Design Blunders That Can Cost You Lost Profits
Copyright 2003, Angela Wu
It's hard enough to bring people to your little corner of cyberspace,
and once they're there, you have just a few brief seconds to catch
their attention. A simple click-of-the-mouse and your site visitor
Keep as many interested prospects on your site by avoiding these
Multiple Popup and Popunder Windows.
Many online business owners swear by the effectiveness of popups
and popunders for getting more subscribers, making sales, or generating
At the same time, a large percentage of users claim to dislike
popups and popunders. And it's no wonder; many of us have been 'held
hostage' by popups that spawn even more popups when you try to close
them, until your screen is filled with windows and you're completely
frustrated. Most people simply do NOT appreciate multiple popups
If you choose to use them, try for a 'happy medium' -- a window
that appears only once upon entry or exit.
Certain formats are easier to read than others. For example, it's
generally accepted that black text on a white background is the
easiest to read. The reverse -- light text on a colored background
-- can cause fatigue when reading large blocks of text, and is better
used to highlight a portion of the page.
Similarly, text that is too small can cause problems. Although
it's possible to change the displayed text size on a browser, many
Internet users don't know how.
Ever been to a site where it's hard to get around? It's just as
easy to leave and go instead to a competitor's site. Make your navigation
clear and simple.
Trapping Visitors In Your Frames.
Improperly designed frames can leave your visitor 'trapped' on
your site, unable to use the 'back' button on their browsers to
leave. You can bet they'll never be back if you try to force them
to stay! BigNoseBird.com has a nice little tutorial on how to get
the 'Frames look' without actually using them. Read it at http://bignosebird.com/k3.shtml
Broken ordering links!
It sounds silly... heck, it is silly. Check your order links
regularly to ensure that they still work. Enough said.
You only have a few seconds to catch your visitor's attention.
A big showy graphic that serves no real purpose is an easy way to
lose your visitor -- particularly if they're forced to wait for
it to load!
Flash movies are commonly used on websites these days. However,
to view them often requires users to download a plug-in, if they
don't already have it. It can chew up your
machine's resources and make it darn near impossible to get out
- even a 'Skip Intro' link is hard to click on if your computer
is too involved with Flash! Plus the load time can be far too long
for those without high-speed Internetconnections.
Of course there are legitimate reasons to use Flash. But if you
use it make sure visitors have the OPTION to view it. A couple of
* Put two links on your entry page: one to view the site using
Flash, the other to view it without Flash.
* Move your Flash movies deeper within your site. If your visitor
wants to view them, they can simply click on a link.
'Forced' disclosure of personal information.
You may have seen sites that ask you to enter an email address,
a name, or other personal information before you're allowed to 'enter'
the site. Again, this is an easy way to lose a visitor! Without
knowing anything about a site, what reason does the visitor have
to give up personal details?
Give your visitors the option to sign up for your newsletter, product
updates, etc. But let them into your site first. If they like what
they see, they'll willingly provide you with contact information.
This helps you too, by 'pre-screening' the people on your
list to help ensure that it contains only interested prospects and
not just people who were 'looking around'.
S-l-o-o-o-w loading pages.
Huge graphics and HTML errors are just a couple of things that
can affect the load time of your web pages. Many HTML editors will
check your code for errors, or use NetMechanic's HTML Toolbox: http://netmechanic.com/
NetMechanic also offers a free tool to help minimize the size of
General 'unprofessional' look-and-feel.
A few of the more commonly seen design problems include: spelling
mistakes; bright/clashing colors (or too many colors); too many
fonts; a sloppy or disorganized look; too many banners or graphics
blinking, flashing, dancing, or beckoning from the screen; lots
of broken links; and horizontal scroll bars.
Creating a web page is easy. Creating a good web page, however,
takes a little more thought. A clean, well-designed site is worth
the effort. Your bottom line will thank you!
About the Author
Angela is the author of Online Business Basics, a practical guide
to building a profitable Internet business on a beginner's budget.
It's received rave reviews -- see why by visiting http://onlinebusinessbasics.com/article.html
or request a series of 10 free reports to get you started: http://onlinebusinessbasics.com/freereports.html