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Avoid These Common Website Design Mistakes

Splash Pages

Pain - we instinctively avoid it. Every click required to reach the information we want is considered painful (or at least annoying). Splash pages not only add to our pain, but usually have large graphics with longer download times, or a Flash Movie with a "Skip Intro" (worse, no skip intro option). Because these pages typically lack useful links or text, they are also not Search Engine Friendly.

Poor Navigation

If you've ever been on a site and asked "Where Am I", or had to click "Back" to a link menu, just to get to another page, you've experienced poor navigation. Always plan out and diagram how a visitor will 1. Know where they are within your site 2. Offer a prominent and intuitive link menu across all pages.

Overly Dense Text

When people are searching for a topic of interest, they tend to scan over text more than read it. A web page that looks like a giant block of text can be intimidating. Make it easier for visitors to scan your text by dividing it into reasonable paragraphs.
Titling your paragraphs can make scanning even easier for both human readers and Search Engines.

Tiny Text

Cascading Style Sheets can be used to control the absolute size of text on your web pages. However, if you make your text too small, some people will either not be able to read it or find it to be tedious. Remember, your text size may look acceptable to you on your computer, but what about on someone else's screen where the resolution has been set higher? Try to reference your pages with different screen settings, as well as viewing them on other computers to make sure your text is not too small.

Amateur Copy

Maybe you're a gifted wordsmith. Maybe not. But one thing is certain, visitors care more about what's in it for them. A common mistake is to think about what you want to say about your business and start writing copy from the me perspective. A better approach is to put yourself in the mind set of a prospective buyer/client and ask, "What information do I need to help me choose a company to buy products or services from?" Web page copy that does not focus on the topic of interest to the reader is poorly written copy.

Search Engine Unfriendly

All Web pages are composed of parts we can see in our browser (visible contents) and parts don't see in our browser (invisible contents). One feature of the web that has helped it grow so quickly is that anyone can display the invisible parts (web code) by simply Right Clicking their mouse on the page and selecting "View Source". This action should open a window on your computer to reveal the guts (code) of the page.

In the top section of most web pages (there are some exceptions) should be several HTML Tags that help Search Engines rank a page for topical relevance. Specifically, the TITLE TAG, DESCRIPTION TAG, and KEYWORDS tags should be included and coded within Search Engine Friendly guidelines. A common mistake is for these elements to be completely left out of your web page design or coded in a way that Search Engines don't like. To see if your pages have been done within recommended guidelines, we like this free tool on the web at Scrub The Web.

Flash Only Website

Websites that are built entirely within Adobe Flash are then saved or "published" as a Flash Move or ".swf" file. This file is then placed within a web page (e.g. file types ending in .htm, .html, .php, .cfm, .asp., .aspx., .jsp). So what you have is a Flash Movie within one web page.

Because Search Engines rely on text and scan your site for its pages, all they typically see is a "Flash Blob", which they cannot scan and index. A better use of Flash is to create HTML based pages with text and graphics and embed flash movies where animation or a higher-end photographic or text-graphic aesthetics are required.

 
Consider Professional Design
Your website may be the first impression made on a new prospect, so its important it looks professional. Beyond the inital design and launch, please know that an effective site involves ongoing updates and fresh information for your visitors.

If you're considering hiring a designer, please consider All Squared. We stand behind our work and remain available to support and maintain your website long after it's built. Assigning the task to someone who will do it for free or as a side job may seem appealing now, but where they will be in 6 months to a year?

We understand you may build your website yourself and sincerely hope this list helps you get it right! Thank you for your consideration.

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