There are several common website mistakes that you may be making that are holding you and your site back. See if any of these problems or practices sound familiar, and find out what you can do to correct the issue.
- The user must know what the site is about in seconds.
If a visitor can not figure what your site is about in a couple of seconds, he will probably just go somewhere else. So Your site must communicate visitor why he should spend his time there.
- Headlines should never be about YOUR STUFF.
Here is the core principle to understand: People don’t care about you, nor their business. Their only care is the problem they’re trying to solve. This is why a great homepage headline is about the problems your company solves, not about the product you offer or the service you provide.
This is the Internet, not a book, so forget large blocks of text. Most people do not read unless it’s absolutely necessary, and they prefer to scan through information quickly to get to the points of interest. This is why it’s so important to establish a strong visual content hierarchy so users can quickly scan your site and sifting through relevant information. A logical content hierarchy also acts as a guide through each page and creates a more enjoyable user experience.
- Do not use blinking text.
Unless your visitors are coming straight from 1996, that is.
- Do not use fancy fonts or tiny fonts that are unreadable.
If you have to choose between attractive and readable, choose readable every time. The objective of your website is to communicate a message, sell a product, etc. It is hard enough to read text on a computer screen so if it is made more difficult by a font that is too small or to difficult to read, your visitors will move on to another site and not return.
- Make sure users can search the whole website.
There is a reason why search engines revolutionized the Internet. You probably guessed it, because they make it very easy to find the information we are looking for. Do not neglect this on your site.
- Use a simple navigation structure.
To make it easy for your users of your website the navigation should be clear and easy to follow. Too much visible navigation, navigation bars in multiple locations can be confusing. The more organized the information is on your website, the easier it will be to plan out the navigation and the easier it will be for users to follow it and get the information they need quickly.
- Use text navigation.
Text navigation is not only faster but it is also more reliable. Some users, for instance, browse the Internet with images turned off.
- Do not overuse Flash.
The good thing about Flash is simple animation and has much smaller files sizes than other video formats. So that is one good thing, here are all the bad ones. First, any Apple device doesn’t support flash so it can’t be seen on Mac’s iPads or iPhones. Too much Flash can increase load times. It can also be annoying to the eyes. Some websites have been built totally with flash. When that happens is there is no text. Actually the text that is on the site is an image and can’t be read, analysed and rated by search engines. That means your site can’t be ranked by keyword searching which is the way most people find things on the web.
- Do not play music.
If your product or services are not about music, better avoid having a background music in your website. Although it looks and “sounds” cool, web standards today are geared towards providing the users with the best experience possible. And by experience, it includes quick loading and easy navigation. A background music would only slow down the website’s loading response rate, which can hamper down the user experience. Also, the music may actually put off clients if they do not like your choice.
- If you MUST play an audio file let the user start it.
Some situations might require an audio file. You might need to deliver a speech to the user or your guided tour might have an audio component. That is fine. Just make sure that the user is in control, let him push the “Play” button as opposed to jamming the music on his face right after he enters the website.
- Do not require a registration unless it is necessary.
When visitor browse around the Internet he wants to get information, not the other way around. Do not force him to register up and leave email address and other details unless it is absolutely necessary (i.e. unless what you offer is so good that he will bear with the registration).
- No one cares about company news.
Many companies are so obsessed about posting their news on the homepage. The truth is, “Nobody cares about your news or awards won”. Remember customers are selfish. All they need from you are solutions to their problems. If the homepage fails to show how you can help them, they will click away and head to a competitor’s website.
- If you have pages that are PDF files let them know.
When clicking on a link that is a PDF file the screen will freeze while Adobe Acrobat opens. This can be confusing and annoying to a user if they don’t know what is going on. While on the subjects of PDF’s, it is not a good idea to make full web pages out of PDF’s as they do not resize to various sized screens in the same way an HTML coded web page will.
- Do not blend advertising inside the content.
Blending advertising inside your content might increase your click-through rate on the short term. Over the long run, however, this will reduce your readership base. An annoyed visitor is a lost visitor.
- Don’t hide links.
Okay, because it is common to underline links, underline them so users know where they are. Or use a different color to make them stand out from surrounding text.
- Don’t underline text that doesn’t have a link.
Most links on a website are underlines. It only confuses things when they are not.
- Make clicked links change color.
This point is very important for the usability of your website. Clicked links that change color help the user to locate himself more easily around your site, making sure that he will not end up visiting the same pages unintentionally.
- Do not use animated GIFs.
Unless you have advertising banners that require animation, avoid animated GIFs. They make a site look unprofessional and detract the attention from the content.
- Stay away from bad color schemes.
Don’t use harsh colors, colors that are almost the same color as your text. This and similar design errors make your website content hard to read and will make your visitors leave. Design your color scheme to meet the feel you want for your website. The color, and the design should deliver the mood of your website with our hindering your users’ ability to focus on the content of the site.
- No horizontal scrolling.
While some vertical scrolling is tolerable, the same can not be said about horizontal scrolling.
- If you use CAPTCHA make sure the letters are readable.
Several sites use CAPTCHA filters as a method of reducing spam on comments or on registration forms. There is just one problem with it, most of the times the user needs to call his whole family to decipher the letters.
- Make sure to include contact details.
Of course you want to include contact info, but it is important that it is easily available on any page. The best idea is to have it at the top, and bottom of each page and a “Contact Us” tab in the navigation.
- Not sharing on social media
There are very few websites out there that can drive a good amount of traffic simply by existing—you have to spread your message to new networks if you want to reach more people. Social media is one of the best ways to build your brand presence and encourage more visitors to your website. It is also a more personal way to connect with your followers and engage with them.
- Unresponsive Layout.
With the continuous upsurge of traffic coming from mobile devices, it will be a major mistake of not making the website unresponsive. Attract more potential clients especially those who prefer to browse a product or service through their mobile devices by making sure that all your web design elements are responsive.
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