Cooking Up A Website
Here are a few areas that you should test your website's recipe against:
The Internet is a rapidly growing phenomenon — not just in terms of the number of people (and other non-human entities) currently using it, but in the ways in which these users are accessing it. It's no longer just a case of PC vs. Mac, with the odd WebTV thrown in for good measure, but cell phones, PSPs and more. Part of the solution to addressing these opportunities is to build standards-compliant websites. You can see how close you are by using the free validation tools at www.w3.org.
Step back and take an objective look at your website. What is the first impression that it conveys to a visitor? Since you've looked at it countless times before, you won't be able to make an accurate assessment, so try to solicit the opinion of a friend. Think about what "impressions" you would want to receive from a website before you would be inclined to spend money there. Are these the impressions you receive from your own website?
Focus of Message
What is the focus of your website? For example, is it to sell memberships or to send its visitors to your sponsors or to offer some other goods or services? Does this message get across to the visitor? Too many websites make perfect sense to their creator, but not to its visitors. This doesn't mean that the visitors are idiots — but that the webmaster did a poor job of making it understandable. Focus your approach – if you want to sell memberships, then make the "join" page easy to find...
If there's one ingredient that's commonly (and unfortunately) missing from the recipe of many adult websites, it's readable text. This does not mean "graphic images of text" but actual text that people and search engines can read. Clear text can reinforce your message and guide the actions of your site's visitors while increasing the amount of these visitors and the length of time they spend on your website. Remember to check your spelling and grammar, because nothing will hurt your website more than deficiencies in these areas.
Graphics and Design
With adult websites in particular, having an eye-catching and visually appealing design is vitally important. This doesn't mean that a jumbled mass of incongruous imagery is what is needed, however. Images should be used to enhance the message given by your text, not take away from it. Consideration must be given to your webpage's download speed as well as to how it looks in different browsers and on other platforms. Be sure to check it using a dial-up Internet connection. Would you wait that long for someone else's page to load?
Privacy and Beyond
While all of this is basic information, reviewing it has hopefully gotten you to think in greater detail about many of these areas and how they can be fine-tuned to achieve better results from your website. Remember, many recipes begin with flour and water — it's the extras that the individual chef adds that makes the difference — and so likewise with the webmaster and his or her websites... Bon appetite!