I remember my very first website. I thought it was the most
animated graphic I designed all on my own, plus various bits of
'artwork' placed at strategic locations throughout the site.
Plus it used frames, something I thought would ease navigation
for my visitors. What an astonishing display of talent!
Now when I look back on that first website, I'm forced to come
to an inescapable conclusion:
You see, like so many beginners, I had succumbed to the lure of
'technology'. Instead of designing my site according to what my
*visitors* wanted, I designed it around what *I* wanted to show
Don't make these common website blunders! Visitors come to your
site for a reason - make it easy for them to get what they want.
Here are a few tips ...
__1. Don't Use Flash Frivolously.
Flash movies are all the rage these days. Sure, it's new and
cool and can do all sorts of neat things - but just because you
CAN use it doesn't mean you SHOULD.
This is particularly true of content-rich websites. Visitors
come to your site looking for information, not for an
in-your-face Flash movie. Annoy them and it only takes a simple
click of the mouse before they're gone forever.
Flash requires users to download a plug-in, if they don't
already have it. It can chew up your machine's resources and
make it darn near impossible to get out - even a 'Skip Intro'
link is hard to click on if your computer is too involved with
Flash! And it takes too long to load. Not everyone has a
Of course there are legitimate reasons to use Flash. For
example, graphic artists or web designers who sell their Flash
talents will want to showcase it. If you use it make sure you
give people the OPTION of viewing it or not. A couple of
* Put two links on your entry page: one to view the site using
Flash, the other to view it without Flash.
* Move your Flash movies deeper within your site. If your
visitor wants to view them, they can simply click on a link.
__2. Use Graphics Sparingly.
The *right* picture can say a thousand words. But don't use
graphics for the sake of using them; unless they convey
something specific and relevant to your site then you might as
well leave them off.
How many times have you come across an agonizingly slow site,
filled with images dancing, whirling, bouncing, and beckoning to
you from the screen? It's irritating to say the least.
If you have to display a lot of graphics on one page, make them
into thumbnails. Visitors can click on the image they want to
see in order to view the full-sized version.
Also be sure you compress your images to make them as small as
possible, and specify the image WIDTH and HEIGHT in your HTML
__3. Forget the Frames.
A lot of people like the look of frames. However, search engines
cannot read them properly and improperly designed frames can
leave your visitor 'trapped'. You can bet they'll never be back
if you try to force them to stay!
BigNoseBird.com has a nice little tutorial on how to get the
'Frames look' without actually using them. Read it at
__4. Keep it Simple - and Use Common Sense.
The simpler and cleaner your HTML, the more likely it will
display exactly as you intended on different browsers.
* Limit the number of fonts and colors you use. Pick a color
scheme and stick to it.
* Keep your navigation consistent from page to page.
viewing your information. Not all browsers support them.
* Use tables to properly layout your site. Don't force your
visitors to use the dreaded horizontal scroll bar to read your
information! Tables can also add white space to your site for
* Spell-check! A site filed with speling errs is veery heard to
* At a minimum, check your site with the two most popular
browsers, Internet Explorer and Netscape.
Creating a web page is easy. Creating a *good* web page,
however, takes a little more thought. Offer a content-rich site
that's a pleasure to visit and your visitors will keep coming
About the author:
Angela is the editor of Online Business Basics, a newsletter for
eBusiness beginners. OBB features ongoing tutorials on how to
build a profitable Internet business *without* spending a lot of
money. Subscribe today and get '101 High-Profit Businesses You
Can Start on the Internet' absolutely free! For details, visit