying. Keep it simple and fresh. Either educate yourself on how to design pages or find a professional web design company to do it for you. Either way, it is possible to have a site that is both professional and simple.

Myth #3: Website will look same in all browsers

Many web owners love to believe that their website will look same everywhere as it appears in their preferred browser. Whereas in reality their website is interpreted differently by each browser and type of device that views it. Whether you break it down by browser, version of that browser, or type of device, there are thousands of different engines available to your web visitors and with it thousands of different ways your site can be interpreted.

The best way to combat this daunting task of standardization is to phase your development and limit your targeted browsers to the most recent versions and the most popular platforms. For older versions and non targeted browsers you should make sure your content is still available even though all your features may not be and that your site degrades gracefully with regards to unsupported features.

Myth #4: All important web content should be above the fold

This myth dates back to older print days when it referred to the fold of a newspaper. Since you were trying to sell a paper from behind glass it was the only available space to sell that paper. Websites on the other hand scroll and allow for users to quickly gather more information at no cost to them.

While I do agree some important information should be above the fold, it should not be at the expense of the usability of the site. Many a time have I seen a designer cram everything they can into the top until it's a cluttered mess that is hard to discern where to go or what to do. If your site is clean, helpful, and user friendly they will be more willing to scroll further and maybe, just maybe, click to go to another page.