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~*~THE NEED FOR SPEED~*~

The number one, all-time biggest mistake that you can make with your web site ...

**Slow Loading Pages**

Graphics: Limit large graphics. Keep the size of all graphics small, and the amount of graphics on each page to a minimum. Decorative art, large photos, many thumbnail photos, counters, buttons, banners and more all contribute to slowing the load time of your pages. Try to stay as close as possible to the "8 second rule" ... If your page doesn't load within approximately 8 seconds - change it.

Personal Photos: Photos of your family, friends, and pets can add a personal touch, but relegate them to an autobiographical page. Visitors to your site may not be interested in photos of family camping trips, beloved family pets, etc.

Descriptions and Links: Many people turn off pop-ups, java and graphics when they are surfing. They want information, and they want it fast. A description (alt tag) along with each photo will alert your customers to what they are missing, a link will lead them where you want them to go.

Digital Photos: Invest in a digital camera, the load time of your photos will speed up significantly. For more information about digital cameras, visit these web sites :

Digital Camera Reviews and News

Digital Camera Resource Page

PC Photo Review

Kodak

Ads and Banners: Ads and banners should be limited on each page. Although the temptation is there to include them due to income potential or ad trades, it will have a negative effect if your customer has to wait a long time while the pages load, and then finds that the reason they waited all that time was for ads.

**Banners, Webrings and Reciprocal Link Trades

These types of promotions take up valuable space on your pages and slow down the action.There are pros and cons to this type of ad trade - Are they worth your investment in space and time ?

1. Con - You will be sending traffic away from your site.

2. Pro - It's free advertising.

3. Con - Your customers may make purchases at the sites you send them to, as opposed to purchasing from your site.

4. Pro- It may get your web site listed higher in the search engines.

5. Con - Banners, webring logos, etc. Slow down page load time.

6. Pro - You can advertise free on many web sites.

7. Con - Your link may not get noticed among hundreds of other links .

8. Pro - It gets the word out about your web site.

9. Con - The trade-off may not be worth it.

10. Pro - Increased visibility may equal increased sales.

**The Kiss Of Death

Slow load times for your web pages mean that your customer is unlikely to hang around long enough to explore your site. The "kiss of death" for a commercial web site is any variation of the following anouncement :

"These pages load slowly, but trust us, it's worth the wait"

Why should the customer trust you and wait ? The Internet experience is all about speed, convenience, and ease of use. We live in the "now generation" - We want it all, and we want it NOW. At the click of a mouse, we can travel across the world, with the speed of an e-mail we can communicate. Just as you have mere seconds to attract your customer's attention to your craft booth, you have seconds to grab their attention at your web site - The "need for speed" is essential to your sales.

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"Carol Gunkel / Professional Crafters.com The Craft Business Information Network all rights reserved.This article may not be reprinted, all or in part, without the author's express permission.

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Handcrafted Graphics

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Comments

I am just beginning to set up my web page and was glad to get this information. Was aware, of course, of the plus side of links and am glad to see the cons listed. Definitely something to think about. - MrsSW

I agree 100%...I can't wait for the day when everyone has a cable modem. - Ally V.

I agree completely... Good article, Carol! - Ann S.