vietipodremix from BoingBoing.netOne of the big reasons we have web sites and blogs is to generate traffic. I mean why put up a site unless want people to see it, right?

Yet some people insist on adding this traffic repellent to their sites and then wonder why they never see more than a handful of visitors.

Smelling Fishy

When folks do this to their blogs or web sites it’s like the owner of a high end clothing store who chooses to intentionally have an overpowering smell in their store that’s just a little offish.

Perhaps that store has a nautical theme to its branding. Maybe the owner is even an avid boater. Perhaps he loves the smell of the sea. So he has figured out a way to bring that smell into his store. The idea is that he’ll boost sales because people will feel like they are shopping by the ocean.

Sure a small percentage of folks will like it. But the trouble is, to a whole lot of people the ocean just plain smells fishy. And those people almost never come back to the store.

Sound like a silly example? Well some people do exactly the same thing with their blogs and web sites.

Assaulting Your Visitors

If you want to maximize traffic to your blog, or your web site, then please, please, refrain from automatically assaulting your visitors with your favorite music the moment they click over to your site.

Now I like music as much as the next guy. More probably. I keep my iTunes running in the background pretty much all day long. If you care you can usually see what I’m listening to in real time on my Last.FM profile. If I’m in my office, chances are good there is tuneage playing.

And I cruse the web a lot, especially looking at new blogs. It’s part of my job.

There is very little that is more annoying than clicking on a site and suddenly hearing some song or other random sound blaring from my speakers. Even though you like music & I happen to like music there is a strong probability that we don’t like the same music.

Not only that but you have no control over the volume your site visitors have their speaker set at. In my case, with iTunes playing in the background, I have my speakers set fairly loud so that I can hear any important system sounds over the music. That means your music pours into my office pretty stinking LOUD!

It’s no different than that image at the top of the post. You are forcing me to listen to your music whether I like it or not.

Potential Visitor Responses

When that blaring noise assaults your visitors they will probably react in one of three ways.

  1. Immediately click away, probably via the back button on their browser. This is what I do most often. And rest assured that I am very unlikely to ever return to your site once I do.
  2. Frantically search the page for the offending player so I can hit the stop button. I’ll only do this if, because of my work, I have to stay on the page for more than a few seconds (and can’t immediately choose option 1).
  3. Reach for the volume button on my speakers to turn them down. I resort to this third option if I have to navigate around the site a little because most of these players reload, and therefore restart in all their loudness every time a new page is loaded.

These are not visitor attraction reactions because regardless of which option I choose I’m annoyed and far less likely to return than I would be otherwise.

Bad For Business

It’s one thing for bloggers to assault their readers this way. There are many reasons for blogging other than attracting visitors. But what still amazes me is how many business web sites are actively repelling visitors and traffic by making this same mistake.

Just because you can add sound to your web site doesn’t mean you should add it, especially if you want people to actually read your content, learn more about your business, and ultimately spend money with your company.

It’s one thing to offer the option to have sound for a “more complete” user experience. But you should seriously consider setting the sound default to off.

Otherwise you’ve basically decided to market your business with that “fresh ocean smell” that many of your potential clients think smells a little fishy.

Image Credit: BoingBoing


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