Top 10 Website Design Mistakes

This is an excerpt from my new book, Home Run Internet Marketing

1. The Website’s Purpose Is Not Obvious

When you arrive at a website, within moments you want to know what it’s all about. Why does this site exist? If people can’t figure out the site’s purpose very quickly, you have used up a chunk of their patience, and they will be off to your competitor’s site. Tell them the purpose of your site and tell them quick.

2. Outdated Content

People (and search engines) love to see fresh content. The reason people keep coming back to a site is because of the new, relevant information it provides. The best sites on the web continually post fresh content that entices visitors to return again and again. So don’t let your site become stale.

3. The Site Navigation Mirrors the Company’s Organizational Chart

If a website’s information hierarchy matches the company’s organizational chart, that’s a bad thing. During the development phase, no one was thinking about how visitors expect to view the site information. It’s easy to have the site simply mimic the org chart, but it just doesn’t make sense to your viewers. It’s best to organize the site around what the user will be looking for. It’s all about them after all.

4. Too Much Happy Talk

This is the website text that offers no real value to the viewer. It’s just there to fill space and sound polite. Like ”Welcome to our contact us page. Here you can see our phone number and email address below, blah, blah, blah.” Lose the happy talk and keep the text to the point. If there is no need for text, leave it out! People are in a hurry. Don’t waste their time.

5. Navigational Failures

When people arrive at a new site, the first two things they ask themselves are “Where am I?” and “Where can I go next?” Many times people can’t answer these two basic questions because the website’s navigation system is confusing. Conduct usability tests and uncover these potential problems before your users become irate and pass you over. Keep your navigation simple and consistent.

6. Audio or Video That Auto Plays

Argh! When people arrive on your site, don’t start playing music or a video right away. It’s rude. Give each person a heads up about the media and let them make the choice whether to play it. People may be on the web at work and have their speakers on. If media auto-plays when people first arrive, guess what website they will likely never return to.

7. Opening Unnecessary Browser Windows

There are very few times you will need to open a new browser window from a link on your site. If you are linking to an outside site, then it’s okay. But never link to another part of your site that opens a new window. It annoys your users, and there’s just no reason for it.

8. Turning Text into Graphics

Turning your text into graphics is bad for two reasons: One, it takes time for the graphic to download (whereas downloading text is nearly instantaneous). And two, the search engine can’t scan a graphic and read the text, so you lose out on potential SEO benefits. Forget about transforming your text into some zany font. Leave your text as just that… text. Your visitors will thank you.

9. Big Honking Chunks of Text

This is a website, not a philosophy text book. When visitors see a page with five huge paragraphs of unbroken text, do you think they will take the time to read it all? Heck no. People scan web pages for clues about content. Break up your large paragraphs into smaller ones and use bullets and plenty of white space. It helps people consume your awesome content.

10. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

How do you think people feel about a website’s authority if they find typos and grammar mistakes in the content? They think: What else on this site isn’t being attended to with care? People lose faith in a site if it trips up on the small stuff. Spell checkers are plentiful. Have someone review your text carefully before you post it for the world to see.

To read more, order your copy of Home Run Internet Marketing.


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