They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Your website then is the window to your business. What would a passerby think of your "window"? Would they want to stop and maybe come inside for a few moments? Or would they just pass by without giving it a second glance?
The goal of any website is to make the visitor stay. The desired visitor response might be that they make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, enter a competition or simply complete a survey. The end result is the same - you need the web surfer to hang around your website for as long as possible.
There are, however, aspects of your site which can stop visitors from staying. Some of these are:
The ultimate website sin. Your homepage must, must, must load in 30 seconds or less. This is not optional. If a visitor has to wait more than 30 seconds they will stop what they're doing and move on to the next website. Optimize your website to load quickly by using as few graphics as possible and then only use JPEGS and GIFS. Your website should be no more than 20% graphics and at least 80% text. Why? Text loads faster and also keeps your visitor reading about your site as it loads up.
A visitor should be able to find what they need on your website in 3 clicks of the mouse or less. Any more than that and you're losing valuable visitors. Your navigation menu should be easy to use and every single link must work properly. Make use of a sitemap. Do not use fancy cursors. Do not use complicated menu systems. Text should be legible but not too big. Keep it simple. Imagine how a new internet user would react to your website. Would they love it or hate it? Could a new visitor to your website easily find the information they're looking for?
Awful color schemes
There's nothing worse than searching for a website for hours only to find what you need and then realize that you cannot read the text on the pages because the owner though yellow text on a light blue background was cool. If you need guidance on how to choose colors for your website look at any magazine for examples. Black or dark blue text on a white background is the simplest and most effective color scheme.
For your menus and other background colours bear the following in mind:
Red is stimulating and agressive.
Blue is peaceful and tranquil.
Gree is calm and refreshing.
Yellow grabs peoples attention.
Purple is wealthy and luxurious.
Brown is solid and reliable.
Orange is bright and optimistic.
Poor spelling and grammar
If you're selling a product or service online and your website is littered with spelling and grammar mistakes then you're on a loser immediately. I recently reviewed an ebook that had 4 very bad spelling mistakes including the word business misspelled in the opening paragraph. Inexcusable. We all make mistakes but keep them to a minimum. A visitor may forgive one typo. You may not get a second chance.
Here's 3 tips for checking your webpages.
1. Use a spell checker. Every word-processor has one.
2. Proofread anything you write from bottom to top. You'll spot more mistakes that way.
3. Always proof read anything you've written 24 hours later. You'll be amazed at how many mistakes you'll spot.
Banners or logos that flash, spin, fade in and out and/or perform any other gimmick are a no go area. Don't use them. Flashing banners and logos say "I've never put together a website before. Cool, huh?" Any website with this type of graphic element turns me off. A website logo or banner should be a static graphic or text. Online marketing surveys consistently report that animated icons and graphics on a website are a major turnoff for visitors.
Only used by amateurs. Take them off your website. Please. Any decent webhost can provide you with traffic stats which will provide much more accurate information than a hit counter. Having a hit counter on your website was a good idea 8 years ago. The online world has moved on. You should too.
There's an old rule of sales:
"If I could see through John Smiths eyes I could sell John Smith what John Smith buys".
Design your website for your visitor and not for you.
http://www.affiliate-advocate.com is packed full of web marketing advice and ebook reviews. Niall Roche is the content author & owner of http://www.affiliate-advocate.com