Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Website Attraction: Love Or Bust At First Sight

Honestly, I have not been able to pinpoint why I am attracted to certain websites and not others. I get recommendations to try different websites, especially those within my fields of interest – writing, science fiction, triple…eh, I mean mature entertainment.

I don’t go with most of them because they fail to catch my interest. Sorry, but at my age (43), MILFs has an entirely different meaning (and, no, I’m not going to show it -- a year ago, I might have, but I think I've finally given in to the invisible daggers coming from C.J., Ana and J.D.).

At the same time, intros to websites by well-meaning writers from New Jersey often get the precursory look (just to be civil) and then, bam, I block the site. Psst: Don’t tell the New Jerseyite I said that.

If I had to sit down and figure out some do’s and don’ts for website attraction, I’d sit down and figure them out. Well, actually, I am sitting down and figuring. Go figure.

Life does imitate art.

Anyway, a fellow Wicked Writer mentioned that she does not like to hear music on a website, such as the personal profile pages of MySpace. I agree with her, although I do have music on my page. The music reflects my tastes, but often leaves bad taste in the mouths of others. I guess a profile list of ICP, Annie Lennox, Norah Jones, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughn, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Jaheim, Poor Righteous Teachers, John Carpenter, Doris Day, Jane Monheit, Sade and Jana Mashonee can be confusing for anyone trying to figure out my mental state.

Personally, I think you should either pick some neutral songs that will appeal to a wide audience or stick with one genre. That way your visitors won’t be jarred senseless when Into the West is suddenly followed by Hokus Pokus and then by Kristy McNichol.

Hint: I like my music the way I like my women – ................................hmm, don’t know where I’m going with this.

Where was I?

Secondly, the site has got to catch my interest almost instantly. Perhaps this reflects my journalism background where a story has to grab readers’ attention spans within the first two or three paragraphs. This is why many of my posts begin with some form of humor – not particularly funny, but light-hearted.

Third, the site has got to not overwhelm me. You know what I’m talking about. Those FB and MySpace profiles filled with so much art and background that you can’t see the words. Apparently, there are pros out there who will jazz up your web pages to catch attention. I would not go for it because they seem to throw everything in there. Even KISS would say it’s too much.

Trying to imagine what the page looked like before it got all tricked up is like comparing Lady GaGa with Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. 

Finally, the website must be finished. I know this from experience as I tried to set up my own author page and even put the address on business cards. I no longer hand out those cards (fortunately, it was because the card company misspelled “Smith”).

But, how many times have you been directed to a website that said “Under Construction – Be Back Real Soon”?

Reminds me of the Luby’s Cafeteria just off Northeast Loop 820 and Beach Street in Fort Worth. There was a sign in a vacant lot that said “ Luby’s Coming Soon.” The sign was there for four years before any construction began and another year during construction. The IHOP on the other side of the freeway did gangbuster business with people frustrated by the delay.
To make a long story short (too late), in order to get my interest at a website:
1)      Either kill the music or go with something akin to Muzak

2)     Get my attention quick. Use humor, interesting pictures (like a guy being beaten to death with his own arms), etc.

3)     Don’t overwhelm me with useless crap, and

4)     Make sure the site is finished before advertising it

Oh, I forgot one thing:

Please, oh please, stop putting your kids on your website. They may be the cutest kids in the world, but, although I have no interest in them, there are those online who do. I keep dreading that “ripped from the headlines” storyline appearing on Law & Order: SVU.

Now on to reconstructing my author page so I can make up new business cards.


  1. This was great!! And I really read the whole thing!

  2. Oh, wow. Thank you. Most people have usually gotten nauseous well before the end.

    Glad to have you aboard. Please keep up with us as we having far more interesting bloggers like James Garcia Jr., J.D. Brown et al.

  3. Hmmm? It would seem that no one likes the tunes. I must admit that I am one of those who has music playing on their blog. I try and aim for a wide variety. I'm a music guy, what can I say? I did follow a dear friend of mine's advice and lift the player to the top of the page, so that the music could be paused, turned off, or the song could be skipped. Hopefully, that appeases the masses...
    I am thankful for the posts this week. It is good to get feedback on what people do and do not like.
    Greg, as fate would have it, I recently bought a bunch of Sade's songs off of her newest release from iTunes. I like what she's doing now. Good stuff. I, of course, recalled her start in the business, so I thought I would give her a chance. Glad I did.
    Have a great week, my friend.

  4. Thank you. Now if the weather will just cooperate and the ice and snow melt.

  5. Gregory,
    Now everyone is going to think I'm the nice one. No one is ever afraid of getting in trouble with me. Should have asked my kids.

    Well I have to agree about the music being distracting, but I do like some tricky things on sites. I want to remember it. Even bad movies I remember. There are a few classics we looked at in October, too. I guess if you're a writer, I don't see the point to it. Now, a musician, well, that would make sense, right?

    I'm going to eventually make a reading of one of my chapters. And I loved the book trailer someone made using their kids dinosaurs and Barbies.

    But unlike some of these above-mentioned things, a site, more than anything else, should mean something, and show something about the skill of the writer. It most definitely isn't a plaything. Not that we don't have playthings on it. More on that tomorrow. Mine isn't perfect, but my heart goes pitty-pat every time I see it.

  6. No danger of that, Sharon. We all know C.J. is the nice one.

  7. Cracking post, Greg, as usual

    Four great points! My pet hate is #4, the unfini...


  8. I'm so happy you enjoy my music Gregory!

  9. This was really funny - I too, have problems with music and a bunch of 'flash' strobie stuff. If I hear music or see something that's too busy, I am sooooo out of that site!