Top 5 Things Not to Do When Building a Website
Yes, site building can be easy, but creating a website very well is not actually that easy – that’s why there’s an entire industry dedicated to building websites – whether it be through a website builder or an agency that will build a website for you. Because website building has now become simpler and more accessible, it may seem that everyone is doing it. And because there are more people doing it, plenty of people are also doing it wrong. Here are the top 5 things to not do when building a website:
1. Make it Hard or Confusing to Navigate
Set out a path you want visitors to take, make it intuitive, then put it into action. In simplest terms – don’t make the website visitor think. Create a menu that has your most popular pages so your visitors can easily navigate to them. If a visitor can’t tell the difference between a clickable link and a decorative piece of text, you just may have a design problem. The worst case is, if a visitor can’t find the information that they were looking for, they simply may not return in the future.
Take this website in the image above for example. What’s even going on here? It’s cluttered, full of colors that clash, and it’s unclear where you actually can and should click. When in doubt, take a look at your favorite sites and what their navigation system is like, and draw inspiration from them. If it’s simple and straightforward, chances are it’ll cater to a larger demographic.
2. Expect Overnight Success
If you don’t have an astronomical marketing budget or aren’t giving out money, don’t expect people to flock to your website. Remember the old adage: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Just because a video or brand may have gone viral, that doesn’t mean it was their first attempt. It could have very well been their 100th try and they finally made something happen.
Building your brand and marketing your website takes a lot of time, hard work, and patience. Don’t be discouraged if a couple months have gone by and you haven’t gotten much traction. There’s no magic formula, but some suggestions include:
- Reading marketing and SEO blogs – Marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) can go hand in hand. If your website isn’t optimized properly, it’ll never gain much favor in the search results. There are a plethora of voices out there that instill good knowledge in you if you simply take some time out of your day to read articles and watch videos pertaining to what you’d like to learn for your campaign(s).
- Joining networks – Whether in person or on LinkedIn, joining a network of like-minded professionals allows you to expand your brand recognition. They share expertise and tips that mean you could avoid a time and money-wasting mistake that they may have made in the past.
- Building and expanding your site – Simply just keeping at it is as important as any other thing you do. Many people lose steam after seeing their efforts go unrewarded month after month. If you’re putting in the time, focusing on quality, and differentiating yourself from the rest of the pack, you’ve got a great foundation that will give you loyal return visitors.
3. Add any Flash or Music
Both music and Flash will slow down your website, making it less accessible. Music that auto-starts is just a nuisance, especially if your site visitor is already listening to his or her own music. In addition to Flash not providing your website much SEO value, Flash is also being phased out for HTML5 video, which is quicker to load and less processor-intensive.
The harsh truth is that flash is dying. Google announced plans in early 2016 to kill off flash from the AdWords sector. It’s truly a step in the right direction. Since Google is killing it off, make sure that you don’t make the mistake of adding any flash content to your site.
4. Use Copyrighted Content (Without the Proper License)
You can’t just search Google and pick any photo you like to add to your website. A lot of images are protected by copyright, and one can get in legal trouble if the proper permission or license isn’t obtained. A creative commons license allows people to share content on their site or edit a piece of content and share it if proper attribution is given.
The best way to think about it is by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. If you were a photographer and took a photograph that you were proud of, and saw it on another site or medium, but weren’t given the proper credit or any credit at all, how would you feel? A lot of what it comes down to is respect for the work that another person has put into something and giving them kudos for it.
5. Use Different Fonts in a Variety of Different Sizes
In addition, to simply just not looking good, it also provides for a poor user experience. Keep fonts and font families uniform throughout your site. Use different sizes only when necessary (such as for H1 or H2 tags). Some quick tips to keep in mind:
- If you’re using Arial as a font (for example), don’t use Verdana, Calibri, and Times New Roman as well. This doesn’t allow for a sense of cohesiveness and for everything to fit in together.
- There’s no excuse for using a different sized font on the same line. If you’re going to use different sizes, make sure it’s only for stylistic or organizational purposes. As mentioned above, H1 tags, H2 tags, etc are permissible since they denote titles and subsections of the article.
- Even colors can be a problem if all else looks correct. Make sure you’re choosing the right colors on your page so that you maintain that feeling of uniformity. It’ll put a person’s mind more at ease.
When it comes to bad web design, you can’t chalk it up to only one factor. There’s plenty of do’s and don’ts when it comes to web design. Keeping these basics in mind should help you build and maintain a successful website. Using a website builder makes it even simpler since many offer a variety of templates. So find your ideal website builder, and get started on your dream website!