When Bad Websites Happen to Good People When Bad Websites Happen to Good People When Bad Websites Happen to Good People
Tip 1 Tip 2 Tip 3 Tip 4 Tip 5 Tip 6 Tip 7 Tip 8 Tip 9 Tip 10

Tip 1: The Web is NOT Print. It’s a Unique Medium, Use It.

It's the web, baby, not print. Embrace it. Revel in it. Love it.If there is one thing that sends our souls into the depths of despair, it is websites that are designed with a fixed height, forcing us to click "Next page..." over and over. These carpal-tunnel inducing wastes of bandwidth make us weep. Yes, weep. Because the whole point of this big, wonderful medium was missed.

The web is flexible, forgiving, with infinite possibilities.

In short, it is a truly human medium.

Pages can scroll. It's okay... people are web-savvy, they know how to scan down a page, taking in the stuff they want and skipping the bits that don't seem relevant.

From a content writing and design point of view, it doesn't mean that people don't read on the web – because they do – but rather that text must be scannable, with a clear visual hierarchy, so that your site visitors can quickly parse key information.  Blocks of text that might work on a print brochure are not web-friendly.

The way in which we interact on the web is unique.

Hyperlinks become gateways, openings to referential materials, associated reading, and expanded descriptions – an endless series of doorways that scoot viewers to your site, through your site, and away from your site.

We are in a brave new world, where every page is a homepage. External links, including search results, drive more and more people to interior pages. The web has effectively removed the concept of the glossy front cover and sequential reading.

Updates are instantaneous. We can interact by clicking on tabs, pressing "Play" buttons and leaving comments.

It's the web, baby, not print.

Embrace it. Revel in it. Love it.

Creative Commons LicenseYou are free to use this tip's graphic under this Creative Commons license as long as you provide attribution to When Bad Websites Happen to Good People and provide a link back to this site.

12 Responses to “Tip 1: The Web is NOT Print. It’s a Unique Medium, Use It.”

  1. 1

    Some nice points there. I’ll be keeping an eye on you guys….

  2. 2

    Hey guys,

    Congrats on getting this project up. It’s great to see it go live.

    I’m looking forward to reading all your tips and will be sure to pass the word on!

  3. 3

    Great project idea! Ten weeks of valuable information to look forward to. Interesting point showing the elevated significance of interior pages.

  4. 4

    Is that why internet marketers use the looong form sales letter?

  5. 5

    Great look, inspiring metaphors, fabulous modeling all around. Savoring “endless doorways,” “every page is a homepage”–congrats and looking forward to the rest of the series!

  6. 6

    Thanks everyone for your feedback and comments!

    Liam – Wow, you were our very first commenter, mere seconds after launch! Lightning fast!!

    Xurxo – We couldn’t have fine-tuned this project as well without you and Martin. We love Bloom Search Marketing!

    Ilene and Janet – Thank you both for your words of encouragement. Kathryn and I really appreciate it.

    Hayden – Boy, don’t get me started on looooooooong copy sales letters. They’ve really become a parody, with the glaring headlines, garish fonts and numerous PS’es… Glad you stopped by!

  7. 7

    […] marketing cannot be about just pushing out a message. As we mentioned in Tip 1, the Internet is a unique medium. We are not a passive audience. We share stuff with our friends, we […]

  8. 8

    “forcing us to click “Next page…” over and over.”

    so why is it that i have to click next page over and over to see all 10 tips on this website?

  9. 9

    Hi Micah,

    Well, it was either force visitors to click or force them to scroll a long way down all the tips. 😉

    The tips were rolled out weekly, and each one relates to a different idea. We opted for clicking from tip to tip. Sometimes these decisions are a trade-off and unfortunately it’s never possible to make everyone happy.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  10. 10

    I’m with Micah on this. Why would I take web tips from a designer that doesn’t follow their own advice?

    You say:
    “…it was either force visitors to click or force them to scroll a long way down all the tips…”?

    But your own article states:

    “Pages can scroll. It’s okay… people are web-savvy, they know how to scan down a page”

    Seriously? Which one is it? Scroll or click?

    Here’s a piece of advice from your own article:

    “Blocks of text that might work on a print brochure are not web-friendly”

    It’s good advice. It’d just be delivered a little better if it lacked the irony.

  11. 11

    “It’s the web, baby” > I like that. Nice tip, thanks 🙂

  12. 12

    @Jeff I think this article is about other thing xD, there are some websites that forces you to read 2, 3 or more pages for only one article, I think this is what Charlotte means.

    I really hate those websites that makes me read a tutorial with 4 pages, I have to go forward, then backwards and so on and I lost a lot of my time, if the tutorial comes in 1 long page that would be better :).

    Regards,

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