As mentioned in the article “The Dangers of NOT Having A Website”, merely having a website for the sake of having one is not enough.
If you want your website to succeed and ensure you remain ahead of your competition you must have the RIGHT website. There are many things you can do to improve your website but here are 7 Deadly Website Sins you should avoid at all costs:
- Slow Loading Webpages
Filling your website with large images, videos and animation (like Flash) is a sure fire way to increase loading times. Images and video are great for adding interest to your webpages but they must be optimized and used in a way which compliments your website, not hinders it.
Remember, people are impatient! They want their information NOW and won’t wait round three minutes for your website to load. In fact, you’d be lucky if some people wait three seconds. So make sure users can get to your information immediately and then give them the option to play videos or view large images once they’re already immersed in the content of your webpage.
- Trapping your text in images.
What I mean by “trapping” is putting text inside an image file like a JPG, PNG or GIF, rather than putting it directly into your webpage.
Sure it’s ok to have minimal text in images, like in your website’s banner, buttons and advertisements, but where ever possible ensure your text is text. A cardinal sin of web design is trapping entire pages of text in large images! DON’T EVER DO IT!
There are a couple of reasons behind this:
- Images take longer to load than plain text. So the fewer images mean faster webpage loading time.
- Search Engines scan the textual content of your webpages for keywords which they add to their indexes. This enables your website to appear in the search results when somebody searches for a word or phrase relevant to your keywords. Search Engines however CANNOT extract keywords from images.
Say for example your business sells Tomato Soup and your website has a picture of a soup can. Even though the picture has the words “Tomato Soup” written on the can’s label, a Search Engine would be completely oblivious to this. However, if you have “Tomato Soup” written as text in your webpage a Search Engine will be able to read the words and add them to its index.
- Difficult Interface & Poor Navigation
Your website should be structured so your users can easily differentiate between the header, content, navigation, footer, etc. If your webpages are one big jumble and lack a consistent layout, users will become frustrated or confused quickly. This is a great way to lose visitors to your website.
Your website also must be easy and intuitive to navigate. Links to each of your webpages should be clearly presented in a logical hierarchy. Your prospects should be able to access ALL your information within three clicks of the homepage.
If people can’t find what they’re looking for they’ll soon leave and may never return to your website.
- Links That Don’t Stand Out
All links on your website should be clearly identifiable as links. This is as simple as making hypertext (I.e. the clickable link text) a slightly different colour from the text on the rest of your website. Underlining or subtly changing the background colour of hypertext is another common method of achieving this.
When the mouse cursor moves over a link, its text, underline or background should change colour to suggest interactivity.
Under NO circumstances should you underline non-hyperlinked text. It is generally accepted across the Internet hypertext is underlined, so therefore underlying ordinary text can be confusing to your users.
- Poor Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Just like any professional publication, the content of your website should be free from spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. After all, the Internet is not an excuse to become lazy and you should aim to provide quality material for your prospects.
Your Web Design Expert lightly proofreads the textual content of your webpages to weed out the glaringly obvious errors, although we can provide a more thorough proofreading upon your request.
- Avoid Jargon and Large Words
On the other extreme you shouldn’t use specialised terminology or big words people aren’t familiar with. Your prospects usually aren’t experts in your field, so bombarding them jargon or words they don’t understand will alienate them. If you must use jargon always explain what it means and if you have many specialised terms provide a glossary page to explain what they mean.
- Excessive Use of Colours and Fonts
Webpages with a dozen fonts and colours look messy and are likely to give your prospects a headache – not the best impression to make! Your website’s colour scheme should reflect the content of your website and compliment its design. This is where it pays dividends to have a professional designer determine the best colour scheme for you and create a design based around that.
NEVER use blinking text! It may have been cool in the mid 90’s but these days it just annoys users.
But wait, there are more sins! Next read our article 7 More DEADLY Website Sins where we’ll probe deeper into this matter.
If your website needs help with any of the 7 DEADLY Website Sins, don’t hesitate to contact us using the form below.