Website or Blog Design Mistakes

When you start to design your website or blog, the biggest and most important thing to remember is:

"Don't design the site for you, design it for others."

Why is that important? If you design for yourself, you are saying to everyone:

"It's my site and if you don't like it, too bad."

...which is true in some aspects, but if you want visitors to return, visitors to buy or tell others about your site, you need to design for them. Take ideas, and only ideas, from other websites that are in your "market" and mold them into your design. All popular sites in their respective market carry the same traits while all the others that fail do not.

When you are choosing a color scheme, use colors that match, are not too bright, and equally give out a warm feeling and a cool feeling. Keeping a balance between the colors is very important because you don't want to hurt the eyes of your visitors and you don't want to hurt the integrity of your site. Keep colors plain but exciting, playful but professional and hot but cold.

What is a good resource for designing? Your local newspaper is a great resource. Look at the columns, the advertisements that are stuffed inside, look at the flow of the menu and how everything is grouped together. Newspapers are consistent and consistency is key.

A Webmasters Common Mistake:
1- The "file" (file= page, picture, sound etc) hasn't been downloaded to the servers so the "viewing" of the object is wrong or doesn't show.
2- Missing a bottom navigation on long pages... don't make us work to view your site.
3- Using scrolling, dissolving, bouncing text... do you think people actually spend time to read these things? So why add the extra weight to your pages?
4- Not properly entering the name of your page in the TITLE tag.
5- Putting too many thoughts in one BIG paragraph, or putting too many random thoughts on ONE PAGE.
6- Using Frames in a web site design. Read more.
7- Ignoring the basic rules on Search Engines.

Do and Do Not in Web Site and Blog Design:
Do:
1- Make your web site easy to navigate using text links, buttons, and drop down menus and placing them in the same place on every page. No movement.
2- Color match your site to what you are trying to say, or sell.
3- Keep your site clean and uncluttered to give a chance for your visitor to know what is going on.
4- Have a professional looking logo, or top banner giving you the final "touch".
5- Keep your design consistent though out your site.
6- Keep your text face color, type, size, and decorations the same through out your site. UNLESS it is a thought, a Title, or something that has to be expressed.
7- Use only a white or neutral colored background. Using bright or dark colors can actually hurt your visitors eyes... especially when your text isn't showing perfectly.
8- Watch out for colored text on colored background. Please read more about it. But the quick part of it is… if it is hard to read, or strains your eyes… it is bad. If you look like a badly dressed golfer… it is bad. If you would question it, ever so slightly… don’t do it.
9– use plain old HTML for your pages. Search Engines tend to index dynamic pages (flash, asp, etc) lower than HTML pages because spammers tend to use dynamic pages to hide their “mirror pages”.
10- Use normal text like Helvetica, Times, Courier, Verdana because not every Internet Browser has the same text program (software) as your browser.
11- Make your link names and page titles different to "mix it up" for your visitor. Don't be plain or average. But on the same hand, don't go too crazy either.
12- Shop your competition, check out what works and what doesn't on the design/layout. Let them spend the big bucks. BUT DON'T COPY!!
13- Use a lot of "white space". This is a GOLDEN MOVE (calms eye movement and keeps guest focused). "White Space" is an area that doesn't contain an item (space between paragraphs).

Do Not:
1- Use site counters. They can do more hurt than help. Why do you want people to see that you only had 1000 customers? Would you shop somewhere that only had 1000 customers since the beginning? Plus you will let your competition know how many customers you are seeing. Did I mention they are ugly?
2- Use scrolling text. They are a waste of space and no one really stops to read. Use that space for something else.
3- Put "BEST VIEWED RESOLUTION". Fact: Everyone uses different resolutions... so why bother? Again a waste of space.
4- Design your site for yourself. This is the BIGGEST mistake someone can make. The content can be about you, the colors can be about you, but the design shouldn’t be about you. Keep it clean, neat and organized… and remember everything has its place and there’s a place for everything.
5- Mash your text and pictures together. Leave some "white" space to calm the eye down. It's okay to have space... some designers call it the "golden space". It is a valuable element, or lack of elements to have.
6- Design every page differently. People like to feel comfortable in their surroundings, and when each page changes, the person will wonder "What is going on? Where am I?". Not a good move. Consistency is KEY
7– Use Guestbooks. They invite spammers and “comment makers” to voice their opinions or sites. Sometimes swears and vulgar language is used so you have to keep deleting the bad ones. Instead create a form to let your customers tell you how good your service was… then you can post them on your site.
8– Use flash, java or any type of dynamic script for your links. Stick with pure homegrown HTML. Search Engines love HTML links… and you like Search Engines. So… HTML is the way to go (Text links or graphic links are okay… but in HTML form).
9– Use a lot of pictures unless you need to. Usually sites add too many pictures that they don’t need. Why? Pictures are heavy which will slow down your sites downloading time. The faster the site the better.
10- Advertise your competition especially if you are selling the same product. That's good way to lose money and/or customer.
11- Use centered text (hard to read).

Some Well-Known Facts on Web Site Designing:
So what are the facts on designing a web site and how do they affect you?

Only one way to put it... your wallet will know.

It's true... a Personal site or even a Professional site, if designed wrong, will hurt your wallet. Look at all those advertising dollars lost (or gained), look at the hosting dollars, advertising dollars, site creation fees, labor hours, and all the little things... LOST! Lost because you designed your site the wrong way.

Designing is a multi-faceted word. It's not only about placement of graphics, text and logos, but it's also about... COLORS and COMMUNICATION. It's not about throwing everything up, and adding funky colors... but that is today's most COMMON MISTAKE.

I could be mean and place MANY (I mean many) web sites up here and show you how people actually think their design works... then I could list the sites that do work. But I won't. One... I could set myself up for a *BEEP* (not afraid of) or a lot of hate mail (also not afraid of)... Two... I don't want to take the time to look for the good sites and list the bad sites... because the bad ones ALWAYS disappear from the web. It's true. The bad ones fail and die off.

The best thing I can say to help is:
1- Google your market using different phrases and keywords. Visit the first 20 relative sites. Once you visit these sites, take note of colors, descriptions and layout. Notice their bad areas and their good areas and also note them. The trick is to find the major consistencies between all 20 sites and work those ideas in to your site (do not copy).
2- Take your ideas on how your site should look while adding only the good parts of the 20 sites you just visited and start building (don't copy).

Ideas you should've seen in all 20 sites:
1- navigation layout (left side and starts 1/4 of the page down with the scrollbar all the way up) Also one on the bottom of the page (similar to my layout).
2- Product or Subject highlight.
3- The proper way they use their borders (keep the eye moving and contained on the page).

Now that you have an idea on the facts of designing, now you need to glance over the rest of the free information found here at you-donkey.blogspot.com to round off building your site and incorporate what you learned into your design.

I don't want you to lose or fail, I want you to succeed and survive.

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