Website Design Mistakes

January 8, 2012

You’ll want to avoid these home page mistakes.
1. Large banner ads at the top of the web page. These increase download time, leave less space for your content, promote a different website, irritate visitors, etc. and if a visitor clicks on the banner, they will be taken to a different website, possibly never to return.
2. Too many ads. Again, these increase download time, increase page clutter, decrease overall ad effectiveness, promote a different website, and the visitor gets annoyed. Try to keep ads to 2 to 3 at the maximum unless your site is geared specifically towards advertising revenue.
3. Too much content per page. If you have too much information per page, you’ll only confuse your visitor. Don’t try to cram everything on your home page. You should have only one main idea on the home page, then build the rest of your site around your sub points. If your site is an on-line store, promote no more than 5 or 6 of your “best deal” or most popular products on the homepage.
4. Poor or unrelated graphics. It’s better not to use any graphics at all than to use poor ones. The graphics you do use should draw your visitor’s eye to important parts of your website.
5. Reciprocal links to unrelated sites or sites of poor quality. Only have high quality reciprocal links with sites that are relevant to your site.
6. Links to other sites on your home page. Why offer your visitor the door when they’ve just arrived?
7. A web based search engine on your site. Again, do you really want your visitors to find information and links to other sites?

Here are some miscellaneous design mistakes as well as suggestions on how to fix them:
1. Poor Loading Time: Cut down on graphics, graphic size and unneeded HTML codes.
2. Animated Graphics, Bullets, Arrows, etc.: Animated graphics are annoying to many people. Cut back on their use.
3. Scrolling, Jumping Or Animated Text And Mouse Trails Anywhere: Scrolling, jumping and animated text as well as mouse trails are distracting and will annoy your
visitors. Don’t use them anywhere, even on the bottom status bar. Do you really want to distract your visitor from your content?
4. Multi-colored Text: Having every letter in a word a different color or using multiple colored text looks very unprofessional and will annoy your visitor. The majority of your text should be one color. Use no more than two additional colors to emphasize important words.
5. Text Is Difficult To Read: Use dark text against a light colored background for optimal viewing. Black text against a white background is best. Also be sure that the text is large enough to be readable but not too large and that the font is easy to read. Arial or Verdana are the easiest fonts to read on-line, 12 pixels is the best size.
6. Too Many Highlighted Words: Only highlight important words and phrases. Use only one color when highlighting. The most frequently used color for highlighting is yellow as yellow is the most eye attracting color.
7. Gaudy Or Distracting Backgrounds: Choose a subtle background color or background graphic for your website as the background should enhance your site, not distract from it. If your visitor notices your background or background color, it is not subtle enough.
8. Different Backgrounds On Every Page: You should use the same background on every page of your site.
9. Multiple Banners: Lots of banners on a single page looks very unprofessional and makes your visitor think your site is no better than a banner exchange.
10. Overall Appearance Of The Site Is Poor: If the website doesn’t look professional, no one will trust the product or want to purchase anything from the site.
11. ANY Spelling Or Grammatical Mistakes: Even one error makes the site look unprofessional.
12. No Contact Information: Your visitor won’t trust you if they have no way of contacting you with any problems.
13. Poor Content: You won’t be able to keep your visitor’s attention if the content on your site is poor or is poorly written.
14. Poor Navigation: Your visitor won’t be able to explore your site if they can’t navigate around it.
15. Broken Links: Your visitor will become frustrated if they click on a broken link.
16. Incompatible Browser: Test how your website looks in multiple browsers.
17. Loud Sound Set To Autoplay: Turn off the sound and give your visitor the option of playing it. If your visitor should decide to play your audio, the volume should be set loud enough to hear but not loud enough to be annoying.
18. Video Set To Autoplay: Give your visitor the option of playing video. Although video is a great marketing tool there are people who find it annoying.
19. Poor Use Of Mouse Over Effects: Only use mouse over effects if they add something to your site.

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Design Your Website To Grab Your Visitor’s Attention

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You need to grab the attention of your visitors within the first few seconds of their arrival on your site so that they stay and explore your site further.

Here are some suggestions:
1. Your logo and header graphics should communicate what your website is about.
2. Use words and phrases in your headline that will attract the curiosity of your visitors.
3. Don’t use words that tend to discourage the attention of your visitor.
4. Keep your headline short and concise.
5. In your headline, use the main keyword or keyword phrase used to optimize that particular page. Some visitors reached your website by searching on that particular word or phrase. If you use it in your headline, they are more likely to further explore your site.
6. Use a different font for your headline. Georgia or Tahoma would be good fonts to use.
7. Use a larger font for your headline to attract the eye of your visitor.
8. Use a different color for your headline than for your content.  Dark blue or red works well for headlines.  Use black for your content.
9. Studies show that black text on a white background is best and the easiest on your visitors’ eyes.  Don’t put your content on a patterned, busy, or colored background as doing so tends to distract your visitor.

Here are some suggestions for the remainder of your content.
1. Use a different color font to emphasize important words or sentences.
2. Highlight keywords and phrases. Yellow works best.
3. Use a slightly larger font for important sentences.
4. At low resolutions such as those for a computer screen, it is easier to read small text in a sans serif font such as Arial or Verdana.
5. Capitalize important single words or phrases. Do not capitalize whole sentences.
6. Use common, everyday words which are easily understood.
7. Do not use abbreviations. Not all of your visitor’s will understand what an abbreviation stands for.
8. Do not use slang. The Internet is worldwide which means you may get visitirs from different countries and/or cultures with no idea at all what a slang word means.
9. Keep your sentences simple.
10. Your paragraphs should contain from 3 to 5 sentences and no more than this.
11. Studies have shown that it is more difficult to read from a computer monitor than it is from a printed page. Since your visitor will read about 25% slower, keep your paragraphs and sentences as short as possible.
12. Use graphics to emphasize a particular section of your content. For example, use an image of a book cover when promoting an e-book.
13. Avoid using animation. Most people find animation annoying as well as distracting. In addition, your visitors’ eye will constantly be drawn away from your content and towards the animation. Do you want your visitor looking at the animation or at your sales message? EXCEPTION: If your site is a content site, you may want to use animated banners for products or services you are promoting on that site.

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Website Design: Choosing A Layout

January 3, 2012

There are many different website layouts to choose from and deciding on a particular layout is one of the first steps when designing your website. However, no matter what layout you decide on, your website should always be as simple as possible and easy to navigate.

The most appropriate layout for your website will depend upon the complexity of your site. Look at various sites on the Internet that offer products similar to your product to help you decide on the most desirable layout for your website.

The simplest layout consists of a single column containing content with or without additional tables for a header and a footer. Basically, this type of layout is used for a single page sales letter. The header will include your logo and your header graphics, the content will consist of your copy and links to your business notices. The footer will contain your copyright and possibly your website’s name. The only links will be to your payment processor and legal notices pages. This layout will work for any single product sales when your site requires no navigation or links to other content.

The second simplest layout consists of two columns of content with or without additional tables for a header and a footer. As above, the header includes your logo and header graphics, one of the columns will consist of your navigation menu with links to other content while the second column will contain your copy, and your legal notice links. The footer will contain your copyright and possibly your website’s name.

If you have a medium to large website, you may need to use a layout with more columns and additional space for navigation menus, etc. Use a layout that meets your web site’s needs. As long as you don’t arrange your content haphazardly or use too many columns, the layout will remain fairly simple and easy to follow.

Depending on the size of your website, use a one, two, three, or four tier structure. For a one tier website design, your website structure should consist of your main page (home page) with links to your legal information. If your website is a content site, you may need to use a two or three tier structure with the main categories listed in your navigation menu. These then link to the content (two tier) or link to subcategories which then link to the content (three tier).

If your site is very complex, you may have main categories links in your navigation menu which link to subcategories. These subcategories may link to even smaller subcategories which will then link to specific content. A good example of this would be for a gardening site.  Here is an example: Bushes -> Flowering Bushes -> Roses -> Specific Rose Bushes.

You should not make your website any more than 4 layers deep. This guarantees that your visitor will be no more than 3 clicks away from your home page.

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