Do you have too many people visiting your Web site? Yeah, I had that problem too. All that traffic clogs the routers, and server hard disks are only so fast, y'know. It's an unfortunate side effect of the Web being "worldwide." Well, worry not, folks. I'm going to pass along some secrets that some of the Web's greatest geniuses have perfected--methods that will so thoroughly annoy your visitors that they'll never return. I've found that these techniques keep me from having to fill those annoying orders, which frees up more time so I can finally solve Freecell game number 26322.
The first way to keep people away from your Web sites, of course, is the old Macromedia Flash trick. Most visitors don't have the time or the interest to wait 5 minutes for a Flash introduction to download. Although those Flash sites sure are cool! And whatever you do, don't make the mistake of providing a "skip intro" link. For heaven's sake, you worked hard on your Flash files; people should have the courtesy to at least look at 'em.
Flash animations will help you stem the initial traffic, but unfortunately it won't put the dent into that traffic that you'll need if you want to have the time to figure out how to free up that red ace in the third column. (And can you believe that blasted Help file claims that "in theory every Freecell game is possible." Bah.) No, the way to get your Web site visitors' attention is with a popup window. What's that you say--"everyone's using a popup killer now that XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) has one?" Shhh, we don't want everyone to know, but that popup killer has a hole wide enough to drive a couple of Rush Limbaughs through. Trust me. With a bit of tricky coding, you can talk straight to the MSHTML object. More and more Web sites that previously had their irritating popups killed by SP2 are, as the saying goes, "baaaack!" There's no better way to say to your visitors, "We don't give a hoot what you want or don't want your browser to show, pal" than implementing SP2-piercing popups.
And even better, you can show visitors how much you respect them by dressing up the popups to look like system error messages. That way you can fool visitors into clicking the popup--as long as they don't take the time to click Tools, Internet Options, Advanced, Browsing and clear the "Enable visual styles on buttons and controls in Web pages," check box. It's a good thing Microsoft keeps that check box selected by default, isn't it? Similarly, overworked Web dudes like us must be pleased that in the same dialog box, Security, "Check for server certificate revocation (requires restart)" isn't checked. I know a few guys who've hijacked a few Web sites and are plenty grateful for that, you can be sure.
Then there's the old "disable the Back button" trick--an old favorite that has shown up in a pile of Web pages, some quite surprising. For example, after the September 11 tragedy, many people decided to donate to the New York office of a certain well-known charity and were stunned to find that a visit to that charity's Web site "mousetrapped" their browsers--not letting them back out. The charity has now eliminated that functionality, and you can back out of its Web sites. The company must have decided that irritating people interfered with collecting donations.
Microsoft's Web site is, in general, packed with information that you can't find anywhere else, and a Google search within Microsoft's site, will often turn up gold. But if you happen to stumble into some of the company's online documentation, good luck backing out. For example, open Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and paste this URL into your browser: http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/irftp.mspx
Now try to back out and you'll find you're trapped. We Webmaster types know that trick as the "old two-frame switcheroo." Sure, you can get out by clicking the down-facing triangle to the right of the Back icon, but most folks won't think of it. Simple to code and effective--visitors won't come back. This trick doesn't work if your visitor has navigated to Tools, Internet Options, Security, Custom Level, Scripting, Active Scripting, and select Disable. Of course, if visitors have disabled active scripting, then they'll find that a lot of other Web sites don't work worth a darn. Armed with these simple tips, you shouldn't have to deal with people ordering stuff from you or bothering you with pesky customer service questions. (Oh, here's another tip: Hide your contact information or don't offer it at all. In the time it takes you to respond to just one of those customers, you could've finished Freecell game 39181. It's a neat one, by the way.) If you still have people visiting your site, I have more suggestions, but I'm kinda busy right now. I'll try to pass along some important no-e-commerce tips next month ... after I get through this game.