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5 Major Website Mistakes

When it comes to our websites, many of us are looking to be on the cutting edge of technology. We want really cool functionality, are stunning graphics and animation, and we will go to great lengths to embed those elements into our website. And while this virtual dog & pony show provides us with some great eye candy, we often need to pause.....take a breath....and sit in the customer's seat for a minute.

There are some key mistakes that designers often make when building out a website for a client. Often times they are too caught up in the "creative" process that they forget about the realities of usability and functionality. This can be even more evident when a business owner steps out into the "wild digital yonder" and attempts to build his/her own website. Websites will often become laden with an excess of "gadgets" that render the site unusable, slow and more importantly, annoying. Today, I provide you with a short list of 5 Major Website Mistakes that you should avoid.

1. Java that loads additional functionality into the page - Java is a great tool, when necessary, but building a Java heavy webpage only works to slow down your site, which create two major problems for website owners. Google is now including speed as a factor in determining website rankings, and you only have about 10 seconds to load a page before you start losing site visitors.

2. Sound/Video files that start when a visitor enters the website - Speaking from personal experience, I hate this, and statistically, so do other site visitors. Yes it might be cool the first time someone visits your website, but by the third....fourth...or fifth time, those great video and audio files that are probably outdated anyway, become an annoyance more than a help. I typically make a bee-line for the mute button as soon as I hear one kick in.

3. Pop Out Menus that Cover My Screen - Do you really want to cover up your content with a pop-up? NO! Pop-out menus can be confusing for even the most agile web surfers, but put them in front of a less than savvy user and you are giving yet another reason for them to abandon your website.

4. Javascript that loads a mini page -'s kinda cool, but more times than not, your website visitor's browser is going to crash. Look, its not about "cool" its about RESULTS. Any script or element that could POTENTIALLY take away from results generation, should be left off.

5. Giant Animated Graphics - Completely, totally and annoyingly unprofessional. Graphics need to have relevance to the website. There needs to be some sort of correlation between the graphic and the story you are telling. Animation can be successful, but often it is excessive. Not to mention, if you are going the Flash route, 41 MILLION iPhone users can't see your graphic anyway.

I always encourage our clients to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to their websites. Remain on the cutting edge and keep things interesting. But most importantly, provide customers and site visitors with an experience they will enjoy, so that they will return, and purchase.

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About the Author

Eric Tompkins, iDesign Web Solutions
38031 Clermont Ave
Palmdale, CA 93552

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