The third installment covers design approaches you should avoid and explains why they may not be the most effective choice for your site.
Weave A Winning Web (PART III)
Last month we discussed layout and navigation for building a solid website. This month we will consider some “less than ideal” approaches to website construction.
Why is the navigation and layout of a website so important? Simply put, if visiting your website frustrates visitors, they will subconsciously assume that doing business with you will net the same result. Obviously, this is not the impression you want to leave. The approaches we have discussed to this point, work well in web design. This month, we will discuss those you should avoid.
Things You Should Avoid When Building Your Website
- Flash is not a good opener. Open your website with information, not a light and video show.
- Although many people are hooking up with broadband, the majority of the world is still on a dial-up connection. By the time your graphics load, they will be gone. They will have exited your site in favor of a more “user friendly” site created by your competition.
- Flash doesn’t help you in the search engines.
- Flash “subjects” people to your presentation, instead of letting them choose the information to receive. If you use flash, let it be an option, let them choose to see your flash
presentation by clicking a button on one of your web pages. Even the “skip this intro” is annoying for people on a slow connection.
- Why introduce yourself to the majority of your audience by frustrating them first, and trying to play “catch up” for the rest of their visit… IF they stay?
- Want to know how long it takes your pages (especially graphics-intensive
pages) to load under different connection speeds? Find out! Note: if it takes more than eight seconds to load your website, you will probably lose that visitor. Eight is the maximum number of seconds most visitors will wait before surfing elsewhere. We are
an impatient lot.
- Avoid frames if possible. The visitor-friendly sites are frames-free for many browser windows.
- Use of frames will adversely affect the way some search engines see, spider, and catalog your site. Some older browsers cannot handle frames at all.
- Your visitors may not be able to bookmark the pages they want to see again – frames will send them back to the main “index” page when they attempt to mark an interior page. And “refresh” attempts may send them back to the home page if the code isn’t perfect.
- Exterior links will be impeded. You need good quality incoming links, but any attempt to link to a framed site by someone else will result in linking to the home page, NOT the intended page
- It makes getting them on the “same page” with you much more difficult. If you wish to refer a client to a certain page on your site, you will have to walk them though the instructions rather than simply referencing a URL.
- If you are using external information and don’t open a hyperlink in a new window, it will appear within your own site’s frames. This may infringe on copyrights and land you in legal “hot water.”
- If you want to see how the search engines “see” your website, CLICK HERE to try the search engine simulator.
Make your website a friendly place. Easy navigation, no frustration, and an eye-pleasing layout are the best ways to begin.
© Copyright 2003 by Angela Allen Parker of Wicked Wordcraft
This article first appeared in the June 2003 “Word Magic” column at www.epowernews.com.