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What Every Team Site Should Avoid

by: Bob Howdeshell
High School Baseball Web

Just some simple tips and tricks that I feel are important for any website, not just a high school team site. Remember .... If you don't "grab" a viewer in the first 10 seconds they may chose to move past your site.

Keep in mind that while isdn, cable and other higher speed connections are becoming more and more common in private homes, there are still a great number of "dial-up" internet users.

  • Loads Quickly - Be sure your main web site page displays fully within 30 seconds over a dial-up line

  • Animated Graphics - A few of these are fine but too many of them make the site appear as if it were designed by Mrs. Adams third grade class

  • Large Photos - Photos that are large in size (bytes) will make a page load very slowly. Many times folks think their computer has "locked up" and will move on

    Use a photo editor program to reduce the size of picture. Microsoft Photo Editor (which is free) will work fine. I would suggest keeping pictures to "400" width at the most, smaller if possible

    If you want a large picture on your site place it first on a page as the small version. Then if a visitor wants to see the larger version provide a link to the full size photo

  • Awards - Winning awards for your website is nice but don't torture your readers by making them wait for the award graphics to load, on your front page. These awards take away from the valuable information on your site, and make resources hard to recognize.

    If you want to display awards won by your site place them on a separate page that is entered through a link on the navigation bar. Give your readers a choice.

  • Taunts or Slurs - Believe it or not I have seen team websites that offered up negative comments about other schools and their players on the site.

    Guess who really looked bad in this instance?

  • Nicknames - These may be well intended and even acceptable to the player but it is never a good idea to list a player on the roster with his nickname included. Rosters with nicknames for every player can look goofy and immature

    Example: Thomas "Big Bird" Smith

  • Backgrounds - Busy, bright or cluttered backgrounds can take away from the appeal that your site may have. Allow your information to speak for itself. Try to have your page backgrounds passive and just as the word says ... in the background

  • Page Consistency - Make each page appear the same as all the others. By this I mean the same navigation bars, backgrounds, borders, etc. Place the link back to the home page in the same place on every page.

    Make it easy on your visitors to navigate your site

  • Address & Phone Number - I know that it seems like I am "harping" on this issue but it really is one of the most valuable resources that you can offer your site visitors.

    Place the full name of the school, the address and the contact telephone number on the first page of your site.

  • Game Schedule - I know of some very nice high school team websites that are loaded with information about the team, the coaching staff, the school, tons of pictures ---- And guess what is missing? THE TEAM SCHEDULE! Many college coaches and professional scouts have told me how much they appreciate a high school website that has a "printer friendly" schedule and an easy to find address and phone number (for the school or the coaches office)

  • Directions or a Map - Don't forget to add directions to your school. This is very easily done. Go to your favorite internet map program (Yahoo, MapQuest or my favorite Rand McNally) Go to the "get map" selection, enter in the school address. When the map fully loads copy the internet address (url) from your browser window. All you need to do next is create it as a link (pasting the copied url) called "Map to ABC High School" on your site. Of course written directions to the school are always appreciated by visiting fans and maybe the occasional scout.

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