3 Tips To Make Your Website Not Suck

As it is a requirement for all Apple developers to have a website and many of us also have our own studio sites, blogs, etc. I thought this post might come in handy for some of you.

The title is intended to be amusing only – I’m sure your website doesn’t suck ;)

Tip 1 – Every word counts.

Have you ever seen an “article” in which words are randomly capitalized? If not, I envy you but if so, you already know what I’m talking about.

Some people have this idea that if a word isn’t capitalized, it must not count. (At least that’s the best reason I can come up with for this strange behavior.)

For example, if I were someone who had this tendency, I might write a sentence like this;

I am a Much Better writer than you because I Like to capitalize things Creatively.

No one would actually write such a line, but I hope that illustrates the kind of thing I am referring to here.

You don’t have to capitalize a word for it to “count”. (Although in titles this rule obviously goes out the window a bit.)

It’s much nicer to read articles when they’re well written and not littered with mistakes like this, so if you’re someone who feels the need to capitalize random words this is certainly worth working on.

Tip 2 – Don’t be that guy (or girl).

You know that guy who knows everything about everything? Me either. However we’ve all met people who believe this to be the case.

When you have a website that contains a lot of written content it is normal to write about what you know, however if you find yourself behaving as though you are omnipotent it is time to take a step back and reflect.

As much as you may know about any given subject there is never a good reason to believe you know it all.

A good example of this is me and Techority – I wrote a simple rating function that worked wonderfully. Someone came along and posted a comment describing an even simpler rating function that worked just as well – had I been unable to listen to them due to my own pigheadedness I would have missed out on learning something new.

So, be the guy (or girl) who listens and who is open to new ideas and friendly discussion and debate; it will help people who visit your website interact with you in a much more positive way.
Tip 3 – Be direct, not rude.

There is a fine line between being direct and being rude. A good example is my recent post (over at Techority) regarding the awesome month that Corona has had.

Some people took it as rude because I said that Corona had come SO much further than other third party SDKs in this time. This was not rude. It was direct, uncoated and true.

Had I instead said; “Everyone other third party SDK is shit and anyone who uses any of them is an idiot!”, that would have been rude. (It also would have been incredibly unfair and greatly untrue. My belief that Corona is the best does not equate to me thinking that nothing else can be good, or even great, as well.)

It’s OK to be negative if you have something to be negative about and most rational people know when they’re being horrible – but it’s that fine line that you have to watch for. When you’re close to it it can be hard to make sure you fall on the right side.

If you can be direct (state the facts) without being rude (stating the facts then acting like a drama queen about said facts) then you’ll find even if you disagree with those who read your website content that you can still have a civilized discussion or agree to disagree.

It also means you’re unlikely to get comments you feel the need to censor – because those who comment will only be disagreeing with you, (something you can handle if you follow tip 2,) rather than disagreeing with you and calling you out on your attitude.

In closing;

It’s your website and what you do with it is entirely up to you. These tips are simply observations of common pitfalls and things I’ve sometimes dealt with in my own life. (Some of you may recall I was, long ago,  a writer by trade. During this period I wrote for some big news sites, which meant dealing with all three tips every day.)

I suppose I’m a bit of an idealist thinking we might all write with proper punctuation, be open minded and polite and all get along even when we disagree – but this is my website and this is what I felt like writing about today ;)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Peach Pellen :)

7 Responses to 3 Tips To Make Your Website Not Suck
  1. Matt P. Reply

    Good article, Peach. From the title I thought I was going to read about tips concerning web design strategy (such as when to use animated gifs, javascript popups, and/or embedded MIDI files) but the advice I found instead transcends fashion/ is universal… if you have a good attitude people will like your website.

    I was not aware Apple developers were *required* to have a website. What kinds of minimum content are they looking for? Any reason not to give them good ol’ about:blank? :-p

  2. Peach Pellen Reply

    Hey Matt,

    Thank you – you will notice my wonderful site (with it’s great background;)) is not designed to be an assault on the senses.

    As to Apple Developers needing a website, it’s a bit looser than that really. You need to put in an URL when you put an app on the store. Your personal site would be fine, I don’t believe they even look. (I think they’d accept the launchpad page on Corona about your app, even.)

    Still, not about:blank :P You want a page people can look at and contact you if need be after buying your app.

  3. Dane Schad Reply

    Great post, Peach. (To everyone else: I just switched to Corona from another SDK and it is amazing! Plus Peach is great!)

    The thing I would add about writing is the phrase that has stuck with me from my old boss: “It’s all about credibility.”

    I had a strong writing education, both in technical writing for engineering, and then lawschool. In the latter, I wrote patent applications which requires very specific wording and syntax. If you forget a comma, your client could lose millions of dollars (can you think of another field where missing a comma can be devastating?).

    Good grammar serves another purpose; it makes you credible. Unfortunately, no matter how much work you put into your article, app, or project, if you can’t spell, people disregard you. A more positive spin is that simply using good grammar (and manners) does wonders to your credibility!

    This concept goes further than writing. For example, any time I think about taking a shortcut when making an image for my app, I think to myself “no, people will notice that; do it right” and I am always happier with the end result.

  4. Peach Pellen Reply

    Hi Dane,

    Thanks for the kind words :) (Plus I love hearing about people making the switch to Corona.)

    I have never considered commas having such an importance in anything other than code before, (although I really should have,) very insightful stuff.

    I am afraid my grammar is terrible these days. Well, no – it isn’t terrible, it just isn’t very good ;) (I think part of that is my love of “-“, which I ignored almost the entire time I was writing for a living.)

    I hope I will see you around the forum :) (I am aware the correct term is “fora” but I can’t bring myself to use it.)

  5. Dane Schad Reply

    Peach,

    I spent two nights ago implementing the “Director” template, and last night making some buttons… But I have a full-time job so I only get to work on my app in small chunks of time; it really sucks. As soon as I release my first game I am turning this into a full-time job!

    I am already amazed at how easy it is to find an answer on a Corona question than GameSalad question. (I think GS is a wonderful idea but the company and forums are not conducive to productivity).

    BTW I downloaded “Burger Cook” which may help my short term memory…I think a failed solo-kegstand back in college made it difficult to keep info in my head for just a few seconds! :D Or it could be hereditary…

  6. Peach Pellen Reply

    Hey again Dane,

    I understand how that is. (Time being a limiting factor in things.)

    I’m ex GameSalad as you likely know and yes, it is a lot easier to get information on Corona. (It wasn’t always that way, 18 months ago GS was very different because their was a strong community then.)

    Thanks for downloading Burger Cook :) The art is just beautiful. (Done by Biffy Beebe, she’s fantastic.)

    That failed keg-stand sounds painful. I’ve never had such an accident, although when I was about 8 another kid tackled me while I was on a balance beam and I got knocked unconscious after hitting my head in the fall… that could explain a lot, actually ;)

  7. Dane Schad Reply

    Hey Peach and friends,

    We need to talk about our marketing skills.

    So I was looking through games on Corona’s website, and I noticed something. Each game shows the icon, title, developer, and roughly the first 8 words of the game description followed by an ellipses. So basically you have 8 words to convince me to click on your game and learn more. Most of the games on there waste this opportunity. Here is the “worst” example (this game appears to be taken down, but the point remains):

    Amazing Machine –title
    InfusedDreams –developer
    Amazing Machine is a game developed by Infused…

    I have absolutely no interest in clicking this link! What a waste! But I clicked, to see what I missed. After the useless statement from above, a new paragraph started with:

    “The mad professor has created a series of machines to destroy the world”

    Now that I would buy! “shut up and take my money!”

    Let me spin it another way. InfusedDreams spent months of man-hours creating an exciting adventure realm, coding, fixing bugs, changing things that didnt’ work, and compiling, then came up to me and said “I have something right here in my pocket that I put a ton of time, effort, and sweat into” and then walked off.

    WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT??

    Follow my train of thought here:
    We are all businessmen and businesswomen. You are CEO. Your job is to make your assets bring in money. Doesn’t matter what you’re selling; soda, toilet paper, video games. (dibs on that bundle). You then ask yourself “how can I get my assets to bring in money?” See how only now do we care what we are selling? You say, “alright, I am selling copies of my video game” (Your asset is the intellectual property of your video game; your soda can/video game copy is your product, your copyright/soda vending machine is your asset). Don’t put your vending machine behind a bush, put it right by the water fountain! And put a sign on the water fountain that says “out of order”.

    Alright listen closely. We need to learn marketing skills. This rant was not a lesson, it is a command to go learn about how to get your assets to bring in the $$. What I typically do is this: Sometimes I am eager to make progress on my game but don’t feel like coding. That’s when I learn marketing from forum posts, youtube videos, and (*gasp) books.

    Now grab a notebook (don’t open a text document, grab a notebook and pen).
    Your first mission is to go to Corona’s website and read everything you can on free marketing (for apps) and then go to google and do the same thing, regardless of how far along you are (or aren’t) on your game, or how many games you have put out.

    Your second mission is to pick a second concept that is mentioned during your google reading and then google that.

    Take notes and write down how you could implement the concepts. This is free knowledge!

    Lastly, this is my motto:
    “They won’t buy it if they don’t know about it.”

    Dane

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