Bells and Whistles on your websiteWith technology constantly advancing and new, bigger, and better techniques constantly being marketed to you, it might seem tempting to overhaul your website to “keep up with the times”. But do you really need to have the latest and greatest technology on your site? More importantly, are these “bells and whistles” actually “search engine friendly” or serving a real purpose? Here are a few things to consider before upgrading your webpage with some of the latest technology features.

How many of these new features do you have on a page? Even print design guidelines advise that you should not have more that one major special effects element on a page. This rule also applies to the web since you don’t want to risk annoying or distracting visitors. Between the music, flash, java applets, or streaming video, special features are an exciting and cool part of new technology, but they are just as likely to cause older systems to crash due to lack of compatibility with most of the Internet population and some may not even be easily crawled by the search engines. Having your site easily crawled by the search engines is extremely important for SEO.

Does the effect you have currently serve a purpose? Perhaps it calls attention to an overlooked area of your page, or proves a point you are trying to make. “Fancy effects that have a purpose will enhance your Web page rather than detract from them.” The fact is, using an older program that is supported by more browsers will allow more people to see your animation or graphic than a brand new program that many people haven’t heard of or downloaded yet.

Although most people use Internet Explorer, you should not neglect other users using browsers such as Firefox and Safari. Therefore, make sure your web developers are testing your site across all platforms to avoid showing broken versions of your web pages. When deciding what to put on your page, remember to keep it simple and make sure the feature serves a real purpose to what you want to accomplish with your website.