It’s amazing to see so many websites out there that have so many basic no-nos done on their website. The worse part is I’m sure they paid for those as well. So here are some things you really shouldn’t have on your website.
1. Automatic Sound / Music
I’ve had many clients who want to add music to their website as it loads. No, stop, don’t do that! it’s annoying for people who visit your website. Imagine you were visiting a website from your office, coffee shop or any public area for that matter, as soon you click on this website, there’s loud music playing. You are now frantically looking for the mute button on your computer. Usually this is the time you tend to forget where the mute button is in the first place. Some might even just close off the website as soon as it starts with the audio.
Having sound it great on a website, but there’s a time and place for everything right? So just avoid those auto play videos or music that loads on launch of website. Instead give visitors the option to have sound or not. This way you wouldn’t lose your visitor before they even get to know who you are.
If you really really must have sound on load, make sure you have a ‘mute’ or ‘turn off sound’ button prominently displayed.
2. Splash Pages
As splash page is a welcome or entry page that loads before the actual home page of a website. I must admit I have seen a decline of these (thankfully). But for people who are still thinking this is a good idea, no, it’s NOT! These so called ‘splash pages’ are really more like a splashy annoying road blocks for your website visitors. These valuable visitors would have most times already opted to click on your website link choosing from your competitors, so why do you need to ask them again whether they really want to ‘enter’ your website. Doesn’t it get them thinking ‘Do I really want to? hmm may be not. Let me go check another website’.
What would you think if it’s a splash page with music on? NOT FUN!
Pop, pop, pop. Have you not had these windows popping up with ads when you visit a website. I even hate the pop up that Trip Advisor has with airfares when I’m just looking at an attraction. Website visitors need to see your website not have pop-ups thrown at them. Some smart ones or let’s the people who are really frustrated with pop-ups have installed Pop-up blockers.
If you must use pop-ups make it for a good reason. May be to get an email address just before the visitor leaves the website or after spending a few minutes on the website. NOT as a welcome pop pop pop.
4. Background Images
Bit controversial as there’s a new trend in using large hero images and as backgrounds to have great effect. If it’s not done tastefully, these end up looking very amateurish. The main issue I have with these background images is that it’s most times not designed to fit different resolutions. So it ends up being broken up at the end, losing the intended effect. Clean and simple does wonders for a website. It will also help with your website load speed. If you must have a design with background images, make sure you test it for different resolutions and various devices.
5. No Navigation
You would think this is something obvious to have but I have seen so many websites that don’t have a navigation bar. I can’t stress how important navigation is for your website visitor. How are they going to look through the website if they can’t find where things are? Give them a road map with an option to get back home too.
Have a consistent navigation bar prominently on the top or even the on the left, just make sure you have one. Again, keep it clean and simple, don’t stuff with all your pages. Just the important pages, you can always have sub menus. It’s advisable to have some links to the main sections on the bottom footer area as well. This is especially helpful for pages with long content and needs scrolling. You could also have a static top menu that stays on top even when you scroll to the bottom of the page.
6. Click and Scroll
Don’t lose your visitors by making them just through all this loops to become your customer. Keep clicks to a minimal and limit unnecessary long content on a page that will require scrolling down to no extent to find the ‘purchase’ button. Give what your website visitors want in a clean and concise way.
7. Huge Images
I know you have great images you want to showcase, but make sure to optimize these images for fast download. It get’s frustrating for a visitor when they keep waiting for images to download, sometimes not even knowing what they are. Make sure to have ‘alt’ and ‘title’ tags for all your images which will help your visitors to know what each image is about. It will also help you get better search engine rankings. In general, people don’t like to wait for things, so don’t think your website is the exception they make. Compress those images but don’t go crazy and lose the quality. You need to find that fine line.
8. Animated Banner Ads
I’m really against having irrelevant ads on your website. Especially animated banner ads or video ads that start on mouse over. These are annoying and take the focus out of your website. Also, don’t have ad spaces all over your website, that it will end up looking like a classified ad section in the end. Yes, I have seen many sites that have animated banner ads on top, sidebar, footer, in the content etc. If you do want to have ad spaces, may be have one or two and make them simple static ads that don’t distract the visitor from the most important thing, your content.
9. Outdated Information
Nothing says ‘you don’t care’ as much as having old content on your website. News and events from a few years ago shown as ‘what’s new’ or ‘upcoming events’ makes it quite obvious that nobody really cares what’s on this website. It says a lot about your company to a potential customer, that this company doesn’t stay current and probably doesn’t care about anything. There was a time when website maintenance was expensive and you had to pay an expert to update your website. But these days, most websites will have a ‘Content Management System’ simple knows as CMS, that will let anyone, I mean anyone who can basically type on a computer update a website. So no excuses, keep your website up-to-date.
10. Spammy Blog Comments
If you have a blog or even have a blog as part of your website, make sure you moderate ALL comments. Install spam filtering software that will help weed out those crazy comments from your blog. Set it so that all comments will need to be moderated before publishing. This way, you won’t have one of those weird blogs with hundreds of comments about weight loss programs and you know what links.
11. Badly Written Content
When you publish something for the world to see, make sure it’s written well with proper grammar usage, good punctuation and correct spelling. Keep the writing style to an easy to understand, clean and concise manner that will instill confidence in the business. Avoid technical jargon, you can always give more information to a specific client who wants to know all the technical stuff. make sure your text is large enough for most people to read. If you have text in a background color, make it contrast well so it’s clear. Have you heard CAPS are for SHOUTING. Don’t shout at your potential customers, make it bold or use a different color if it’s something important that needs focus. Underlining is mainly for links and use CAPS and exclamation points only where necessary.
12. Links to External Content
I know you can’t avoid not having links to external websites in some cases. If you do ever link to another website from your website, make sure every such link opens in a new window. Only use external links when it’s really something useful for the visitor and make sure not to place ways to exit your website before the important purchase buttons etc.
13. Browser and Screen Compatibility
Not only do you have to test and make sure your website looks great on all of the commonly used browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari and the dreaded Internet Explorer, you need to make sure your website looks great at different screen resolutions. Yes, some people do still use a 800px resolution. In this day and age, you will also need to consider all the different devices such as smart phones and tablets in addition to the desktop computers and laptops. These devices also come in different screen sizes, so making your website ‘responsive’ will be a great idea to cater to your website visitors.
14. Lack of Contact Details
Sometimes you will forget to add the most important details such as your phone number front and center for your website visitor. Make it easy for your potential customer to get in touch with you.
15. Lack of Sociability
These days it’s important to display ways to connect with your business through the social media networks. Just because you are a big fan of Facebook doesn’t mean your website visitor is, they might prefer Twitter or Google+. So make your presence on the most prominent social networks out there so that you give many options to your potential customer or existing customers to connect with you. That doesn’t mean you have to go creating profiles on whatever social networks that pop-up from time to time. Remember, you need to maintain your profile on whatever network you chose to be in, else it will be another outdated profile going back to my point 9 above with outdated content.
16. Broken Links
This is another huge error seen on many websites. Broken links that go to a ‘404 page not found’ is just as good as saying goodbye to your website visitor. Broken Image links that make your website page looks like someone just put some blank spaces with Xs. Test your text links and image links using a software like Xenu, which is free and so useful.
It’s quite common to miss the obvious. as some of the above were. But I hope these were some helpful tips and things to remember to NOT put on your website.