The Tell-tale Signs Of An Amateur Web Site - And How To Avoid Them
by Christine Collie Rowland
Blue Cat Design
At last count, the World Wide Web's Lycos search engine database had around 60 million Web pages registered with it. That's like 60M television channels competing against yours. The competition is fierce. Your business Web site has to be outstanding in its category in order to get noticed and be effective.
Below are some of the tell-tale signs of an amateurish Web site that's not yet ready for prime-time exposure. Every effort should be made to avoid them in your business Web site:
- Construction signs. Instead of putting up a picture of a little worker in a hard-hat and saying "Under Construction", wait until the site is finished and presentable.
- Blinking text. A sure give-away of an amateur site. Blinking text can also be distracting and interfer with your site's message.
- Dangling HTML tags visible on the Web page. Often caused by inexperience, carelessness or using some of the "automatic" Web page generating software.
- Typos and misspelled words. Use a spell-checker! (Also be aware that some words have more than one correct spelling, for example: misspelled and misspelt.)
- Text and logos with jagged edges. Anti-aliasing of graphics is a must for a polished look. Some graphics software programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, have an anti-aliasing feature.
- No corporate ID branding to show the world it's the professional site of a professional company. Consistent identification graphics such as a masthead titlebar at the top of each Web page help to remind a visitor whose site they are visiting.
- Huge image files that take forever to load on your computer monitor. The difference in the file size of two identical images can be dramatic; one can be 80k and the other, having been compressed and optimized for the Web, can be a quarter of that. Consequently the image downloads four times faster.
- Typography boo-boos. Text too big or too small, or all upper case. Use upper case sparingly only for emphasis.
- Sites with little or no useful content. Net surfers expect more than just print advertising plunked down on the Net; they won't stick around unless there is real content and not just a pitch.
- Colour combinations that make your eyes water.
- Background colours or background graphics that make it all but impossible to read the text on the page.
- Animations that intrude and distract for no reason other than it's possible to have an animation. A simple, well-organized, easy-to-navigate site can have greater impact than one that is flashing with animations and techno gizmos that make it difficult to see the site's real message.
From a strategic marketing point of view, it is better to have no Web site than a poorly designed, ineffective site. An embarrassing Web site can wreck havoc on a corporate image. Avoid having to implement damage control by waiting until you've got your business Web site finished - and just right - before loading it onto the Web.
More Web 101 quick articles & tips at Blue Cat Design.
Christine Collie Rowland is CEO and Creative Director of Blue Cat Design an award-winning Web design agency which the Globe and Mail has called "a Web pioneer...the grand-daddy of Canada's Web site design business".
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