Professional WordPress Themes

Feb 20, 2013

10 Website Design Sins

To get visitors to your website takes both time and money. Studies have shown that most visitors will take about 5 seconds to decide whether they will stick with your site, or leave. In order to give the best possible impression, you need to create the best possible website for your target market.

To do this, you need to make sure that you design your website so that it is appealing to your visitors. There are thousands of things you can do to customise your website, many of which will end up putting your visitors off. Here are 10 customisation sins that you need to avoid.

Attractive Design

1. Limited payment options

Many websites only present one payment option to their customers. Offer as many payment types as possible – at the least you should support credit cards and PayPal. If you can offer others then that’s even the better.

2. Drop down menus that cover the site

Drop downs will appear when someone hovers over a navigation link or sub menu, and often these cover critical sales points on your website. Make sure that this doesn’t happen.

3. No telephone number

It is very important that you always provide as many contact details as possible. When you give a telephone number, people trust you more, and you make it easier for them to reach you directly.

4. Important website information as graphics

Any important information on your website needs to be in text form, not graphical form. Remember that search engine bots can’t read graphics, so this isn’t going to help you in the search engines. If you do use graphics, always include the ‘alt‘ property to describe the information contained in the graphic. If there is text on the graphic then the alt tag should include that text.

5. “Spamglish”

This is basically text that is written for search engine robots. It always has lots of keywords, and simply isn’t pleasant for the human reader. Always make sure that you write for humans, not robots. Always build your website for your users first.

6. Stale content

It is essential that you keep providing fresh content to keep people coming back. Good content is the bedrock and foundation of any successful website, so make sure you update regularly, and give your readers what they want.

7. Not providing a sitemap

A sitemap makes it a lot easier for your visitors to navigate around your website. Why bother making your visitors hunt for the information they want? Make it easy for them to find, and they’re likely to stay with you longer.

8. Confusing navigation

There is nothing more annoying for anyone visiting a website, than to not be able to navigate properly. People are busy with their lives and don’t have time to muddle around with poor navigation.

9. No opt in on the homepage

Many websites have newsletters – and so you should include the newsletter opt in form as prominently as possible on all pages. Very few people buy anything on their first visit, so you need to be able to market to them regularly. The only way of doing this is by capturing their e-mail address.

10. Too many graphics

A lot of people overcomplicate their websites with fancy graphics. These only end up slowing them down, meaning that loading times are increased. This is the last thing you want, and can lose you visitors.

Make sure that you avoid these 10 customisation issues, and you’ll be well on your way to a well functioning website.

4 Comments Leave a comment ›

  1. Hi Ben,

    Good list of sins, although I don´t agree too much about the phone number nowadays (for sure it is a must for local business, anyway).

    This is the first time I see the word “Spamglish”. That´s a good one! LOL. The only thing I don´t like about it is how it sounds but, you know, I happen to be an Spaniard ;)

    • Interesting point. It’s definitely only suitable in some situations – but I do think there’s some good value in displaying phone numbers, especially for business with physical stores.

  2. All the points you discuss here in this articles are valid one. but when we work with non technical customers then it is very hard to explain all these points to them. As a developer we can understand that, do you have any better idea how to explain them. Otherwise they think we are not so professional in this field.

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Pro Theme Design began in 2007 as a collaboration between two web designers...

Darren Hoyt
Darren Hoyt

Charlottesville, VA, USA

Established in the WordPress community for projects like Mimbo and Agregado, Darren also has 14 years experience designing websites for businesses and startups. His role at Pro Theme is taking what Ben builds and making it beautiful and simple to use.

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Ben Gillbanks

Exeter, England, UK

Ben is a WordPress ninja, best known for creating Regulus. More recently he took over the development of the image-resize script TimThumb. He spends his time at Pro Theme Design turning Darren's ideas into reality.

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