10 Ways to Design a Website That Repels Your Audience
It's obvious - competition for attention on the Internet is steep, stiff and shrewd. You've got to get people's attention to get them to buy or even sign up for your newsletter.
But, even if you have amazing products and services that make people weep with joy, when your website is annoying…your visitors will find somewhere else go faster than you can say "click."
Now, while you can't account for every individual's taste, there are several major (yet surprisingly common) mistakes that are guaranteed to upset almost every visitor to your website.
Which ones are you guilty of? Read on - and cross your fingers.
- Self-loading video and music. No professional website designer should ever let their customer do this, most importantly because people are often surfing websites in a quiet office or a public place. So a surprise blast of music or an unrequested voiceover can be both embarrassing and disrupting. Such an assault is infinitely more annoying if there's no sound control. Guaranteed: if your website does this, your visitors are closing the window as quickly as they can – and are never coming back.
- To many frills. Take a look at some of the highest-ranking, best-performing websites: Amazon, eBay, PayPal, and New York Times, for instance. You'll find that they are generally free from things that blink, scroll, make noise, move around, use every font in the library, or otherwise distract their visitors. A professional website design company can help you choose one or two solid options to attract attention. But otherwise, stay away from cute animations, untested widgets, and bulky extras.
- Long download times. Almost half of all web users expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. Besides being a menacing distraction, large graphics, fancy animations, and dozens of different fonts slow down your load times significantly. They also probably won't ever be seen because readers will become impatient and click away.
- Poor Color Choices. People expect to find links in blue text, and previously visited links in red or purple. Unless you have a blue, red, or purple background, don't mess with their expectations. While you're at it, choose a background color and text color that contrast well. Don't make your readers work too hard to read your content or they will move on. If you're not sure what works well, ask your website design team for help.
- Outdated information. No one wants to waste time poring over outdated material, if they did they would be at the library going through stacks of old books. People turn to the web for up-to-date information, be sure you're delivering it.
- HTML Frames. Frames are soooo 1999 - leave them there! Search can navigate through them, they're hard to bookmark, older browsers cannot use them, and forget even trying to print a page. A good website design studio can offer you better options that accomplish the same thing and deliver better results for your search engine marketing by overcoming these pitfalls.
- Click swapping. No one wants to click on a site and find out that they are stuck when they try to leave. Make sure your visitors can click out of your site as easily as they clicked in. If you use a redirect make sure you set the timer so the visitor has time to click out and return to the previous site.
- Poor navigation. Dead end pages, orphan pages, pages without proper navigation back to the home page. Readers should always know where they are and be able to return to home. Navigation bars and a way to identify (and preferably contact) your company, belong at the top (and bottom) of every page.
- Messy URLs. Not everyone is getting to your website by clicking, sometimes they still have to type in a URL. Little things like (~) are hard to type and even harder to remember. So keep your URLs short, sweet, and to the point.
- No contact information. Anyone doing business on the web should have an easy to find email address, phone number, and Contact Us form on their website. Make sure your website design team is including all three and that they are all in plain sight. Again, don't make it difficult for the customer or they will move on.
Oh and one last thing: Don't resize my browser window.