You took the leap. You set up a website to display your important
message. Congratulations! As in life, first impressions are important
on the web. Web researchers found that you have about 2 minutes to
make that first impression a good one. Visitors will judge your site
in those few seconds on its professionalism and appropriateness to
what they are looking for.
In fact, a website can lose about one-third of its potential
customers due to poor design, according to a recent user study
conducted by Jakob Nielson, Ph.D., a principal of the Fremont Calif.-
based Nielson Norman Group.
Take a long hard look at your site. Or ask a friend to give you a
brutally honest review of your site. Does it pass the test of
professionalism? Are the graphics of good quality and clear? Is the
formatting, font size and font colors consistent throughout the site?
Or does your site commit design mistakes that speak AMATEUR as soon
as it loads?
There are some common mistakes website owners make that may cause
visitors to leave early. Correct these top 5 mistakes to make sure
your visitors stay long enough to read your important message:
Mistake #1 They use large, squeezed or out of portion graphics.
Beginning website owners mistakenly post large graphics that seem
like a good idea but usually will bloat the website. Large graphics
will slow your page load and turn away impatient web surfers before
they have a chance to read your message. Even so, do use them for
graphics and photos help illustrate your communication and sell
Solution: Use optimized, web-ready photos and graphics. Web Wit
Tip: If a larger image is needed to help illustrate your message, add
a link that says, "Click here to see larger image." That way large
images that slow your page load will only be displayed by people who
really need to see a larger image.
Mistake #2 They use distracting elements that blink, bounce, scroll
or turn circles.
Most novice websters are sure this will get the attention of their
visitors. It's true visitors may enjoy the cutesy elements or flash
presentations. But they may never focus on your important message as
well. Unless the flash empowers your presentation, use the adage
"Less is More."
Solution: Limit or eliminate any distracting elements from your
Mistake #3 They use too many different formatting styles
Unless your formatting is consistent throughout your site, it will
spell UNPROFESSIONAL to its visitors and may cause them to leave
early. Inexperienced site owners change formatting with too many
different size, colors and styles of fonts throughout the site. They
create text blocks that are out of alignment.
Solution: Use a consistent style and size of text throughout
website. CSS style sheets are helpful. Learn basic HTML and explore
CSS style sheets; it will improve your command of webbing for profit.
Mistake#4 They use colored backgrounds and graphics that make text
Some colored backgrounds, graphics or textures make it difficult to
read the type on a web page. Anything that hinders the readability of
your message may cause visitors to give up and leave quickly.
Solution: Choose colors that will enhance readability of your site's
message. Light backgrounds with dark text improves readability of
your text every time.
Mistake#5 They use mismatched graphics that are inappropriate for
the content of the site.
Unseasoned site owners will sometimes use graphics or photos that do
nothing to help illustrate their message. For example, they choose
cutesy stars and flowers on a site selling accounting services. Look
for clipart and photos that will support your important message.
Solution: Select graphics or design elements that will harmonize and
illustrate your site's message. Web Wit Tip: For non-techies like the
author invest in inexpensive clipart/photo sets that will enhance and
help illustrate your communications. Additionally, unless you are
training to become a graphic artist look for graphic programs with
templates to shorten your learning curve.
First impressions are important on the web. Follow the simple design
techniques above and stop turning your visitors away at the door. Use
your first few seconds to impress your visitors with simple design
that delivers your powerful message effectively.
?Earma Brown, 10 yr. Web Developer, Author, Small Business Owner
Helps entrepreneurs and writers with full featured hosting, domain
names,websites and a host of other web solutions
eBk: Jumpstart Your Website to Success
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