This post was inspired to day by my journeys into a website and the tweet that followed. I was visiting a link a friend sent about a place he was published on a photographers site. Being the good friend I went by to try and leave a comment of encouragement for the new blogger and for my friend. I was greeted by some obnoxiously loud music that almost made my eardrums bleed. I then tweeted: “I’ll say it once again, please disable auto play songs & videos on your site!”
I am sure you remember back in the day when Conan O’Brien had his infamous standing skit “In the Year 2000.” We would sit and laugh at that show as it poked fun at the future and things we would expect when it got here. Wondering would the internet survive the Y2K bug. Then the year 2000 came and left us quickly without much fanfare. We move forward and in 2003 came along a site called MySpace. We all rushed and created our account & started gathering friends as fast as we could.
We visited a friends site & grew an instant case of envy as we saw how much cooler their MySpace page was than ours. We began searching for free Myspace themes to “Pimp my Profile.” After giving the page a new look, we had to have our favorite song rocking out on home page in order to have a certain level of coolness.
Fast Forward to Today
Unfortunately some got stuck in the mid 2000’s where it was not only acceptable, but was the “in thing” to have music and video players automatically start playing when a page loads. This style of doing online business is becoming more & more an bad practice. Before I continue, please don’t feel bad if you have an auto player running on your site. I am not talking to just you. I’ve seen major businesses like MLB.com use this tactic and it just drives me nuts. Whenever I am in the initial consultation for building a new Custom WordPress Site for a client, I explain the negative effects music and videos that start playing automatically can be. Most never realize it until I mention something. Remember, you only have one chance to wow me, so make it the best! If I get blasted by audio off the bat, I am gone for good.
The reason it bothers me is because I work from home most of the time. So I normally have iTunes jamming you. And all of a sudden in comes this blaring commercial when I just wanted to check on a score of the game. My good friend Ken Cook had a rather embarrassing story the other week that he shared on our weekly social media radio show.
Ken was in his office one day and wanted to check on something so he visited a website. Now unlike me that has the luxury of working from home, Ken is in an office that is filled with other people and is normally on the quiet side. The minute the page loaded it started playing a video commercial. All of his co-workers were instantly greeted by a woman loudly proclaiming: “I sometimes have really bad diarrhea!” His co-workers who were engrossed in their computers and handling loan files stopped and all glared in his direction. How embarrassing.
I shared all this to get to my point behind this blog post:
We are no longer in 2005. Online practices that were acceptable then are not as well accepted now. While you found it a good idea to have auto playing video & songs on your site, the general public has voiced their opinions and begged for you stop. As an owner of a website, you are going to have constant changes needing to take place.
Right now we are in what is called web 2.0. The season of social media is upon us. Learn the correct practices for this season and implement them into your business today to have a successful online presence. Also, learn what things are no longer effective and discontinue them immediately. For some of you, this might mean an complete overhaul of how you have been doing things. This could even mean building a new website to accomodate the trends of today.
Whatever you do, please do us all a favor and disable the auto play for songs & videos!