Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Developing the Perfect Website

We’ve all had those terrible experiences with a website that leaves much to be desired. However, some sites take it to the extreme. Like any industry, web design and online marketing has evolved since it’s early days. It’s 2013. Let’s get with the program, folks. I’ve asked a few people (non-designers/developers), researched others opinion, and thought about what I passionately hate about a website. Read the list below and remember to never commit one of these web sins.

  1. Lose the user on the first page. One old adage says “Keep it simple stupid.” In most cases, design should follow this rule. One of the biggest frustrations for a user is landing on a website and not have a clue what it is for. It should be apparent as to what the company, message, or purpose of the website is within the first twenty seconds. According to Statistic Brain, the average attention span was 8 seconds in 2012. Just like a speech or a resume, it’s important to grab attention and deliver quickly. Don’t confuse the user. Place emphasis on the user interface (UI) design and great content. Like I learned at Hubspot’s Inbound 2012, “If content is king, context is God.”
  2. Slow loading web pages. As mentioned above, people have a short attention span. If he or she is waiting on a website to load, the chances of losing the visitor greatly increases. Consider the amount of information that is generated every second on the web. No one is going to wait on your slow website to load. This translates to a higher bounce rate, less traffic, and lower conversions. You ask, “How do I avoid this?” Well, there’s a few items to focus on. This includes relying on less graphics when possible and make use of CSS as much as possible. Semantic HTML, removal of bloated code (be wary of auto-generated code from Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc.) frameworks, and modern Content Management Systems with appropriate plug ins. There are many other ways on increasing load time which I plan to cover in a future post. Waiting for a website to load is annoying. Period.
  3. Ugly design. The design of a website is important. Sometimes us humans are quite superficial. We judge a book by its cover. Don’t make the mistake of having an amateur looking website. Have a professional design your website. Contact me today and we can discuss your needs.
  4. Functionality issues. Dead links, server errors, and browser compatibility should always be tested before going live. There are tools that allow a webmaster to check for errors and other compatibility issues. I suggest installing a user agent and signing up for Google’s Webmaster Tools.
  5. Intrusive pop ups. If a user wants to click, they will. Bombarding a user with pop ups is a sure fire way to lose the visitor. Personally, I feel like I lose control when a pop up overrides my screen. 99.9% of the time I click the “X” to close a pop up. What’s even worse is when the close button is not easily visible or located in the top right of the modal window.

What’s your biggest pet peeve when browsing online? Comment below.

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