Posted Thursday, September 30, 2004
After reviewing thousands of web sites over the past couple of years for my Exceptional Sites Award, I have come to the conclusion that many business web sites are missing the boat.
For example; I've been working on some offline promotions and was searching for a simple targeted mailing list. I searched through about twenty sites and not one of those sites were, what I would consider, professional. Their standard blue links were enlarged to about a size 16 font, busy backgrounds, flashing images and very unorganized.
Did I purchase a mailing list from any of those sites? Absolutely not. Why? The way I see it, if those companies don't take pride in their web sites, chances are, they won't take pride in their products either. Large linked text and flashing graphics won't make sales.
Your web site is a direct reflection of you and your business. The appearance of your site is the most important factor in determining your sites value. In other words, if your site doesn't look professional or pleasing to the eyes at first glance, its perceived value and the value of your products and services will be low.
On the other hand, you may have a great web site, well designed and a quality product or service, but if it takes too long to load, the value will still be perceived as low. Why? Because your potential customer won't wait. Ultimately costing you business.
Another consideration of great importance is your content. Not just links, but content with value. When someone is surfing the net and they visit your web site, they're visiting for a reason. Your site has something they want. Whether it is your product, service or information, that's why they're there. If they don't find what they're looking for, they move on to the next site and so on. If you want your visitors to stay at your site, provide the quality content they're looking for in a nicely organized fashion. Give them a reason to want to explore your site and to continue to visit your site in the future.
After receiving many questions, in regard to web site design, from my visitors who weren't selected to receive an award, I have devised a list of what I refer to as "35 Deadly Web Site Sins".
- Poor load time
- Poor overall appearance
- No contact information
- Poor content
- Poor navigation
- Broken links and graphics
- Poor browser compatibility
- Large slow loading graphics
- Too many graphics
- Pages scrolling to oblivion
- Multiple use of animated graphics
- Animated bullets
- Too many graphic and/or line dividers
- Busy, distracting backgrounds
- Multiple banners and buttons
- Poor use of frames
- Large fonts
- Pop up messages
- Over use of java
- Poor use of tables
- Poor organization
- Different backgrounds on each page
- Over powering music set to autoplay
- Too much advertising
- Large Welcome banners
- Multiple colored text
- Text difficult to read
- No Meta tags
- Multiple use of different fonts
- Under construction signs
- Scrolling text in the status bar
- Large scrolling text across the page
- Poor use of mouse over effects
Take some time to really look at your site. Compare it to sites that you feel look professional. Time your sites load time. Your customers won't wait. Their time is valuable.
The simple, well designed sites make the sales. If your sales aren't what you had hoped , take some time to seriously evaluate your site and make some changes before spending your time and money on advertising and marketing. You may be pleasantly surprised.
About the Author
Shelley Lowery is the Webmistress of Web Source - Your Guide to Professional Website Design and Development. Join The Syndicator, our new, free article syndication program and display complete articles w/photographs on your website that are automatically updated each week. (http://www.web-source.net)