7 Common Web Site Mistakes You Might Be Guilty Of

Generally when we’re building new websites, our clients have several design and development ideas that they would like implemented into the new site. Most of the time, we try to take the clients’ ideas into account, but we have several suggestions that pop up often that we have to politely decline, and here’s why:

Confusing Purpose
We have a client with a very interesting company name; unfortunately, the name is not reflective at all of what the business actually does. They came up with a design concept that played up the name, with a cute cartoon character and all. Unfortunately, if a visitor landed on the site they had designed, they would have thought they were either on the wrong site, or that the company was involved in an entirely different business.

Just because your company’s name is Plummer does not mean your logo should be a cartoon character plumber – unless, of course, you actually are a plumber. Remember, your web site visitor is going to subconsciously “judge” your site in less than 3 seconds. Let him know immediately what your web site is about and what products or services you have to offer.

Flash Design
We still have clients who request that their site be built entirely in Flash. However, that’s mainly because they aren’t aware of the downfalls to having a Flash-based web site. Once we explain to them the 5 major drawbacks, they usually understand our reluctance to give in to this request.

We suggest not building your web site entirely in flash because
1. The search engines do not like flash. Most of the content in a flash-based web site is not crawlable, so the search engines have nothing to index.
2. Flash is terrible for usability. Because Flash uses unconventional navigation, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, for visitors with any type of disability to get around on your web site.
3. Flash requires a lot of bandwidth. Just because you have a lightning fast internet connection doesn’t mean all of your visitors do. Why make them wait for your mammoth Flash site to load?
4. Flash is not 100% compatible. Many PDAs and mobile devices can not access Flash based websites. You might be cutting out a lot of visitors. Personally, I’m an iPhone user; if your site is built entirely in Flash, I won’t be able to read a single word of it.
5. Flash is terrible for SEO. Yes, I know, I already said that in point number 1. But it’s so important I felt I needed to say it again. And yes, I know that many designers claim that Google can now index Flash. But be honest, how many flash-based sites have you ever seen in the top 10 of your searches?

No Contact Information
Believe Cialis Professional it or not, this happens often. There are 3 main reasons our clients ask us to leave their contact information off the web site:
1. I work from home and I don’t want anyone to know that.
2. Our office is in City A but we want to attract customers in City B.
3. We want our web site visitors to contact us via email.

But having all of your contact information is really the best way to go on your web site. First, it lends credibility to your business. Secondly, it’s better customer service to allow your prospects to contact you in their preferred method, not yours. And finally, it increases the number of inquiries you will receive from your web site visitors.

You should include as much contact information as you have available: phone number, physical address, fax number, email addresses, toll-free numbers, etc. And you should include this at the bottom of each web page, in addition to on a dedicated “contact us” page. Many visitors are accustomed to scrolling to the bottom of the page for contact details, while others look for the Contact Us link in your navigation bar.

Poor Copy Layout
We are buy cialis brand working with a client right now who is an excellent writer. Unfortunately, his writing style is – how do I put this nicely… too sophisticated for a web page. His paragraphs are exceptionally long. His words are colossal. He does not like bullet points because, in his opinion, they are not elegant.

We’re trying extremely hard to convince him that his web site visitors will not read his copy word for word. They will scan it. And your site visitors will scan your copy, too. You need to use short paragraphs. And lots of subheads. And bullet points. And numbered lists. And anything else that will make they page look more visually appealing and easy to read.

Use of Unconventional Fonts
We get requests for some crazy fonts to be used on web sites. Some clients want their web site copy to match the font in their logos. Others just have a preferred look that they are trying to match. But that’s because most small business owners don’t understand how fonts work on Kamagra Gold a web site.

To explain it in a nutshell, if you specify a crazy font on your web site and your visitor does not have that font installed on his computer, he will not see that font when he visits your site. Instead, he will see whatever font is set up as the default font in his web browser.

We always advise our clients to specify a Font Family in place of a single font. For instance, we might use “Georgia, Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans serif” as the body copy. In this case, the visitor’s web browser will go down the list of fonts we have specified and display the first one available on the visitor’s computer. If our visitor does not have Georgia installed on his computer, he will see Verdana instead. And if he doesn’t have Verdana, he will see Arial, or Helvetica. And if he has none of the fonts we specified, the browser will display his default sans serif font.

Use of Unconventional Link Schemes
Usually it’s the same clients who request crazy fonts that also want crazy hyperlink schemes. They want either an unusual color for their hyperlinks, or they want their hyperlinks to blend seamlessly into their body copy.

But the standard format for hyperlinks is blue underlined, and many of your web site visitors will be expecting this. If you decide to go with a color other than blue, at least make your hyperlinks noticeable. And reserve underlined text strictly for hyperlinks. I’ve sat in on usability and eye tracking studies and watched site visitors get frustrated when the underlined text they are clicking on is not taking them any where.

I also suggest that you use a different color for your visited link (purple is the standard). Your web site visitors will appreciate knowing which pages they have visited and which pages they haven’t, especially if you have a very robust internal linking structure.

Poor Navigation
We often have clients say to us, “Oh, I just love the menu bar on such-and-such web site. I want mine to look just like that.” But when we check out the suggested menu bar, we find out it’s a javascript menu or flash-based menu or some other unconventional navigation system.

I suggest you only use text-based navigation menus. These can be designed with CSS so they function just like those fancy javascript drop down menus. But unlike javascript menus they are search engine friendly so the search engine spiders can better follow your links, they are usability compliant (visitors with disabilities can have problems with javascript menus), they are standards compliant meaning your web site code will be correct, they are faster to load than javascript menus, and visitors can access them even if their javascript has been disabled.

If you avoid these 7 very common mistakes in your own site design, you’ll be on your way to a profitable and effective web site.

Author Bio: Karen Scharf, small business marketing consultant, works with small business owners and entrepreneurs. She offers several papers, reports and checklists, including her FREE 4 Simplest Tactics for Increasing Your Customer Base and Growing Your Bottom Line. Download this and many other small business marketing tips now.

Category: Internet/Web Design
Keywords: web design, internet, website mistakes

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