Robelen Bajar from Melbourne IT provides eight examples of web design disaster how businesses can make a successful website.
When I’m in the market for a new phone, pen, bag, cosmetics, yoga teacher, even a dentist, I Google it. I check a couple of websites, compare prices where I can and either buy online, pick up the phone or visit the nearest store. So it’s a pity when I come across websites that are poorly designed, have dated information and make my online shopping experience time-consuming.
1. It’s all about you
Content should always be developed with customers in mind, in a language they understand. It is easy to fall into the trap of writing content that is full of jargon and littered with corporate speak. Or worse, it’s all about you and how good you are. Writing needs to be simple, persuasive and engaging. Abandon corporate speak and strip your message down to plain English.
2. It’s a once-off project
A website should be seen as a sales channel that needs proper management, constant maintenance and vigilant monitoring. Even if you don’t physically sell anything on your website. Research shows that people tend to look up a website before they pick up the phone or visit a store. Your site therefore has the critical job of convincing prospects or customers to shortlist you as they make an important purchase decision, even before you see or speak to them.
3. It ignores search engines
Search engines operate in a text-based world. When search engine “spiders” (these are robots sent by search engines to your site) drop by to read the content of a website, they look at text. Make sure yours has plenty of it. Headings, titles and body copy should contain keywords that are relevant and consistent with the overall website theme. More importantly, content should be unique, not borrowed or copied from other websites.
4. Your web address is hard to say, remember or spell
There is nothing worse than coming up with a web address nobody can spell. It’s best to avoid words that require consulting a dictionary. If you have a generic name, try to avoid double vowels or consonants (eg. homeentertainment or weddinggarden). Hyphenated names (eg. business-cards) can also be problematic because people tend to forget the hyphen. However, if you must use a name that is potentially problematic, it is a good idea to register different variations including the most common typos and point traffic to your main website.
5. It gives people a headache
Maddening motion, long blocks of text, wrong colour scheme, inconsistent look and feel, poor navigation and slow page downloads all contribute to poor website experience and should therefore be avoided. It is worth consulting with a web or graphic designer before embarking on a web design project.
6. ‘Click here’ is everywhere
If you always use ‘click here’ to entice users to follow a desired path through your website, your message is probably not clear enough. People will follow hypertext links if they feel it will take them where they need or want to go.
More importantly, hypertext links are like doors with name plates that tell everyone what’s inside. Instead of using ‘click here,’ why not use keywords that explain what users and search engines will find if they enter via the link?
7. You ask too little or too many questions
If you use a contact form, make sure it is simple and require minimum input from visitors. However, don’t ask too little personal data you don’t have meaningful customer information or too much you’ll scare people away.
8. You pay someone $120 /hr to make small changes
It is no longer necessary to spend thousands of dollars on building a website, let alone maintaining one. If you are in the market for a redesign, opt for a website with a content management system. You’ll be able to easily update web content (product information, pricing, images, etc) at any time with a click of a button.