A Few Mistakes To Avoid When Designing Your Web Site
Be aware of these common pitfalls when designing your site:

• The home page does not quickly tell you what the Web site is all about. You should be able to visit the home page of any Web site and figure out what the site is about, what type of products it sells, or what it is advertising within five seconds.

• The poor use of popup windows, splashy advertising, splash pages (pages with neat animations and sound but which you have to watch for five to ten seconds before you are taken to the real Web site), and other Web design features that draw interest away from your Web site, products, and/ or services.

• Poor Web site navigation. This includes broken hyperlinks, hidden navigation, poor wording of navigational links, links that take you to pages with no links, links that take you to the same Web page, and pages with no links back to the home page (always include a link back to the home page so that regardless of where site visitors are, they can find their way back home!).

• Believing that because you have a Web site, you have a marketing campaign or overall marketing and advertising strategy. You need to understand that your Web site is not your marketing strategy. Your Web site is just a part of your overall marketing strategy, depending on your business goals; for example, if you have a successful restaurant but want to advertise and promote your business on the Web. Creating a Web site is great, but if it is not promoted and advertised, no one will ever find it. By passing out business cards with your Web site URL embossed on them, you are using a traditional marketing campaign to promote your Web site. If you offer a downloadable/ printable coupon from your Web site, you are successfully using your Web site as part of your marketing strategy to meet your goal of increased restaurant sales.

• Failure to attain Web site relevance and content updating. There is nothing more dissatisfying to a Web customer than visiting a Web site that is grossly out of date. Incorrect pricing, products no longer available, dated content, and ancient advertising all signify to the Web site visitor that your devotion to your Web site is suffering greatly. Cramming your pages with non-relevant material will detract the visitor from getting the point of your Web site (the five-second rule mentioned earlier).

• Avoid too many text effects. Forget flashing text, reversing text, gymnastics text, or other eye-popping and dizzying effects, which do nothing more than annoy your site visitor. Don't create a "loud" Web site that contain so many blinking, flashing, twirling, and spinning icons, text, or graphics that visitors are overwhelmed by the effects and under-whelmed by the site content.

• Limit the number of graphics on your Web site so that you don't overwhelm your site visitors with "graphics overload." Don't use animated GIF images on your Web site. These were cool ten years ago, but in today's professional environment, they are just another "loud," annoying distraction that site visitors don't want to see.

• Don't use Microsoft's themes (built-in design templates) when creating a Web site with Microsoft FrontPage. While FrontPage is bashed on a regular basis, we stand by the fact that it can be used to design great Web sites.

• Don't incorporate frames into Web site design. The use of frames within a Web site will drive customers away faster than anything!

• DO incorporate the proper Web site design elements to ensure that your Web site is ready to be found by search engines.

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