7 Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1

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2 7 Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1

3 7 Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 2 Written by Senka Pupacic This is not a free e-book! Printing out more than one copy - or distributing it electronically is prohibited by international and U.S.A. copyright laws and treaties, and would subject the purchaser to penalties of up to $100,000 per copy distributed. Copyright 2010 by Meditation Classes Sydney supported and financed by Web Design in Sydney Marketing. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system. Please note that a book of this nature is bound to be a product of the authorʼs life view. Published by: Web Design in Sydney Marketing. Level 14, 309 Kent Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia website:

4 7 Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 3 Table of Contents TOC 3 Before You Setup A Website 5 Never Assume That Your Web Designer Knows Everything 5 Make Sure Google Likes Your Website 6 Knowing Who Is Using Your Website 7 Why You Should Not Copy Content From Another Website 8 Get Connected With Social Media Icons 9 Using Original Photographs 10

5 7 Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 4 Before You Setup a Website Make Sure You Know What You Want Setting up a website can be very easy and it can be easy to get carried away with the idea of creating a new website or upgrading your existing site. However, with more than four billion websites going live on the internet to date if you are going to set up your own site it needs to stand out from the crowd and without a clear strategy that is unlikely to happen. Before you think about your website design, you need to decide exactly why it is that you want a website and what you hope it will achieve for you. Think about what having a website can add to your business or organization. If your business sells products, then most obviously a website could be another place where people could purchase your products. However, even if your business or organization has nothing to sell, a website can still help you. Perhaps you want an easy way to communicate with many people at the same time. A website with a regularly updated blog could be a way of doing this, rather than sending out a newsletter by post or . Alternatively, you might want to have a place where people can see examples of your work or products without having to get in touch with you directly. You also need to think about your expectations for the website and make sure it is set up to help you achieve them. For example, if your expectation is that the website will generate 100 more sales of your product each month then you need to make sure the ordering system works well and makes it easy for customers to buy from your online. You should also think about why you want a website in the first place. If you are only planning a website because you think you should or because everyone else has one then the chances are you will not be as enthusiastic about it as you should be. To keep your website fresh it will need regularly updated content and you less likely to be pro-active in doing this if you have only set up a website because you felt you should. If your business or organization already has a website that is not working for you, this can be a good starting point for thinking about your new website. Review your website alongside your expectations and make a note of any areas where the website does succeed in meeting your expectations and any areas where it does not. This can highlight areas you need to work on when setting up your new website. In order to be clear about why you want a website and what expectations you have, make a list of everything you would like to have on your website and everything you would like it to do for your business. Then, prioritize your list to form a basis for your website.

6 7 Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 5 Never Assume that Your Web Designer Knows Everything If you have decided to set up a new website or redesign an existing website, but do not feel you have the skills to do it properly yourself then employing a web designer to do it can create a more professional look. While it will cost you money to employ a skilled web designer the finished product should look a lot better than if you attempt it yourself without the right skills and will reap rewards through increased traffic and a better response from visitors. However, if you do decide to employ a web designer do not make the mistake of thinking they will instantly know what you want and exactly what your website should look like. Even though you have hired a designer, you will still need to do some work and contribute to the creative process. As you will be working closely with your web designer, it is important to speak to a few companies and choose one that suits your personal style as well as offering high quality services. Once you have chosen your designer, start by making a list of exactly what you want on your website and show the designer any examples of websites you particularly like. This will give them an idea of what you like and provide a starting point for your website. It can also help to show the designer examples of websites you do not like and explain what it is about them that puts you off. You should also provide the designer with any other relevant material that needs to be incorporated into the website design. For example, if your company already has a logo then it is important to feature this prominently on the website. You may also like the websiteʼs colors to match or complement the colors on your logo. Tell the designer if any pages are particularly important and need special treatment. If you are selling products online, this might be your product pages or checkout page, or if you are promoting a service the most important page might be your profile page, which describes your background and experience. Make sure you work closely with your web designer during the creation process and do not be afraid to tell them if they are going in the wrong direction or doing something you do not like. You may feel that you have to bow to their ideas because they are a professional, but remember that you are the client and the designer should be working to suit you. Remember that your website will also need written content. Some web design companies offer content writing services as well. Web Design in Sydney can create both a website design and the content to fill it for you and can be contacted by ing Other web design companies will only be able to design the layout and graphics of your website for you. The content will need to be provided separately. You can either write the content yourself or outsource it to an individual freelance writer or content creation company.

7 7 Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 6 Make Sure Google Likes Your Website In order to get new customers your website needs to show up when people search for related products or services, but in order for this to happen you need to make sure the search engines like what you are offering. Google, one of the biggest search engines, has recently cracked down on websites that have poor quality content or use bad practices to try to promote their website. This means that many websites that originally rated highly in Google searches are now slipping down the page rankings. One thing to avoid following Googleʼs latest changes is having too many keywords in your content. Keywords are words related to your business or niche which people are most likely to search for. By using keywords, your website will show up in search rankings. However, there has been an increasing tendency for website owners simply to stuff their content full of keywords even to the point that the content no longer makes sense. Google is now cracking down on this type of content along with content that does not really offer any information or has no purpose. Instead, it is giving priority to websites that offer rich, original, and fresh content that is obviously designed to be read by a human being rather than just a search engine robot. You will still need keywords in your content in order for people to find your website, but be careful not to concentrate on them too much. A search engine optimization specialist like those at Web Design in Sydney can advise you on the right keyword density for your site. Contact them by ing for more advice. If you are hiring writers to create your content, make sure you give them clear instructions about how often they should use any keywords and ensure they understand the quality of the articles needs to be high. Regularly updating your content rather leaving the same old articles on the website for months will help impress Google. An easy way to do this is to incorporate a blog on your site that can be easily updated with short news articles, informational articles, or opinion pieces. Google will also penalize you if your website carries duplicate content. This is why it is important to have original content on your site. Even if it covers similar information to other websites, make sure it is written in a unique way. There are programs available on the internet or to download that can give you an idea of whether an article you have written is unique or duplicates copy already on the internet. Your Google ranking can also be affected by the links you have to and from your site so concentrate on building links with other high quality websites and make sure any internal links connect to other relevant pages or articles on your website. If you focus on high quality content rather than simply pleasing the search engine, then a higher page ranking should come easily.

8 7 Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 7 Knowing Who is Using Your Website: How to Capture Visitor Details Your website may be up and running, your content may be fresh and unique, and the layout attractive, but none of this is of any use if you are not making the most of your websiteʼs visitors and collecting their information. Even if your website is primarily a sales site, not every person who visits your site will actually go through with a purchase, but you can still capture their details in other ways. The easiest way to get visitor details is to ask them to sign up and fill in a contact form. This will give you at the very least their address that you can use in the future to send them more information, offers, or reminders to visit your website. The best way to get someone to fill in a sign up form is to offer them something in return for signing up. This does not need to be expensive, but it does need to be tailored and relevant to your business and your website. It also needs to be attractive to the people who are reading the offer. With the current popularity of ebooks, offering a free ebook on your site in return for contact details is a great idea. EBooks are easy to put together and can make your websiteʼs visitors feel they are getting something substantial. If you do not feel you can write an ebook yourself, then consider putting the project out to tender for a ghostwriter to write it for you. If you can afford it, then you might like to consider offering a special discount to people who sign up or running a competition open only to subscribers. If you are intending to ask people to fill in a contact form, remember to keep it simple. Most people will be happy to fill in a quick form with their name and address, but will be put off if they have to complete a long form with all their personal details and preferences. To make sure you are not caught out for spamming, you might like to consider a double opt-in procedure, which asks people to fill in their address on your site and then sends an automatic asking them to click on a link to confirm their subscription. You should also have a clear privacy policy available on your website explaining what will happen to peopleʼs private details. You also need to make sure the contact form and offer stands out clearly on your website so people will be encouraged to click on it. Another way of seeing who is visiting your website is to use software to analyze your visitors. Software such as Google Analytics will give you information such as where your visitors came from, how long they spent on your site, and which pages they visited. This will help you tailor your site to make sure people are visiting the pages you want them to and to place important information in the places most people will see it. It can also show you any pages that either need improving to make them more attractive or removing altogether.

9 7 Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 8 Why You Should Not Copy Content from Another Website With so many websites on the internet, there is bound to be at least one with content similar to the content you want to use on your website. It might be tempting to read a few of these websites and then copy and paste it on the website you are designing, but while you might think this will save you time and trouble the opposite is more likely. Many people do not realize that web content can be copyrighted just as print material can be. This means that material published on the web is the property of the original author and they can take action against you if you copy it. Website owners can check for duplicate content themselves by using simple online programs or downloading software that searches the internet for similar pages. If you have copied their content, the action they can take ranges from a polite asking you to remove it to contacting your siteʼs hosting company directly and asking them to shut down your site. Anyone who thinks their content has been plagiarized can also complain to search engine companies and ask to have the offending website de-ranked. If this happens your website will be de-ranked by the search engines, making it useless to you and you will probably have trouble keeping any advertisers who may have been associated with your site. Even if the original owner of the content does not realize you have copied it, or decides to do nothing about it, using copied content may get your website ranked lower anyway. Google checks regularly for duplicate content and will reduce the rankings of websites that appear to be using copied content. Your web hosting company probably also regularly checks for duplication and will take a dim view of any website which copies content as this could harm the reputation of the hosting company. If you plagiarize a lot, the hosting company may shut down your site. Blindly copying content from another website can also harm your own reputation because you do not necessarily know if it is accurate and trustworthy. If the original website owner has used bad information then you will simply be sharing the same bad information with people who view your website. This can do great damage to your reputation, especially if you are using your website to place yourself as an expert in your field. Similarly, if the original writing is of poor standard and you just republish it, then visitors to your website will only see poorly written content and will be unlikely to put much faith in your products or services. If you do come across some web copy that you really like and feel would be a good addition to your own site, then contact the original writer or owner of the site and ask their permission to share it on your site. The original owner may ask for payment, or they may be happy for you to share along as you credit them and perhaps post a link back to their website in return for using their content.

10 7 Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 9 Get Connected with Social Media Icons Almost everyone is signed up to some kind of social media these days. Everyone from hip twenty somethings to silver surfers has a Facebook account and celebrities have made Twitter the place to go for up-to-date news. So if your website does not give visitors the option of sharing what they find on social media sites, then you could be missing out of vital publicity. The easiest way to enable people to talk about your site using social media is to put a set of icons on your website that allow users to quickly access their chosen social media. Whether it is a Like button for Facebook, a Google 1+ or a Tweet option, social media icons can add an extra dimension to your site and open it up to thousands of potential new visitors. Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites, so if you choose to have only one social media icon it should probably be this one. People can show they like your website by using a Facebook Like button. When someone clicks on the Like button, a message is automatically added to his or her Facebook Wall with a link back to your site. When someone does this, each of their friends who are signed up to get updates will see it, even if they have never heard of, or visited your website before. Another benefit is that because the link has come from someone they know people are more likely to look at it, then if you had simply cold called them or dropped a flyer in their mailbox. You may think, perhaps because of the demographic you target, that not all visitors to your website will use sites such as Facebook and Twitter. If this is the case, you might like to add a plug-in that allows users to share a link to your website via If you can, install social media icons so they open the social media site in a new window. This allows people to share your information without actually having to leave your website to do so. Your share buttons should be easy to spot on each relevant page, as people will be more inclined to share your site if they do not have to spend a long time looking for the icon to do it. Remember though that although social media is helpful the icons should not distract from the actual content of your website. Wherever you put your social media icons it can help to add a short message such as ``Share This`` or ``Tell Your Friends`` to encourage people to click on them. If you use social media plug ins well, a lot of your marketing can be done for you by visitors to your site opening your business to potential new customers and developing your reputation for great content. However, deciding which social media icons to choose and integrating them into your site can be tricky so get in touch with the experts at Web Design in Sydney by ing and ask for their help.

11 7 Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 10 Using Original Photographs to Enhance Your Website and Grow Your Brand There are several places on the internet where you can get stock pictures to use on your website, often for little or no fee, but if you really want your website to stand out, then why not use your own original photographs. Stock photographs are fine and can sometimes even be quite good, but because of their nature you will probably find them on hundreds of other websites, from other businesses to charity organizations or even personal blog sites. In order to stand out from the crowd, you should consider using your own photographs that are personal to your business. If you have staff and they are willing to be photographed, then take some pictures of them at work or take head shots and include a series of short staff profiles on your website. Using photographs show staff or even yourself as owner, make your business seem more personal and can help customers put faces to the names of people they may only deal with over the telephone or via . If your business takes part in community events or fundraising, then take some photographs at these events and post them on your website to show you are not all about business. If your business sells products, then you can also use original photos to increase sales. Instead of just using stock images of the product from a catalogue, take some photographs of the product actually being used or at the very least unpacked. This offers your customers a better look at the products before they buy them and may encourage customers to use your online store rather than another because they can get a clearer idea of what they are buying. If you do decide to use your own photographs then make sure they are of high quality. While having unique photos will help improve your websiteʼs image, having poor quality images will not. Think before you take any photos and make sure they look professional. Remember to check simple things such as whether the photo is in focus and use a computer program to crop and remove any marks from the photos before you use them. Make sure they are of a high enough resolution to be used on the internet. If you are using a web design company then your designer should be able to advise you on the minimum standards your photos should meet in order to work well on the internet. If you are not comfortable taking your own photographs and you can afford it in your budget, then consider getting a professional photographer to come and take some pictures for you. Alternatively, you might find a staff member has a particular interest in photography and they might be willing to do the job.

12 7 Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 11

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