What Not to Do When Designing a Website

Creating a website isn’t as easy as you might think.  Even a small mistake in planning can dramatically decrease your success and can drive away traffic at an alarming rate.  Most of the advice you read on the Internet is about how to design a good site but it seems just as important to know what not to do.

Here are some tactics you’ll want to avoid.

#1 – Don’t Use Hard to Read Text

how to design a websiteThe whole purpose of your website is to provide information to readers.  If those readers arrive at your site but have to struggle to read your text, they won’t stick around for long.

We’ve all seen websites where someone wanted to be creative by using a swirly script or thought it would be a great idea to put red font on a yellow background or something like that.  Even if you think those elements look great on your screen, don’t rely on what you see on your computer to tell you what other people will see when they reach your site.

Make sure you also stick to common fonts, such as Times New Roman, Courier, and Arial.

#2 – Don’t Assume Your Visitors are Using IE

IE is Internet Explorer.  Once upon a time, Internet Explorer dominated the browser market by controlling a whopping 95%.  That’s all changing.  Today, more users are switching to IE alternatives, such as Firefox and Opera.

Why does that matter to you? Well, different browsers might display your web site differently.  Other browsers might not display your site at all!  If you only make sure your site is working correctly on one type of browser, then you could be alienating millions of potential customers or visitors.

Make sure you test your site on as many browsers as possible.

#3 – Don’t Use Pop Ups

Pop ups might seem like a great way to send advertising messages at your visitors or to encourage them to sign up for your free newsletter before they go but pop ups are really just a waste of time and energy.

For one, most browsers come up with pop up blockers so your visitors will never see the window.  If they do see the window, they will undoubtedly find it annoying and will make a note not to return to your site.  The worst case scenario is the pop up will make them feel vulnerable to spyware, viruses, or privacy invasions.

The bottom line is there is never a good reason to use pop ups on your website.

#4 – Don’t Increase Load Times

When someone reaches your website, they have to wait for your pages to be visible in their browser.  This, of course, is known as load time.  Load time is influenced by some factors you can’t control, such as the type of Internet connection being used by a visitor to your site.

However, you do have a great deal of influence over other factors.  For example, Flash can be fun and creative on a site but it will slow down the load time even on a high speed connection. If your visitor is still using dial-up then it will take minutes longer for your page to load.  Chances are they won’t be there when it finally does.

Remember to keep things simple.  Avoid Flash and don’t bog your site down with a lot of graphics.  The goal is for the site to load quickly.

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