This morning I was once again reminded of how well-meaning web designers sometimes destroy their client's chances of Internet success.
They put together beautiful websites, bring in good writers and hire people to make sure the SEO is just right. But then... they get just a bit too "artsy." One of the mistakes they make is using a black background. Studies have shown that people don't like to read white on black, except in very small doses. It's simply too hard on the eyes. But that's not the biggest problem.
Those designers probably have superior high-speed Internet service, and they forget that not everyone has the same service.
The truth is, for those of us with satellite or dial-up service, it takes so long for those pages to load that we leave before we even see them. So, even though the content is informative and well-written, even though the SEO puts the sites at the top of page one on a Google search, the site owner gets no benefit.
I've found that a dark red background has the same effect - pages take so long to load that it appears that they aren't going to load at all. So, even if I'm pretty sure the page is one I want to visit, after a minute or so, I click away. If I'm following a Google search and I'm not sure I even want to be there, I click away after a few seconds.
Excessive flash and too many graphics can have the same detrimental effect. And... as much as most people don't want to hear it, so can adding Google+. Sometimes when I'm sitting here waiting I notice the memos at the bottom of the page. They say "waiting for ..." and quite often it's Google + that's holding things up.
We all have to weigh the benefits against the drawbacks. But in my opinion, anything that makes a page load slowly is probably worth eliminating.
You can't sell your visitors a darned thing if they never arrive!