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Site Unseen?

If your Web site gets more misses than hits, the hang-up may be your home page.

This story appears in the January 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

There's a warning on kids' video games that reads: "While watching certain images, you may experience dizziness, motion sickness or nausea." The grown-ups' version of digital fun, the World Wide Web, should also come with a warning: "While waiting for images to load, some viewers may experience impatience, frustration or distress." And flashing on every home page should be the caution: "The links on this page may cause some viewers to suffer from indecision, uncertainty or vacillation."

Because your home page is your e-commerce storefront, it has to be welcoming and inviting. That means fast load times and easy site navigation. But how many times have you reorganized your pencil tray, gone to the fridge or taken a bathroom break while waiting for all those images to squeeze through the phone cord and onto your screen? Despite the supposed "Star Trek" speed of today's modems, graphic links and other images still take their sweet time popping up. Take a good look at your Web site's first impression, and be sure it's not such a laggard that it's turning people off.

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