Web Design Tips – Top 10 Do’s & Don’ts

What’s the single most important factor  or element on your website?

I’ll get straight to the punch this time. No mystery. No smoke & mirrors. The words on your website are the most important element of your website. Period!

It’s definitely not Flash, animations and cool tricks your website can do. Unless you’re in the entertainment industry and you have to show off and impress others with a presentation that puts your competition to shame.

It’s the words on your website that people really connect with. It’s what you say and how you say it that will keep people on your site longer and that will keep them coming back for more. It’s even going to help you on the search engines and allow people to find you based on the keywords in your website. The more content you have, the better but it should always be great content. You want to win them with your words.

That said about copywriting, I want to make a few things a bit clearer for you. A website also has to be:

  • nice on the eyes,
  • easy to navigate,
  • easy to find everything within a couple of clicks,
  • visually consistent,
  • easy to read, and
  • it has to function flawlessly

The point of it all is to get a lifelong customer by becoming the most appealing option to them. We do this by informing & gently persuading them that they should do business with us. Ultimately we want to get them to perform certain specific actions that will help our business grow. Actions you may want them to perform on your site could include – getting them to:

  • learn more about you and start trusting you,
  • give you their contact information (as a sales lead or opt-in email),
  • buy something,
  • refer your site to others,
  • fill in a survey,
  • come back to your site again to perform a repeat action,

Take it from me, a web designer and internet marketing coach, I know what many business owners want and think they need in a website. Most are always shocked when I give them a fresh, enlightened, perspective. It wasn’t about toys & flash & wow factor. It was about selling with words.

I told them that the simplest looking sites on the web often sell the most. They always asked why? Because the focus is on the words and the words do all the selling.

I’ve created white, plain web pages with content centered in the middle, no graphics, just text – that got a 22% OPT-IN rate. That means that a whopping 22 out of 100 people who visited my page (through a targeted AdWords Ad) signed up for the offer I created for my client. Compare that to the old form my client had on their flashy site and I multiplied their results by 22 x’s. I since overhauled the entire site and integrated a lot of marketing strategies to help them be the best choice for their visitors.

So remember, it’s the words on your site that are the most important.

Other things to consider:

Web Design Do’s & Dont’s:

1. Flash intros: Save Flash for special applications and some main pages but don’t make a mini-movie intro. They are an incredible waste of money.

2. No page counters: this almost always hinders instead of helps. Leave it out.

3. Make effective use of every title bar: The title tag of your web-page (the uppermost part of your browser) displays the name of the page you’re on. It’s also a way to let the search engines know what your site is about. Use your keywords in the title effectively.

4. No blinking or flashing text: People are becoming trained to ignore animations and blinking areas on websites. It’s kind of annoying.

5. Don’t force people to download any special plug-ins: Most of them won’t. Nowadays lots of people using XP don’t even know that an information bar popped in asking them to install an activex control. They ignore it and missed your entire message. No plugins for most sites – there are some exceptions like a game site or movie site. But not for regular business when the competition isn’t scaring away their visitors.

6. No more frames: If you didn’t already hear by now, search engines don’t like framed pages. They may seem to make your life easier on the design end but don’t even bother starting with frames. If you have them already – recreate your site but keep all the same page names of your body pages.

7. Don’t try to fool the search engines: Your site could be banned and stripped from the search engines. I’m not saying don’t use advanced techniques and all the research you have available. I’m saying avoid any tactic that is blatant overkill and search engines will keep you indexed. Avoid free for all pages and be cautious of your link exchange programs. Exchange links only after reviewing the other site to see if it’s a good fit.

8. Use White Space: Don’t try to fill in every single white space on the page. Give your words room.

9. Under construction pages: A big no-no for most people but not for me. If you’re starting a brand new website and you have the navigation structure and layout ready then start building the pages. Upload everything – almost no one is going to see it. I’m not recommending you promote it yet though – that won’t work.

10. Use Standard Link Colors: Believe it or not, using regular link colors like blue for a new link and magenta for a visited link will make your website easier to navigate. I’ve been to websites where there is no way a person can know where a link is unless they hovered their mouse over every section.

So there you have it – you’ve learned the #1 most important element of a website (copywriting), along with a top 10 list of Do’s & Don’ts. I hope this article helps you avoid upset on your path to success.