Website design is an art. You want your site to look appealing but you also want it to be functional. But what visitors value more than anything is an interface that is simplistic and allows them to find out what they want to know.
So if you want to make a functional site that will encourage people to stay put and have a look, then you certainly should not be doing the following.
1. Pop-up ads
There are no pop-up ads on our site, nor are there on the most professional sites out there. Google certainly wouldn't be a popular search engine if every time someone placed their cursor in the search box an online poker ad flashed all over the screen. Just avoid them, simple as that.
2. Multimedia that plays automatically
You open a page and once it's done loading a song or video starts playing and you can't exactly tell where the option is to stop it. It's frustrating and completely ruins the entire experience, doesn't it? If you want to place some multimedia on your page, do so - just let your visitors play it if they want to.
3. Disorienting animations
Flashing colours and weird patterns - it's not a nice sight to witness when arriving on someone's website. Not only that, but these types of animations severely cripple your chances with anyone that visits. You have about three seconds to capture their attention and have them find out what you offer. A disorienting animation certainly won't help you.
The website shown below suffers from such a disorienting animation. The rainbow colours in the background run across the screen quickly, making it stressful on the eyes to read the actual text. We're not providing a link to it because it's that painful. Feel free to seek it out if you have the strength.
4. Stock photos
In some areas a stock photo is okay (like when writing a blog and you need a standard photo of a thumbs up), but your website certainly should not be filled with them. They're those photos where everyone looks very happy with soft lighting and air brushed effects being way too obvious. Instead, take photos that represent your company (such as your employees) or put together neat original designs.
5. Copy that is written for search engines
This has been mentioned in the past, but it is an action that you should not be doing under any circumstances. You can practise SEO without sacrificing your ability to write for people. If you're simply writing for keywords, people and Google will notice - and Google will punish you for this by pushing you down the ranks.
6. Titles and content don't match
A title that entices visitors is a great title, but it means nothing if it is not followed by corresponding content. Don't write a title to lure people in only to disappoint them with content that has little to nothing to do with what your title promised. This is a sure-fire way to lose potential customers.
7. No blog
This may not bother everyone but having a blog is important. It not only assists in your website's SEO but it also gives you a better image to visitors. If they want to learn about your company and its industry more, a blog is a great way for them to do so. Not only that, but it gives them a greater sense of confidence in your business's understanding of the industry.
What's most important is that you keep your website simple, professional, and easy to navigate. If you have any other pitfalls to avoid that you think are mentioning, share them with us in the comments below.
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