Website Design Mistakes
by Sally Strackbein
- Web Mistake: Misuse of Graphics
Pictures are lovely, but search engines don't index pictures. People can read beautiful words drawn in a picture, but
search engines can't. An effective website has large size text describing the focus of the website.
We had a difficult time finding Sally Jessy Raphael's page, www.SallyJr.com. Her site is
visually attractive, but it didn't say, "Sally Jessy Raphael" in text on the page and some search engines did not index her by her name. I discovered her problem when one of her viewers
emailed me, because they couldn't find her site either. My site, www.SallysKitchen.com was easy to find.
I wrote to Sally Jessy's web
designers and told them the story. Now, you can find her site in search engines.
- Web Mistake: No Title or Poor Title Choice
The title of the website is the line that appears at the very top left bar of your visitors' browser
windows. It is a mistake to have a title that says, "Home", "No Title", or "Welcome to www.SomeDomain.com." The title of a website page should be a brief description of
the page, using a key phrase or two.
Some search engines use the title of the website page and its description in the list of sites they present. Imagine these 2 sites. Assuming you are
looking for recipes, and the search engine lists these two, which would you click on?
1) Home: Your browser does not support frames
2) Recipes, Food Tips, Rice Cooker Cooking.
Cooking together to build family relationships. Recipes for quick and easy meals.
- Web Mistake: Poor Navigation
It doesn't matter how great your content is if no one can find it. Buttons and links must be unambiguous and located
where people expect to find them. The sections of the site must make sense to visitors. Before you launch your site, have several people sit down and try to find their way around your site.
If it takes more than a couple of clicks to find what they want, visitors may click off.
- Web Mistake: Dark Background - Light Type
Use dark type on light backgrounds. People have a difficult time reading light colored type on a dark page.
Also, when people like your site, they want to print out your contact information or an article. Some color printers print light type on a white page making it unreadable, disappointing visitors who
want to print and file your information.
- Web Mistake: Small Type or Fixed Type
Use medium size type that can be resized by the visitor. The browser "View" menu usually has a text
or font resize option. Web designers can specify type that can be enlarged by visitors with vision problems. This becomes increasingly important when targeting an audience over 30 years old.
- Web Mistake: Pages Designed for Large Screens
Many visitors still use small computer screens that show only a fraction of what a large screen will
show. Pages designed for large screens look chopped off when displayed on most screens. Look at your site on all common screens sizes.
- Web Mistake: Poor Use of Frames
Do not use frames unless you have an exceptionally complicated site. Frames are annoying when your visitors want to
bookmark a good article. Visitors get lost in frames and cannot find their way back to a page they liked.
- Web Mistake: No Content
This is the worst website mistake. Visitors and search engines need content (information) to rate your site's value. Search
engines cannot index articles that are not on your site.
To visitors and search engines:
NO CONTENT = ZERO VALUE
Give away information. Let your visitors taste your
wares. Ask for feedback or let them subscribe to an ezine after you have earned their trust. Don't expect them to give you their email addresses before they can read your articles
- Web Mistake: Wasting People's Time
Don't make them click an extra time just to get in the front door of your site. Don't make them sit though 30
seconds of the word, "Loading," followed by swirling graphics and sound.
- Web Mistake: Poor Use of Audio and video.
Let people choose to see or hear you - don't launch sounds or video automatically. Your visitors may be
viewing your site in a shared office where unexpected sounds are not welcome. They may have slow Internet connections that takes forever to
- Web Mistake: Requiring Plug-ins to View Your Site
Don't expect your visitors to download extra software before they can see your site. They will see
a confusing screen that tells them to "Click Here to Download the Plug-In." Many will just click off to another site.
The only exception to this rule is for opt-in video and audio.
- Web Mistake: Not Checking to See How the Site Looks in Netscape, AOL or Macs.
When you use a browser other than Internet Explorer, it's not
unusual to see web pages that look weird. You may see blocks of color obscuring text, or text lines on top of each other.
Be sure that your site works in all common browsers.
copyright (c) Sally Strackbein.
Permission is granted to reprint this article in your newsletter or magazine with the following byline:
Sally Strackbein is a speaker and author.
To find out more about her programs and services,
or call 703-262-0361.
Because of the advice you gave me during our strategy session, my web site is now #1 on Google
--Ronald Kessler, New York Times bestselling author
If you have a website, or are considering a website, or think you don't even need a website, you
had better read this manual. This is the independent professional's doorway to greater visibility, greater impact and greater sales.
-- Alan Weiss, author of
"Million Dollar Consulting"