I’ve been working for a little over a month now. My job consists mainly of researching relevant websites for a links or resource page and then asking the appropriate party if they would please include a link to the Edge Foundation on their website. It’s called link building. I couldn’t even begin to guess how many websites I’ve visited in my quest. The first couple of weeks I visited personal blogs and professional websites and organizations that had resources for ADHD. When I exhausted a preset list I was given, I moved on to .edu websites. I can tell you that I have clicked on 164 different .edu web links. In all that web surfing, I have learned a few things. First of all, I’ve learned TONS about ADHD. TONS. There is so much information out there that it’s unbelievable. I ran across a rather scary website that I thought discussed the pros and cons and gave information about ADHD medications. Turns out that it was a website for anorexics that discussed which medications were the best for losing weight. I was disturbed.
Next I came to discover what should and should not be included on websites, especially professional websites. Granted, this is just my personal opinion, but as someone who is visiting websites for the express purpose of evaluating them and then deeming them worthy of including our link, I’ve become a discerning browser. I’ve compiled a list. These mostly apply to universities and colleges or professional websites but some would apply to personal blogs and such:
- Include the name of your website and/or the institution you are from on EVERY page. I can’t count the number of times a link has taken me to a PDF or Word document and said link didn’t include the name of the college or university from which is was written. Wouldn’t you want people to know what, exactly, they are reading?
- Put a “contact me” or “contact us” link on your website and make it an e-mail address.
- Make sure your contact e-mail address is valid and has a large storage capacity if you don’t check it on a regular basis. I’ve had a few e-mails bounce back because mailboxes were full. It’s a missed opportunity for us both and a waste of my time.
- Use spell check. I was at a certain website that was authored by a Ph.D. that had spelling and grammar mistakes on it. It makes a person wonder where they got their degree.
- If you are a professional website and have a “contact me” link, leave your first and last name so that the person writing knows how to address their e-mail. “Dear Ms. So and So” sounds much better than “Dear Webmaster”.
- Another e-mail issue: Use an auto response if you are going to be out of your office. It’s a nice courtesy.
- Pop ups are an absolute NO NO!! Pop ups, even if they’re relevant and valid, remind people of spam and viruses and they’re inconvenient. I was browsing blogs tonight and someone had a pop up that locked up my browser and forced me to restart my computer. It could have been malicious or it could have just been incompatible with my browser. I don’t know but I’ll never go back to find out.
- Have a search field on your website or a site map or both.
- Don’t be online in any capacity at all if you can’t figure out how e-mail works. That may sound a bit harsh, but man! If you don’t know how to read, compose, and send e-mail but you have a website that includes a “contact me” e-mail link it makes you look incredibly dumb.
I think that’s about it. Basically, if you have a website or blog that you use to provide specific information to people, you should be as professional about it as you can. Don’t call your website, “Information About ADHD” and then have entries that talk about porn. Not kidding. Wow!