1. Get rid of the splash page, all that is, is an extra click people have to go through just to get the value, which should be immediately available on your homepage. The first thing a visitor sees on the homepage should be the promise of useful information and once again, do not forget value, if they do not think the site is worth their time to stick around for a few minutes …. they wont. Landing pages for targeted traffic are okay, just remember generic splash pages or "enter" pages are annoying and useless to visitors.
2. Eliminate all of the illegal advertisements because you should be selling your affiliate products for dollars, not sending people away from your site for cents. Now days most people with experience surfing the net have trained themselves to completely ignore banner ads, so do not rely on them and do not use too many of them, especially animated banners for that matter, cause they are very annoying. Targeted adverts are the only way to go, within reason, do not spam our senses with a billion adverts, its a turn-off.
3. One of the most important cardinal rules of functional, good web design, is if you have to explain how your navigation works … it's a good sign you do not have good navigation. Web site navigation should first above all, function, cause if it does not function it is useless and people will not stay on a web site for more than a few moments if they cant navigate easily. Make your navigation simple and elegant, do not waste peoples time and patience with a bunch of useless Flash animation or disappearing links.
4. Have a clear naming or "branding" of each section of your web site. Do not confuse your visitors. Let them know what section of the site they are in at all times because what is common sense to you, will certainly not be common sense to everyone else. All of us are, after all, individuals and we all think differently about each situation.
5. Audio, please oh please if you absolutely MUST insure on putting audio on your site, at the very least please provide a way to turn it off. There is nothing more annoying than audio on a page that you can not stop. I just leave the website rather than sit through the interruption of some cheesy beat or one of those really annoying talking robot heads. When I am listing to satellite radio I do not want some alien sound destroying my net surfing Zen.
6. Most people in Western culture read from left to right, which means the natural tendency when someone lands on your homepage is to scan from the top left and continue from there. This is also true with navigation, put your most important sections of your site on the left side of your horizontal nav-bar or on the top of your vertical nav-bars. People do not want to see "Home" and "About Us" as the first links, no one cares …. at first. Give them the value, give them the bread and butter of your site … first. After they are satisfied with the meal, they will head on over to the "About" page for the desert, or the icing on the cake to seal the deal. Do not spoil peoples' appetites by putting something in their way that they did not come to your site looking for in the first place.
7. No one likes an ugly web site, but what people do not like even more than an ugly web site, is a non-functioning web site. My final cardinal rule of good web design is the philosophy that every web site should look as good as it functions. Top shelf functionality will breed top shelf design, it's the nature of good web design.