Featured: Common Mistakes When Building a Website

When building a bespoke website your aim should always be to provide your visitors with a user-friendly experience. Establish what your users are looking for, what questions they have and how you can deliver value through a practical and accessible site.how-to-start-a-website

Beware of committing the follow common blunders.

No search box
A search function is essential to any website – if your users can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll go elsewhere.

Poor readability
Avoid out-there font styles and incompatible colour schemes and instead focus on providing an eye-catching interface and you’ll capture and keep your users’ attention.

Ineffective navigation
Web users should be able to navigate their way seamlessly around your site. Organise and structure your navigation in an intuitive and consistent manner. If users can’t find what they’re looking for in less than three clicks, they’ll leave your site. Search Engine Optimisation relies on concise navigation so it’s crucial that you get it right.

Disorganised, irrelevant content
Content is key when it comes to driving traffic to a website. Users scan, rather than read information on the web, so make it easier for them to digest with headings, subheadings, bullets and keywords. Information should always be accurate, accessible, to the point and up to date.

Inconsistent interface design
Make sure the overall look and feel of your site is simple and consistent. Follow a standard format on every page and choose simple graphics to ensure your users can relate to and understand the interface.

Less is more: never try to cram as much as you can on your site. Include enough whitespace between text and images and use margins.

Over-use of images, animation and music
Images can capture user attention but they can also be an irritating distraction, so use sparingly. Animations are powerful when used appropriately, but Flash can be a bad idea.  The same functionality can often be achieved using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Believe it or not, your site doesn’t need a soundtrack. Multimedia should be made available but not compulsory.

Pop-up windows
Some of the web’s more infuriating inhabitants, pop-ups distract visitors away from useful content and undermine the perceived value of your site, so avoid at all costs.

Complex registration forms
Users are visiting your site to acquire information, not provide it. Keep forms short and uncomplicated and you’ll be more likely to attract new customers.

Drop-down menus
Users struggle with drop-down menus because they offer the brain more options than it can rapidly compute. Search engines can also find sites containing these menus more difficult to crawl.

Insufficient testing
Always conduct rigorous tests before your site goes live. Ensure that the design layout is consistent with all browsers and can be viewed in different environments and settings e.g. when JavaScript is turned off.

When building your website, always keep it simple and usable. Avoid the above mistakes and you will be sure to attract and retain traffic, making your site a pleasure for your visitors to use.

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