After you discover that you can rotating banners, sounds, and bouncing balls to your website every newbie to web design is tempted to add all the bells and whistles that they are capable of adding. I know I was.
Unfortunately these are the very things that annoy potential customers right off of a site. The other day I was contacted by a newbie with a link back to the newbie's website. I followed the link and found a site that moved in all directions. Landing on the home page I was greeted by an item seemingly falling from the sky and its accompanying sound. The colors of the site were dark. Some of the paragraph boxes were dark with grey fonts making it difficult to read. The call to action was lacking. And I was distracted by a graphic of the earth that continued to glow. Each page that was clicked resulted in the same item that falls from the sky with accompanying sound---page after page after page.
And the one thing I was looking for was not posted on the site----who was this person was who was contacting me? Just about anyone can post a website on the Internet. Domain names are reasonably priced. But fewer people will post their personal information, letting potential customers in on who they are and what experience they might have to offer so that a customer can make even a preliminary decision on a first contact. If that information isn't there I doubt if you'll be making many sales unless you're selling a universal product so cheaply that people will take a chance on you.
No amount of SEO or Flash displays or sounds will save you from a poorly designed website. The bones of any site need to be in place. What does your company do? Who is your company? What do customers say about you? Why should someone choose your company over a competitor? And don't make a potential contact search around for the call to action button. Make your navigation clear and logical.
And try out your site on as many devices, browsers (old and new), and resolutions as you possibly can. Even templates provided by the major web hosting companies are not foolproof 100% of the time.
And leave the bells and whistles to a minimum. Videos and sounds should be controlled by the end user. Sounds really shouldn't be used unless you're selling those sounds. And grey fonts hardly ever work well with a black background. Make things as simple as possible. Use clear and concise language. Customers are interested in you---not stock information and the same pictures that are used on all your competitor's sites. Making yourself and your site stand out should create a lot of first contact opportunities.