Common Web Design Mistakes
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Common Web Design Mistakes

The Top 10 webSite Design Dont's
By Stephen Fasenfeld

Last month I was sitting on a plane coming back from Cincinatti in the USA to Ireland after having been at an Internet marketing seminar. Instead of catching up on my reading and the ton of information I learned, I struck up a conversation with my neighbor who was called Sam. He told me he had just graduated from college and was intending on setting up a web design business.

I hesitated for a second, not knowing if I should tell him what I did, but I went ahead anyway...

He was stunned.

So why am I telling you all this. Simple really.

The most interesting question Sam asked me was what I considered to be the Top 10 Web Design Dont's. This is what we concluded from our brain storming session..........

  1. Don't ignore the 10 second test.

    Don't let your page take longer than 10 seconds to load.This is critical when designing your website. Remember that you only have a few seconds to capture a visitor's interest and attention - and you can't even attempt to do that if your pages take more than a few seconds to load.

    There's rarely a need for a page to be over 25k in total size. If your pages must be over 25k in size use multiple tables to break up your text and images.

    There are several things you can do to ensure that your pages load as quickly as possible. It all starts with using the fastest webserver that you can find, but in terms of designing your webpages here a few tips not to do:

  2. Don't use "Welcome to My Site"

    Phrases like "Welcome to My Site", repetition of your company name and other self-serving statements only cloud your message and are of no interest to your visitor. Your home page and virtually every other page on your site should begin with a compelling, stimulating, interest-generating, headline or opening equivalent that tells your viewers "what's in it for me if I read this page."

    "Welcome to My Site" comes across as amateurish. The point here is that to bear in mind that you have a limited amount of space on your page. Put into operation the AIDA principal. Create Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.Don't take up precious real estate that could be better utilized for benefit-related information.

  3. Don't use Large Useless Graphics

    Very few sites need many graphics on their site, just a few to get their point across. I recently went my banks site and it took forever to download, I didn't have the time to hang around. Considering that they are trying to move everybody to a paperless society, it is rather ironic that they keep us waiting.

    While you don't need the fanciest graphics in the world, you will need to incorporate at least a few of them into your webpages. At the very least you should include your company name or logo somewhere in every page - usually as part of a header or footer. Rather than using free or generic clip art graphics, spend some time learning to create your own - or hire a graphic designer.

  4. Don't spend too much time talking about yourself.

    Over Use of "We, Our, Us, My, Me, Mine" and Your Company Name.These are self-serving words that turn off readers. Instead, you should use words like "you" and "your."

    Visitors care about themselves not about you, they only want to know how you can help them - so don't waste too much time talking about yourself or blowing your own trumpet.

    Tell the visitor exactly how they will benefit from exploring your site, and by taking the action that you want them to take. The last thing you want to do is start out a webpage by talking about yourself. Do however talk about yourself on your Contact Us Page. There will be a lot of people who want to find out more about you.

  5. Don't use"Under Construction" Signs/Notices

    Don't ever use an "Under Construction" logo: If it's under construction, then don't put it up. It looks foolish.It just wastes your visitors time and could possibly frustrate or annoy them. Every page on your site should have a purpose or reason why it's there.

  6. Every page should also have a "call to action" - -- what you want the visitor to do after reading the information. If you do insist on putting up your site even if it is not ready, give the visitor a freebie to get their email address, sop you can contact them when the site is ready.

  7. Don't send visitors away with offsite links in prime locations.

    If you owned a bricks and mortar shop would you send them away the moment they arrived. When a potential customer arrives, why give that person an immediate opportunity to leave and never return? No, of course you wouldn't. The webis the same.

    Unless your primary income is derived from selling advertising, don't send visitors away with links to other sites - especially not in prime locations like at the top of your main page. It's one thing to swap links or banner ads with a small number of strategic partners but don't put them at the top of your pages where it's the first thing a visitor will see.

    If you must link externally, do it on a page that's buried deep in your site that can only be accessed after viewing the important pages on your site.

  8. Don't forget to test your site with other webbrowsers.

    A couple of years ago Netscape Navigator was the leading webbrowser, not any more though. Internet Explorer has practically stolen the market. 95% of visitors who come to my sites use Internet Explorer.It is still advisable though to see what your screen looks like through different browsers.

    Some people will be using smaller monitors which will make your site look very different. Bear that in mind when designing your site.Never make any of your pages wider than 600 pixels - horizontal scrolling is unacceptable.

  9. Don't forget to track your site and analyze your traffic.

    Tracking your visitors and pages viewed gives you a great indicator of what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.Your website isn't up to scratch if it doesn't do it's job.

    The only way you're going to be able to tell is if you track your site using a comprehensive site tracking system. Your website is the heart of your online presence, and knowing how people use it -- or don't use it -- is the only way to make it even more effective.

  10. Don't forget to proofread and spell check your entire site.
It seems obvious, yet many, many webpages contain spelling and grammatical errors. There is nothing more unprofessional than poor grammar and misspelled words in the content of your site. At best visitors will think that you pay no attention to details, and at worst they will think that you're illiterate.

Before you launch your website for the entire world to see, be sure to run every page through a spell checker. And if your writing skills aren't the best, have someone who is qualified to do so proofread your site. Remember, for most of your visitors your website is the only thing they will have to form an impression of you and your company.

Your copy is a reflection on your professionalism (or lack of it), your attention to detail (or lack of it) and your commitment to excellence (or lack of it.) Why give visitors any reason to doubt you? Use spelling and grammar checkers to make sure your copy is first-rate.

If you have just half an hour spare when designing your site try putting into operation 50% of the above points, you will see a dramatic increase in people returning to your site and enjoying the experience and ultimately buying your product if you are selling a product. Even if you are not selling a product, you want people to stay and not leave the moment they arrive. Try it, give it a go and you will be amazed at the results.

See how Stephen Fasenfeld designs a website from the ground up right before your very eyes watching audio and video tutorials. In less than 10 minutes you can see the same secrets he has used to show over 6,800 people in the last 6 months how to design their own website. Check out ==>

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