As a web designer, I get to see my fair share of great, okay, and poor web sites each and every day. While everyone will have their own opinion on what makes a good web site, I thought that Iíd walk through the top 10 traits of a bad web site, one that in the long term will hurt a business more than it will help a business.
Iíll count these down from # 10 and arrive at my #1 sin for web sites. Make sure to avoid these ten items and youíll be on your way to success with your web site.
10. Flash Intro Page:
Okay, Iím not sure why so many companies feel that these are great ideas for their web site. I cannot name the number of times that Iíve found such a site, and tried to find the ďskip introĒ link on the page. The only thing more frustrating than a flash introduction is one that you canít skip. These items take up bandwidth, and studies have shown no one actually watches them. Save us all some headache and skip this. If you want to have a flash company introduction, offer it as a link somewhere deeper in your web site.
9. Large Image Files:
Yes pictures are pretty, and they help tell a story, but they are not the foundation of a great web site, even if you are a photographer. Users today can be on a variety of services, perhaps they are on broadband, then lots of photos isnít bad. Or they might be on dialup still, then your web site wonít load quickly enough, and theyíll go somewhere else. I read recently you have 4-5 seconds to make your impression or the visitor will be off to another web site. Finally, the user could be accessing your site from a PDA or Cell Phone and if that is the case, your site may be completely unable to function within the device. Any of these users will not be back if your site takes too long to load, and doesnít have the information they are looking for at their fingertips.
8. Fade In / Fade Out on Page Changes:
Okay, I thought the design community would see this feature as one that shouldnít have been used in a public setting, but even today, I still see sites that fade between page changes. This takes time, and really is simply a useless gimic that some web designers use to make a web site more ďattractiveĒ. Business owners, if your web site does this, it doesnít help, it hurts, and it doesnít make you look professional. Please stop.
7. Bad Site Navigation:
People visit your web site for one thing. To get information. Thatís it. Nothing else. Build navigation links that will make sense to visitors, especially those that may not know the hot terms for your business. Site navigation should be easy to find, always located in the same spot on the page, be text based if possible, and be clear. Your site isnít better because someone visits 10 pages before finding the info they want, it is simply more frustrating. Make everyoneís lives easier, make your navigation a major piece of the site, and put some real thought into how itís laid out.
6. Broken Scripts:
5. No Solid Content:
This is actually one of my bigger issues with web sites, but unfortunately I could only place it at number 5 on the list. Iíll give you an example. I am currently in the process of looking for a new home. I did a search for ďHome ValuesĒ and visited a site. What I got was a web site that discussed markets in each state, on one page. No real deep meaningful content. But it was filled with ďadsĒ (weíre getting to that one) and it was well ranked in the search engines. Amazing in my eyes. If you are going to have a web site. Try and ensure that you are going to provide lots of good information, and that youíll do everything you can to keep that information current.
4. Ads vs. Content:
I cannot explain how bad this is for web sites. Iím seeing this more and more frequently, web designers, business professionals linking ads on their web sites. Iím not sure what a person can be thinking in regards to placing ads from Google or Yahoo on their site where they are selling their services. I know I might step on some toes here, but if your web site cannot make money without plastering ads all over the place, well, it might be time to find a new business. Now, Iím strictly discussing service professionals here. Real Estate Agents, Web Designers, Accountants, Lawyers any type of business that isnít in business to sell ads, such as a newspaper, or similar site, it is really quite tacky if you have Google Ads plastered on your home page right below your company logo.
3. Random Link Pages:
While I understand the importance of In-Bound-Links to SEO, I do not get why companies must feel that a good link exchange with every web site in the world is of any value. I promise you that if you are a florist, and you have links to a Harley Davidson dealership, a barbershop, an accountant and an amusement park on your site, you donít get the point of linking. Please donít link to any site, unless it is going to be a value to your visitors, and it is actually something related to your business.
2. Bookmark My Site Buttons:
Love these, I really do. Because, people canít find the Bookmark button on their own, your site is so good you need to tell me, so I can remember to bookmark your site. Computers and the internet have been around for a bit now, bookmarks are used by lots of people. However, using up valuable real estate on your web site to promote such things is a waste of space for the limited return youíll see for your efforts.
1. Innaccessible Site:
This is a big topic for me, especially as I learn more and more about the subject of Web Accessibility. If your site cannot be visited by a blind person, and easily understood, then youíre making a grave mistake. Youíre probably unsure of your siteís status when it comes to web accessibility, however work with a local professional, and theyíll help you get your site viewable by all that visit.
Hopefully some of these things will help you make a better web experience for your visitors and your customers.