Web Design Mistakes
Designing In Macromedia Flash
One of the top mistakes is designing in Flash. Flash pages
are all flash and no substance (according to the search
engine robots, anyway). Homepages designed in Macromedia
Flash are the latest design craze. Many qualify as great
design. Yet, Flash is image based with little or no text
associated with it and the major search engines are text
animals. The major search engines devour the text on websites
to determine what kind of website it is, the focus of the
site, the ranking it should be given in relation to other
similar sites, etc. Since Flash pages contain little or
no text for the search engine robot to chew on it generally
ranks so low that no one can find it. There may be exceptions
of course like highly ranked sites that have just converted
to Flash. But over time, these websites too will sink like
the Titanic down the Search Engine drain. Don't make similar
mistakes regarding your site.
Another of the many mistakes a designer can make is using
frames. Though most Search Engine robots now can read inside
of frames, using frames is still one of many mistakes in
regards to high page ranking. Frames are actually separate
pages or URLs thrown together to look like they're on the
same page. Some people like frames because they aid in navigation
of the website. The problem in doing web design with frames
though is that they confuse the Search Engine robots. The
robots see the frames as separate pages, not like we do
as one complete piece. So the robots split the text information
page by page and thus diluting the ranking of all of the
pages using frames. Good web design is not based in mistakes.
One of the top mistakes is irritating visitors. Pop-ups
or pop-unders are bad web design for this reason. Though
putting pop-up advertisements on a website has become a
popular way to gain affiliate traffic and revenue, many
search engines like Google do not like pop-ups and thus
downgrade a website that has pop-ups. Many other search
engines have followed Google's lead. If the point is to
annoy visitors, then go ahead and trap the visitor by pop-ups
and java code and redirects that'll not let them use the
Back button on the browser. But if you're actually selling
something other than someone else's advertising and you
want people to experience the website, then using pop-ups
is just bad web design. Pop-ups are one of the top mistakes
anyone can make on their websites.
Scrolling Text and Marquees
Another of the top mistakes is distracting visitors from
your primary message. Scrolling text and marquees may be
eye-catching bits of java code, but this is bad web design
for two reasons. First, these items distract the guest from
viewing the focus of the website. The main point of the
website should not be put in scrolling text a marquee as
many visitors may just ignore them and the ones who do pay
attention may be distracted and leave the web before getting
to the main point of the website or sales pitch that you're
trying to make. Second, scrolling text and marquees are
usually small bits of java code, that the search engine
robots read that dilute the keyword phrases you're trying
promote with the site in order to achieve higher rankings.
Scrolling text and marquees are mistakes based design.
Make no mistake, orphan pages are grave mistakes! Orphan
pages are web design mistakes that many people make thinking
it'll gain them something rather than lose them something.
Mostly though, it loses you something when you have an orphan.
An orphan page is a stand-alone that is not connected to
any other page on the website. Some people create orphan
Links pages having the theory that the search engine won't
find it so they'll contain more incoming links to their
site than outgoing links and achieve a higher ranking this
way. This is a bad idea first because it is deceitful concerning
those you're trading links with. People expect that search
engines and other people will be able to find their links
on the website. Most likely word will get around also and
if you're in business then having a good reputation is priceless.
Second, search engines have become smart enough to "guess"
that you possess an orphaned Links page and will knock you
down in the rankings for this. If the web is your business
then you know that honesty is always the best policy so
it is best to behave that way. Good web design starts with
good ethics. Some mistakes can be forgiven, but ethical
mistakes will kill your business fast!
Long Loading Times
If you make several mistakes on your website, don't make
this one! Let's face it; this is a fast food, drive-thru
kind of society. People are in a hurry. If the web design
is so overloaded with graphics that the website doesn't
load quickly, then visitors may get bored and move to another
site. Most people in our culture possess the attention span
of a gnat when it comes to the web. Surfing the web is so
popular because people can do just that, surf. If one site
doesn't load you just move on and on and on. If the homepage
is 100K in size, then it is 3 or 4 times too big. Good web
design is simple and doesn't try to pack the kitchen sink
into the homepage. Visitors need easy navigation, not a
garage sale on the front page. You can make several mistakes
on your web pages but if you make this one people won't
even wait to see what you have to offer.
Nothing kills a visitor's interest quicker than outdated
information. When you go to a website and you see the note
that says, "This website last updated on August 10,
1998" then you know it is time to quickly move on to
another site that is current and relevant. While some sites
don't come right out and say they contain old information,
after a little reading the visitor knows this is old material
and moves on to another website. If you're no longer maintaining
the site, then why not take it down? If you want to keep
you website up, then do some house cleaning and maintenance
work on it a couple of times a year just to keep it current.
In order to keep the website high in the search engine rankings
you'll see that this is an ongoing project of tweaks and
enhancements since the competition will not let you rest.
Don't give in to mistakes of lethargy.
Using Too Many Different Fonts
Ransom note web design signals a beginner is around. Just
because you possess 2500 Adobe PostScript Type 1 fonts on
your PC doesn't mean you have to use them all. Beginning
designers have the tendency to want to try many different
fonts when creating web pages and they generally like the
results. To other people, however, the page simply looks
like a ransom note. Remember to keep it simple and you'll
do well. Font mistakes are common, but remember most visitors
don't want their sites looking like ransom notes, either!
Too Many Scripts
If you have all sort of cgi, php, asp and java scripts
going on a web page, the search engines will not know what
to do with all of this information and worse yet, it'll
dilute the keyword phrase/s you are going for in the quest
for high page rank. While some scripts can be useful, like
having a visitor sign up for a newsletter, having too many
scripts is disastrous, for the quick loading of a page,
the functionality of the page and dilution within the search
engines. With many scripts, it is also difficult to hide
all of the scripts within the design. A few scripts can
add functionality to the pages but too many kill the design
and kill the rankings. Technology mistakes (or having too
many bells and whistles mistakes) is very common so beware
of the trap!
Free Web Hosting
The website URL is just as important as the metatags, page
title, etc. in the quest for high search engine rankings.
If you host the site from a free web host such as AOL, Geocities,
Angelfire, etc. you've diluted the uniqueness of the URL.
For $100 or less you can possess a site hosted for a year
with its own unique URL. Since you've gone to the trouble
of picking a keyword phrase and designing a killer site
around it, why mess up your directory rankings by not having
a unique URL? So you didn't think the URL was part of the
design did you? Anything that will limit the number of guests
coming to your site is bad design, period. Remember, as
a designer, you're interested in the entire package AND
the individual pieces that make up that package. Good design
is good total design, beginnning to end. Pay the extra buck
and avoid any mistakes associated with cheapness.
In web design it is also important to optimize it correctly
for the major directories. If a site is not optimized correctly
then the ranking will suffer. One mistake designers make
is having some text the same as the background color in
order to disquised keywords from the visitors but not the
robots. The problem is though, most robots see this and
will mark the site down for it. Another optimization mistake
is exceeding the correct percentage of keywords per page.
It is important to contain the right percentage of keyword
phrases per page without going over. Either going under
or going over will have consequences in page ranking. One
last mistake that designers make is using the "shotgun"
approach to metatags. When using metatags it is important
to be focused on one or two keyword phrases, not ten or
twenty. The entire site should be built around one or two
keyword phrases so why dilute the effectiveness by throwing
in extraneous keyword phrases into the metatags?