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7 Web Site Design Mistakes That Will Lose You Clients

In today's world, a web site is virtually mandatory for any
successful business. But there are web sites that will win you
customers, and there are web sites that will lose you customers.
Good design has a lot to do with which category your web site
will fall into. But what is it that makes good or bad web site
design? In my personal opinion, a good web site is one that's
simple, informative and gives me a reason to come back
frequently. That's what you should get from a good web
designer/writer team. Bad sites, on the other hand, are
complicated to use, slow loading, confusing or just plain
Here's a list of my personal top 7 turn-offs as far as web site
design is concerned:

1.Slow loading pages
Studies have shown that you have less than ten seconds to grab
a visitor's attention. If your web page hasn't finished loading
within that (very short) amount of time, you might as well
forget about it. The main culprit I've found here are huge, slow-
loading graphics, especially when they are embedded in tables.
If large images are absolutely vital to presenting your
business, compromise by adding thumbnails to the main page and
allow the visitor to click on them to access the main image.
Nobody minds a longer loading time, as long as it's them who can
make that choice.

2.No contact information
As I've already mentioned in my article "Do's and don'ts of web
site copy", one of my pet peeves is a web site that has no
contact information accessible form the main page. If I can't
get in touch with a company quickly and easily, chances are that
I'll go to the competition. My advice is to have a whole page
dedicated to contact information – address, phone, fax, email,
and preferably a map of where you can be found (remember item
#1, though – no huge graphics!) And please, don't use a graphic
to display that information in a particularly clever way. I like
to copy and paste that information directly from the web page to
my contact management program. If I can't do that, you'll likely
never hear form me – and all other customers who do the same!

3.Difficult to navigate
Don't try to be clever with navigational features. Simple text
links or, if you prefer, quick-loading graphics are perfectly
good means of allowing a visitor to navigate your site. Anything
that requires interactive navigation, like menus that expand
into sub-menus, sub-sub-menus and so on, is more an indication
of a wrong information architecture than of a true need for
complicated navigational features.

4.Non-HTML features
Don't get me started on this one. I've got a firewall on my
computer, and my browser is set to block all those little nasty
things that can mess with my PC. As a result I come across many
a site that won't display or function properly, because it
relies on features like JavaScript, Cookies, Interactive Headers
or Java Applets. None of these are necessary to build a good web
site, and unless you want your web site to lose you potential
customers, you shouldn't use them. Or, if you absolutely have
to, make sure that they are not integral parts of the web site!

5.Huge splash page
Another pet peeve of mine. As mentioned earlier, you have less
than ten seconds to get your message across. Now guess how many
visitors are going to wait longer than that just to watch a
fancy animation? 'Nuff said.

6.Pop-up ads
A huge turn-off as far as I'm concerned. As a matter of fact,
I've got a pop-up blocker installed on my PC, so if your web
site tried to tell me something important via a pop-up window,
I'd never even see it. If you feel that you have to use pop-ups,
consider going for the less intrusive (and annoying) pop-under
windows instead.

7.Sideways scrolling
Not everybody has a monitor with the same screen resolution as
you, so make sure that your web site displays on monitors with a
lower resolution without forcing your visitor to scroll
sideways. It's a singularly annoying thing, and chances are that
you'll lose those visitors very quickly. Or, if you have
information in a column on the right side of your web site, it
may simply never appear on the screen.

About the Author
Need online copy that gets results? Frauke Nonnenmacher is a
copywriter who specialises in clear, informative and persuasive
web copy. For more information, please visit her web site at