There are dozens and dozens of mistakes one can make in website design, but in this article we will narrow the focus down to 10. These are goofs that almost everybody has made at one time or another, and knowing them in advance can make your site far better than much of the competition.
1. Disable the back button
Website authors long ago figured out how to break a browser’s back button so when a user pushes it, one of several undesired things happens. There can be an immediate redirect to an unwanted location, or the browser might stay put because the “back” button’s deactivated, or perhaps a new window will pop up and overtake the screen. The best advice is to never do it at all.
2. Opening new windows
At one time, using multiple new frames to display content when a user clicked through a site was expected. Now it only annoys viewers, because it ties up system resources, slows computer response time, and generally complicates a visitor’s experience. Don’t use this tool. Now, with tabbed browsing common in most browsers, users who wish to open links in new tabs can do so by themselves.
3. Phone & Address
Failing to put your phone number and address in several easy-to-find locations is a sin if you’re trying to sell something. Offer viewers different ways to contact you, and the way to do that is to put a “Contact Us” link that goes to your complete info with your mailing address, phone numbers and email address. That link should be on every page of your website.
4. Broken links
Hyperlinks that do nothing when clicked or lead to “404” error pages are the absolute bane of any web surfer. Test your site every week just to ensure that all your links work as promised. Include a “Contact the Webmaster” link in your site’s footer so that users can quickly let you know if they find a broken link, or other mistake, and you can fix those errors immediately.
5. Slow server times
Slow load times are completely inexcusable with professional sites. They are an invitation to the visitor to leave right away. Online shoppers, on average, will wait only about four seconds for a site to load before they click away. Shrink your images or check for special add-ons, like a Flash introduction, and make sure they aren’t slowing things down.
6. Outdated information
There’s no excuse, but it’s amazing how many sites have old, outdated content. Keep your site fresh and updated daily. You can not afford the loss of credibility that comes from having dated content. And, make sure your content is accurate. If you should find a single error, then fix it.
7. Poor navigation
If web surfers can’t figure out where to go next, quickly, and get there easily, they will simply surf on to the next website, and possibly your competitor’s. It’s frustrating to be forced to go back two or three pages to get to other areas of a website, and it’s also a waste of time. Put a navigation bar on every page, and position it along the top of the page or along the left side so it’s always visible regardless of screen resolution.
8. Too many font styles or colors
Your pages should present a unified, consistent look. Use two or three fonts and colors per page and no more. The idea is to reassure viewers of your solidity and stability, and not to convince them you’re artistic. And remember to make sure your font and colors look good on all possible devices, from desktops to mobile devices.
9. Orphaned pages
Every page in your site needs a readily seen link back to the home page. Sometimes users will forward a URL to friends, and they may visit and want more information. If the page they get to is a dead end, forget it. Always put a link to “Home” on every page.
10. Failure to link with social network sites
Most businesses now have their own Facebook pages, while others may use Pinterest with a lot of photos, while others may broadcast their activities on Twitter. Social media is here to stay, and businesses will benefit from having a presence in it. But using social media to market your business and drive customers to your website will only work if you make it easy for users to move from one to the other. The KEY is that if it’s done right, you can drive a lot more traffic to your site.
Devin Thomson is 21 years old blogger and providing marketing services at Key Difference. He mostly spends his time working here. On his free time he likes hanging out with friends. If you would like to reach him send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org