Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: UK Baby!!!
|Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 8:38 pm Post subject: Top 10 mistakes in website design
While doing my researching on e-commerce implementation and building I came across a few interesting items.
You might wanna review your websites to meet this so-called standard, thats if u can be bothered.
Top 10 Mistakes of E-Commerce Sites:
How can your web site make money? Start by avoiding these all-too-common mistakes...it is amazing how many small business sites are guilty of several of these online sales killers:
· Lack of Focus - Do you have a clear picture of your web site goals? Your Unique Selling Proposition? Is your site built to target your niche market?
· Lack of Promotion - You cannot simply open your site and expect a flood of traffic. "Build it and they will come" was a lie...you've got to let everyone know your site exists.
· Obstacles to Shopping - The single biggest mistake you can make...if your web site design prevents visitors from easily becoming customers, you are doomed. Period.
· Spam - Don't buy untargeted lists with of millions of private e-mails. Don't use e-mail harvesting software. Target your own opt-in customers or people who really need your products or services...your reputation depends on it.
· Dynamically Generated Sites - Search engines cannot read dynamically generated pages, and search engines are one of your best marketing tools. If you must use a dynamic site, supplement it with normal HTML pages.
· Slow Sites - Fancy and large graphics slow down sites. Research shows again and again this simple truth: Your page had better download in less than 10 seconds, or 95% of your visitors will leave. And never return.
· Amateurish Appearance - Trying to save money by doing your own web site just loses you money, and costs your reputation as a serious business. Your business cards and brochures probably have no spelling errors and are professionally printed...why have a web site that detracts from that image?
· Regular Retail Prices - Selling on a low-overhead web site is cheaper, so why not charge less? Security is no longer the main issue that stops people from buying on the web, it is price and convenience.
· Bad Domain Name - Your domain name is your online image. Keep it short, simple, and focused on your business name and how people might search for your product or services. By the way, long URLs like www.yourisp.com/~yourcompanyname do not work. Domain names are very inexpensive now...get your own, not your ISP's.
· Your Own Web Server - It's expensive and you will always be answering your pager. Let someone else manage the hardware and focus on your business.
Top 10 Mistakes of Web Design:
Based on Jakob Nielsen's original usability research from 1996 and updated with our own recent research findings, here are the top things that chase away users from your web site.
· Using Frames - Frames were a so-so idea for lazy web designers that didn't work. They make for bad navigation and search engines won't read framed sites.
· Over-use of Bleeding-Edge Technology - Remember that you need to program your site for the masses, not the techno-nerds.
· Animation Over-Kill - Page elements that constantly move tend to assault a user's peripheral vision. People will actually click off such a page just to get some visual peace and quiet.
· Too Complex (or too simple) URL's - Users often try to understand navigation by reading the address of pages. URL's should have easily understandable directory and filenames that reflect the nature of the navigation design.
· Orphan Pages - Keep your look consistent on every page...users don't always enter your site on the home page, so they should immediately know where they are. Always have a link back to your home page!
· Long Scrolling Pages - Only 10% of users scroll past the first page. Keep the good stuff and the critical navigation "above the fold." One page web sites that scroll forever are especially annoying.
· Poor Navigation Structure - Set your site up logically, from the typical user's perspective. Provide them with obvious navigation links that fit the logical structure. If users get lost, they leave.
· Non-Standard Link Colors - The web has adopted a standard set of colors for links that are new (blue) and ones that are visited (purple or red). Users have been trained to understand that, so keep your site consistent.
· Outdated Information - Nothing upsets a user quite as much as finding old prices or out-of-date calendar information on your site. Budget to keep it up to date.
· Long Download Times - Research shows absolutely unequivocally that 95% of new users will leave if your site takes longer than 10 seconds to download. The fastest way to lose new users is to have a big beautiful graphic or Flash movie on a "splash" page that has no useful information or navigation on it. Period.
Top 10 Mistakes of Web Site Management:
Designing a web site for usability and creating good content are just two facets of creating a successful small business web site. Another, perhaps more important part is the overall management of your site. Here are some classic mistakes:
· Not Having Focus - Why does your web site exist? Do you have a concrete plan for what to achieve with the site? Or does it exist simply because "everybody else has one?"
· Designing For Your Upper Management - Remember that your customers are your audience, not your executives. Sadly, most web designers sell themselves to the executives with their ability to implement lots of graphics and interactive bells and whistles: but nobody ever considers whether the customer can actually find and use the site successfully.
· Not Having a "Task" Navigation Structure - Related to the previous mistake, many sites are built to mirror the organizational structure of the company. Remember, it is the user's tasks that must drive the structure of the site.
· Outsourcing To Multiple Design Agencies - Your site will look like a patchwork quilt, because every designer has a different approach. Settle on one good one, then stick with them.
· Not Budgeting For Ongoing Maintenance - Sadly, there are tons of "build 'em and leave 'em" web sites out there, where the designer dumps it in your lap and then you have to maintain it. An out-of-date or broken web site will cost you business: you have to support and maintain it on a regular basis.
· Treating Your Site As Secondary Medium - The web is a whole new advertising medium, so take the time to develop proper content. For example, don't just slap your printed brochure up on the web...print materials are typically much too wordy and difficult to read on-screen.
· Wasting Linking Opportunities - It is important to have your homepage URL listed on all your basic marketing materials and in a signature file in your e-mails. However, if you have special advertisements, be sure to have links listed that go directly to matching special pages on your site. Don't just link everything to your home page and force the visitor to navigate the maze to find out about the special.
· Confusing Market Research with Usability Engineering - A focus group can tell you great things about how customers view a product and why & how they buy it. A focus group cannot tell you how people navigate the web...don't confuse the two! Supplement your marketing research with good site design and usability...make it EASY for your online customers to accomplish their tasks.
· Underestimating the Strategic Impact of the Web - The classic mistake is to treat the web as simply an online brochure. That may be a good starting point for a small business, but don't let the opportunity go to waste. Plan for the future and meet it head on, don't hide from it!