10 Biggest Mistakes
When Doing Web Design
By Dan Swanson
I've created over 100 different commercial websites. These sites have
generate millions of dollars in revenues per year. The biggest web
design mistakes I've seen and some of them I've helped create are:
1. Not having a purpose to your web design
It is easy to get excited about creating a website but forget to think
about why you are creating the site. Most of you might say, well I want
our site to make a lot of money. That's a great reason to have a site
but how are you going to do it? A couple of examples might help: to create
a site that will collect leads for our sales staff; to gather names and
email addresses so we can build a relationship with prospects over a
period of time; to be the number one site selling CD duplicators.
2. Trying to do too many things on one site
There's a marketing saying that says, a confused mind always says no.
If you want to help your visitors make a decision don't throw too many
options in front of them. You wouldn't send a salesman to a business
and have them pitch product A, then before they finish that pitch, try
to sell product B. Yet so many sites have too many options and the visitor
will eventually just click away.
3. Not being clear about what the visitor should do
Help a visitor to your site understand what they should do. Talk to
them about their problem, about how your product solves that, why they
should buy now and a step by step description of what they should do
4. Not being clear what your site is all about
Let people know by a clear headline what your site is all about. You
only have about five seconds to clearly state what is in it for a customer.
Make it easy for the visitor to understand what you do.
5. Putting your logo as the biggest thing above the fold
The first screenful is the most powerful real estate on a website. So
many people make the big mistake of making their logo be the biggest
chunk of space. No one cares about you, your logo or your motto. They
want to know what is in it for them. Tell them.
6. Not capturing an email address
If you are lucky you'll sell 1% of those visiting your website. If your
site is poorly written and your offer isn't very good it could be much
worse than that. This means that 99% of those who dont' buy, go away
and stay away. If on the otherhand you offer them some reason to give
you their name and email address. You can develop a relationship with
them over time by sending them valuable, usable information that will
help them learn to trust you and rely on your advice.
7. Not driving targeted traffic to your site
It is a big mistake I've made and I watch lots of people make is they
spend all of the time, effort and money to create a great website and
then it doesn't get any traffic. Let's say it was so compelling that
100% of the people the visited - bought. If no one shows up, there are
no sales. Spend time and money driving traffic to your site. Use as many
methods as are economical.
8. Thinking from your point of view instead of the visitor's point of
It is so easy to be in a business and develop some industry lingo for
talking about problems and solutions. You organize your business in certain
departments and think that this is how the customer organizes it too.
If you create a site based upon your terminology, your company's organization,
you may completely miss the understanding of the visitor. They think
in terms of problems not solutions. So while you may have a cure for
arthritis, they think in terms of achy joints, back pains and sore knees.
9. Waiting until your web design is perfect
I once did a website for a 500 person corporation. I'd estimated it
would take 4 months from beginning to end. I wasn't even close. It took
14 months and hundreds of meetings. They would spend a half hour arguing
a single phrase. If it were as important as a headline, I could understand
it, instead it was just another sentence buried in one of the internal
pages. Get something up then start to improve it.
10. Using flash for your home page
While flash is great for grabbing attention it is very unsuccessful
at being a home page. I've not only read a lot about it but have had
several personal experiences show 95% or more abandonments when a visitor
sees a flash page loading as your first screen. Most of the flash intros
that are used are a total waste. Do yourself a big favor, save the time,
effort and cost of the flash home page and send them to a quick loading
site that starts with a huge benefit in an easy to read headline that
stops them in their track to get them to read more.
Dan Swanson, writer, consultant, entrepreneur. While Dan still does
some web development, he only does that for his coaching clients. Check
Copyright 2004-6, Dan Swanson, firstname.lastname@example.org