Having been involved in the internet industry for a large part of my working life, I have spent a lot of time researching and browsing the internet and reading websites, mainly for client design research, but also for occasional personal use.
The one thing that I find most disappointing, is the apparent lack of thought going into website creation and it's purpose, which in turn creates a missed opportunity for many e-businesses to become successful.
My personal perspective on e-businesses and their websites, is that if they don't take pride in their websites and show to their customers a passion for what they do, chances are, they won't take pride in their products, and the passion for providing good customer service will also be missing.
What you must remember, is that your web site is a direct reflection of you and your business. The appearance of your site is the most important factor in determining your potential success rate. In short, if your site doesn't look professional or pleasing to the eyes at first glance, the majority of people will assume your products and/or services to be of similar poor standard.
At the other end of the scale, you could fall into the trap of going overboard with the design and over complicate things with incorporating high costing flashy graphics. You may end up with a great looking and highly aesthetic web site, but the danger with this is that your site may prove unreliable and at times may take too long to load. There is nothing worse for a customer than trying to visit a slow loading site, and most will close the browser window in complete frustration. As i'm sure you will be able to work out, this will ultimately cost you business.
The other major consideration (if not the most important) when designing a website is your content. Not just links, but content with passion, relativity, and understanding to the customer. When someone is searching for something in particular and they visit your web site, they're visiting for a reason. Your site has something they want, Whether this be your product, service, and/or information. If they are unable to obtain what they're looking for, they move on to the next site and so on. To be able to get your visitors to stay and look around your website, you must give them a reason to. Providing them with quality content will achieve this goal.
There have been countless other lists and articles on the subject of website designing mistakes, but I have compiled my own list, from a designer's perspective, of some pitfalls to look out for when considering either designing a website or purchasing a template. They are:
Poor/slow load time
Not very pleasing to the eye
No contact information - particularly an address
Poorly designed navigation
Text too bunched together/hard to read
Poor cross-browser compatibility
Over-sized, slow loading graphics
Too many graphics
Long, long, long pages/too much information on one page
Overuse of flash graphics
Poor choice of colour scheme
The use of frames
Too many pop up windows
Poor content organization
Too many different colours
Under construction signs
Remember that the simple, clear, informative and well designed sites are the most successful. If you are a current e-business and your sales aren't what you had hoped, consider the above and take some time to look openly and honestly at your site. Spending money on improving your website is a much better investment than throwing money away on trying to advertise and market a site that just isn't good enough to sell your product or services.
If you are looking for a template or a custom designed website, be aware of the above and be prepared to ask your chosen designer or template provider questions to ensure that your hard earned money doesn't go to waste on an inferior design, which contains any of the above.
Asking questions won't cost you a penny, and in doing so could actually save you a lot of money over the long term.
Getting your website right first time is vital in terms of saving money and time. The earlier your website is up and running properly, the quicker you will be able to reap the rewards of a successful e-business.
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