Meta tags, search engine optimization, link exchanges, oh my. If you've parked yourself at the drive-in movie lot on the world wide web like I have, there are about a gazillion and one things you need to focus on to make sure your website stands out. All of this stuff is crucial...yes...and should not be ignored. But for me, there is often something much simpler and much harder to "quantify" when it comes to web browsing: Do I like your site? Do I think its pretty/intriguing/interesting/well designed/noteworthy/balanced? If not, see ya.
This might sound like a dumb M.O to some...and I admit that my reasoning is ocassionally subject to flawed logic, however, I pretty much just flat out refuse to buy anything or spend time on your website if I don't like it. Call me a snob if you will (I've been called worse), but I really think that one's website is almost akin to your front lawn. Are you going to have the grass cut and the bushes trimmed? Are you going to leave that rusty drain pipe hanging off of the side of the roof? and a broken window pane? Of course not...so why do that on your website?!
As it turns out, CNN informs me that I'm not alone. And that, furthermore, a site that *I* might like might be loathed and abhored by my brother/father/fiance/delivery guy.
My tastes change as quickly as Lindsay Lohan's hair color, but strictly from a design point-of-view, I'm madly in love with this site called Pampered Tot. I don't have a baby...and likely won't have one anytime soon, but dammit if I don't feel like buying things when I get there. I want to buy Pampered Tot a dozen roses...share a one-strawed milkshake with Pampered Tot and take "him" on a rowboat ride to the middle of the lake. Screw it...I'm just going to throw caution to the wind and say it: Pampered Tot...I love you.