Corporate Websites Are Meant to Be Seen, Not Heard

Last Updated Dec 15, 2009 10:24 PM EST

Are you in a rock band? Do you run a sound production studio?

If you did not answer "Yes" to either of those questions, then your website should never automatically talk at its visitors.

This may seem like an obvious point but I'm still surprised at how many corporate sites sound like MySpace or those spammy pop-under ads. To me, it doesn't matter whether your site is narrated by an articulate British woman, new age music or farm noises (believe me, I've heard all three on business websites). All sounds that start up upon visiting a site are equally annoying, especially since it can be surprisingly difficult to find the switch on the page that kills the volume.

Your marketing team may think music and flashy intros make your company seem hip but there's a real danger that your potential customers are going to end up tuning you out. I've probably found your site because I am considering paying you for your services. But the second some soundtrack starts playing, I have to quickly close the window as a courtesy to my coworkers. What's the chance that I'll ever revisit your site?

The default option for sound should always be "off" unless the site visitor chooses to click on a feature within the site, such as a video, that naturally comes with a soundtrack.

What's the craziest noise you've ever heard on a business site? Feel free to share your experiences below.

  • Stefan Deeran

    Stefan Deeran helps environmental nonprofits and green businesses develop and execute their new media campaigns. He also publishes The Exception magazine, a nonpartisan news platform serving his home state of Maine. You can follow him on Twitter @RStefanDeeran or via Facebook.