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« How To Remember and Use Your Ideas | Main | How to Quickly Orient Users »

Don’t Pollute Your Web Site

Advertising is an important aspect for most web sites.  If a web site has decent traffic it can drive additional revenue from advertising.  Some web sites base a significant part of their online business model around online advertising.  If there wasn’t online advertising revenue some web sites wouldn’t exist.  The challenge becomes delivering advertising without interfering with content delivery. Remember that the primary reason users are coming to your web site is for content.  Users are not visiting your web site for advertising.  Are you polluting your web site with excessive advertising?

Sticking it to Ads
There was an article published years ago citing user reactions to excessive advertising.  Some users became so annoyed with advertising that they put stick it notes on their monitor to cover up annoying ads.  An important advertising fundamental from a usability stand point is balancing content and advertising.  Make sure that online advertising doesn’t diminish the content you're trying to present.  It is less of a matter of "how much is too much?" versus "Is the advertising getting in the way of delivering quality content?"

High Quality Content

Cnn_ad_cap Focus on keeping the dominate page element the content.  Advertising shouldn’t get in the user’s way when it comes to getting through web site. Web sites that keep the advertising layout consistent site wide are good examples to follow.  Many of the larger new organizations follow this model. There are predefined areas that are reserved as advertising space. Many of the larger portals have gone so far as to label the areas as advertising.

Matching Ads with Site Content
Be vigilant about the advertising you have on your web site.   Does the advertising match the context and theme of a site web?  Users are less apt to get annoyed with advertising if it’s at least related to the subject matter found on a web site or article.  Also be careful to ensure that site content isn't confused with advertising.  Users have modified their surfing habits to ignore anything that looks like advertising. Is there something on your web site that a user might confuse with advertising?

When it comes to advertising and usability, make sure the advertising isn't clouding the message.  Keep the focus on content.

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