Now that most people are familiar with the Internet and many businesses are building an online presence, the line between professional website design and the work of an amateur is becoming more distinct. There are several mistakes that people new to web design tend to make that can be easily avoided for a more professional look.
Do make your web page titles clear. This is the text that appears in the title bar at the top of the browser window and in search engine results. Viewers use titles as a clue to your website’s content and to orient themselves within your website.
Don’t use page counters. Page counters only tell your visitors information you probably don’t want them to know. Detailed statistics on the visitors to your website can be provided by your web host, without the amateur look and false readings that can be given by embedded page counters.
Do offer “live chat” services for technical/customer support. This depends on the nature of your website, but if appropriate, offering contact with a live person for any technical- or customer service-related questions can make your company feel more approachable to your visitors. If 24-hour support is not available, be sure to put operating hours on your website and stick to them.
Don’t try to fool the search engines. A well-known tactic to try and improve keyword rankings was to put hundreds of keywords on the website in “invisible” text—text formatted to be the same color as the background. Although tricks like this one never worked well, search engines have become much more sophisticated in the last few years. Attempts to fool the search engines into higher page rankings may result in your website being blacklisted.
Do keep Flash media to a minimum. While over 99% of computer users are capable of viewing Flash movies (as of 2002 according to International Data Corporation Online User Forecast), the ‘skip intro’ button is the 2nd most-clicked button on the web. Consider smaller Flash movies incorporated into the website rather than a long site intro.
Don’t use “Under Construction” pages. If the page isn’t ready, don’t link to it. If your page has ready content but is still being updated, consider posting an “Updated On” date or an icon by the link that symbolizes new or updated content.
Do keep a theme throughout the site. Having your company logo and the same navigation on each page lets your visitor know he is still at the same website.
- Tony Darrick Baker & K. L. Russell