Do’s and Don’ts for Professional Websites

Posted on October 12, 2009

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


3 Replies to "Do's and Don'ts for Professional Websites"

  • Jason
    December 6, 2009 (7:26 am)
    Reply

    A nice run down of the basics Tony. I especially like the live chat tip.

    Do you know any system you can recommend? I tried plugoo.com but it is too basic for my clients.

    Thanks for the article.
    .-= Jason´s last blog ..On Site SEO Explained =-.

  • Mathew
    October 6, 2010 (9:20 am)
    Reply

    Tony, really appreciated the article and information. I agree with Jason – adding the touch about a live chat session was good and is not normally talked about when adding customer value and interactivity to a web site. Thanks.

    Jason, Just read your comment about which live chat service is good – I can’t recommend all of them but I have had great success with CraftySyntax. It was easy to setup and offers a lot of specialized features. It also usually comes bundled with a hosting service that provides cPanel administration and Fantastico. Just thought that might help.

    Once again – thanks Tony

  • Sidney Peck
    June 2, 2012 (11:45 pm)
    Reply

    Since I am about to redo my website, I was naturally curious to learn your thoughts on how to be most effective. Tomorrow I am deleting the page counter. I was fortunate to get great coverage on all search engines. No idea how really.

    On an another note, I need to replace an iWeb website with a Word Press site before iWeb goes capooey. Any thoughts? Have to do it myself. Ugh.


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