Although it is 2011, and technology has advanced with huge leaps and bounds since its birth in the 90’s, it is still common to find some really bad sites on the web. The importance of a solid and reputable web presence is continuously growing, and a bad website can be a death sentence for your business. Of course, most common web design mistakes can easily be avoided in the planning phase of design, so here is a guide to some frequent mistakes that can be detrimental to a website.
Avoid flash websites. Flash is a program built by Macromedia, now owned by Adobe, that adds animation, graphics, video and sound to websites. As cool as they may look, flash websites are nearly impossible to rank in a search engine, since all of the data on the site is held within a single shockwave file instead of text or code. And unfortunately, Google spiders don’t read shockwave.
As with the rest of the site, avoid using pictures and media that are not optimized for internet. This includes hi-res photos. As beautiful as they may be, a high res photo can be as big as 3-5 megabytes, slowing down the loading time and taking up the bandwidth of your visitors. Before you add any pictures to your website, lower the file size in a photo editing software like Photoshop in order to speed up loading time.
No Style Sheet
A Cascading Style Sheet, commonly referred to as CSS, allows scripts of code to style an entire web page through the attached style sheet, as opposed to individually formatting every line of code. CSS was introduced with HTML 4, in 1997, and has revolutionized websites ever since. CSS really allows easy and simple formatting changes, including the ability to change font style, size, and background color in an instant. When designing a website, be sure you are coding in html4, and stay away from any template or editor that does not include CSS, unless you want to look like your page was built pre-1997.
Choosing a Bad Domain Name
First of all, choosing a domain name should not be the first decision in planning a website. A sites purpose, content, and audience all impact the decision on what to register as the domain, so approach this decision carefully after significant planning and research. Don’t choose something just because it’s cute or because it has your company name somewhere in it. A domain name should match the keywords in your site.
Consider what it is that you are actually doing with your site. Are you advertising a service or selling a specific product? If so, consider using the product name itself, or another domain with keywords based on your particular product or service. If possible, avoid using hyphenated domain names, and use a name that is as specific as possible. A domain name should make sense with your website and really cash in on the branding power of a good domain name.
Free Templates / Non Functional Design
Free templates for website design are everywhere, and a good free template may be a great starting point for designing a website, but always consider the functionality of the template before deciding on a design. Different layouts exist for different reasons, so recognize that just because you like the way it looks doesn’t mean it is right for your specific needs. Don’t compromise your content by shoving it into a template that is designed to serve another purpose.
If you are considering hiring a design firm to help build a website, consider hiring one that only builds custom templates, like we do at TheeDigital. We build every template from scratch to meet the need of our individual clients. Again, consider the purpose, goal and audience of your site and only settle for a template that has a visitor’s interest in mind.
Avoid plagiarism and do not use copyrighted material on your site. Even though it may not seem like it, everything written online on a website is copyrighted to that individual. Using material from someone else’s site can get you in big trouble. If you are interested in featuring images or content from another’s site, contact the owner or webmaster to gain permission to use the content before adding it to your webpage. Pay attention to the specific rules for each site, to see how they address the copyrighted material. There are many places to gain free articles and photos for your site, so search these out if you are looking for resources without consequences.
These mistakes are common, yet also easily avoided in the planning process of your
website development. If you are looking for a firm to help in this process and create a custom individualized site to bring concrete results, consult our web design specialists at TheeDigital. We can be reached at 919-341-8901, or fill out our contact form and our web design team will be in touch.