Sunday, October 7, 2007

These Web Design Blunders Steal Your Profits

by Hermas Haynes

It's an unforgivable abuse of resources to spend your time, effort and money researching a product and targeting a market, only to throw it all away on a poorly designed Web site. That is the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot and then wondering why you're bleeding.

Since just about every element of your promotions, advertising and marketing campaigns is geared towards driving visitors to your digital storefront, it only seems appropriate that the destination should be impressive, inviting and interesting.

Unfortunately too many Web sites are guilty of serious design blunders that cause visitors to scamper away never to return, and this takes a big bite out of profits.

Here are Web design blunders to avoid:

1. The Misuse of Colors - Stay away from any combination of colors that is garish and ugly because it will cause people to flee your site. To them the visual impact is comparable to the sound of fingernails being scratched across a blackboard.

Opt instead for colors that compliment. Colors affect everyone emotionally and your site's color scheme should be arranged to maximize the subtle benefits. Bright, playful colors may be right for a Web site that sells children's toys, but could be wrong for a network systems consultant.

2. Confusing Navigation - Your site navigation should work like a roadmap pointing visitors to the particular content they came to find, and not as a crossword puzzle challenging them to figure out where things are located.

Buttons and text links should use the most precise keyword or descriptive phrase to help visitors find information quickly. A site map and search box are additional options that cater to the different navigational preferences your traffic will have.

3. No Contact Information - If there is no facility available for a visitor to contact the site owner or a company representative, you can bet it's not going to help the reassurance factor.

Contact information should be readily accessible from every page and should offer a variety of options, such as telephone, email, fax, instant message, postal address, web form or some other means.

4. Excessive Pop-ups, Annimation and Flash - While each of these marketing tools does have its place, a delicate balance of judgment is required not to make them appear intrusive and annoying. When in doubt and to be on the safe side, adopt the "less-is-more" approach.

Unless you're running an entertainment site, your average visitor is primarily looking for information or a solution to a problem. Anything that hinders that objective will be frowned upon.

5. Incorrect Spelling and Poor Grammar - Before you upload your site and expose it to the world, make sure the content has been proofread for spelling, grammar and typographical errors. If this is not your forte, then have someone who knows what they're doing take a look at it for you.

If your copy is seen as sloppy and careless, that impression unfortunately will carry over to your business. You may be an expert at what you do, but an inferior presentation makes it difficult to convey that with confidence, and it will end up costing you.

Your Web site's appearance plays a significant role in how your business is perceived online, so it's important that you consistently convey the very best impression. Always pay attention to the details. Keep the viewer's interests and comfort in mind at all times.

The greater the satisfaction you can guarantee your visitor, the more traffic you'll attract and the more you'll appreciate what you see when you refer to your profit and loss statement.

About the Author

Hermas Haynes has more than five years of solid online marketing experience and is the webmaster of -- a popular resource for marketing ideas, tools and strategies that will help you advance your Web business.