Dan Zarrella, a social media scientist at Hub spot, states that, “Marketing isn’t magic. There is a science to it.” And part of that science is designing a website that has all the right stuff to attract a larger audience and grow your bottom line. Some of the right things to include on your site are a given, like your company’s contact information, logo, and links to social media. But some people take website design a little too far and erroneously include items that add up to big mistakes. The reason for these mistakes is because people are misinformed. They either misunderstand the purpose of their website, or they create a site based on their personal preferences instead of the professional features that will attract clients and keep them coming back.
The 7 Most Serious Mistakes
If I were to list everything to avoid on your website, this short article would turn into an e-book. However there are some that happen more frequently. Here is a short list based on my own experiences with website design.
- Flash – Unless your business revolves around the superhero of the same name, keep the flash off your website. Elaborate flash design might work well for personal webpages or video game sites, but it offers little benefit for content-based, marketing websites.
- Media – Audio and video is a great way to link people to your YouTube, Spreaker, and other media-based social networks. The mistake is when the media plays automatically. Give viewers the option of playing the media. If they are at work or the library, a sudden burst of sound will cause them to navigate in the opposite direction.
- Clutter – If your website promotes a variety of products, services, events, and so forth then make sure you organize the content throughout the site instead of throwing it all on the homepage. Few things are more frustrating than trying to find specific information on a cluttered website.
- Irrelavance – Speaking of cluttered websites, one of the biggest reasons for clutter is irrelevant content. If you are selling water filtration systems, but your website is filled with pictures of adorable kittens, that isn’t really the way to attract customers. (Besides, cats hate water!)
- Contrast – The contrast between the text color and the background color should be different enough that you can read the text without either squinting or shielding your eyes. In other words, if your website has a light background, then select dark text, and vice versa.
- Popups – A single popup that invites visitors to your site to sign up for a newsletter, share their email address in exchange for exclusive content, or some other type of call to action is acceptable. Anything more only serves to distract visitors from the content on the site itself.
- Ads – There is nothing wrong with having a few ads on your website. But if the ads are flashing, rotating, or serving to distract your viewers in any other way then switch them out for something more static like a non-animated image or basic text.
A Few Guidelines for Choice Content Your Audience Will Love
If you manage to avoid all the above mistakes but then mess up the content, then you have failed to avoid the biggest mistake of all. People who visit your website are not there to read a novel, so watch putting all of your content in big, fat paragraphs. Keep paragraphs short. If possible, try to keep each paragraph to 3 lines or less, which adds up to either 50 words, or about 250 characters, with spaces. While you can go a little over or a little under that limit, shorter paragraphs make it easy for busy visitors to quickly scan the content and move on. Another thing to watch with content is spelling and grammar. There are few things worse than trying to read someone’s webpage and mentally correcting all of the spelling and grammar errors. I get so focused on the errors that it would be easy to miss the point of the website entirely! And finally, images are the non-verbal content of your site, displaying messages regardless of language barriers. But if those images surpass webpage borders, are too large or too small, or inconsistent with the text then it could leave visitors feeling awkward and hesitant about spending quality time on your site. Canadian freelancer Mark Harris has found great success as a writer. Before blogging about technical topics, he uses reliable sites like http://ownasite.com/ to fact check first. During his free time Mark enjoys kayaking and hiking his country’s picturesque western coastline as well as checking out cool sites around nearby Vancouver with his beautiful wife.