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Top 10 Web Design Mistakes

As a webmaster, you want to keep your visitors content so they'll come back again. Below you will find ten common mistakes made by webmasters that may deter people from returning.

1) Poor Color Choice

There's one important thing to keep in mind when designing your web site, and that is always keep it simple. More is not necessarily better. Your web site should contain no more than three colors. Also remember that your body text should be a contrasting color from your background. There's nothing worse than trying to read yellow text on a pink background. It may look cool to you, but cause your visitors to go cross-eyed.

2) Confusing Navigation

If your visitors cannot find their way around your web site, they'll leave...plain and simple. Your navigation should be logical and consistent on every page. Studies have also shown that web surfers prefer the standard left or right side navigation over other layouts.

3) Inconsistent Font Face and Size

Just like your navigation, you'll want your font style and size to be consistent. If your home page text is in Arial font, size 10, make sure the rest of your pages adhere to the same font style and size. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and you may need to use a smaller font for disclaimers, terms and conditions, etc. However, in most cases, you should use the same style on every page.

4) Long Paragraphs

This is a common mistake made by many webmasters.

To make your web pages easy to read, remember to break up your paragraphs often and use subtitles. Most people will skim when trying to find what they're looking for so when your paragraphs are small and separated by logical headings, it will make it much easier on your visitor's eyes.

5) Misplaced or Lack of Contact Info

Don't make people search for contact information...especially if you're selling goods and services. Always have your contact information visible on every page of your web site. Hidden contact information looks fishy and makes people leery of doing business with you.

6) Long Page Loads

If your web site does not fully load within 10 seconds, your HTML files are too large. Check your graphics. Are you using too many? Do they need to be resized? Make sure your multi-color graphics (photos) are saved in JPEG format and use GIF files for solid colors and poster art. Also remember to use table height and width tags in your HTML code because your text will load before the images. Animated graphics also slow the page loading time tremendously.

7) No Meta Tag Info

Meta tags are HTML code invisible to the human eye but read by many of the search engines. While these don't have as much of an impact as they used to, many search engines still rely on this information when displaying your site in the search results.

8) Use of Frames

Frames can become somewhat of a burden. Many search engines do not list pages with frames, they don't allow visitors to bookmark certain pages, and they can cause printing problems.

9) Scrolling Text

The marquee tag is a cool feature, but many overuse it. Although the idea of scrolling text may seem appealing, remember that not everyone will find this idea entertaining. If you do decide to use it, make sure you clearly evaluate whether or not it is adding value or enhancing your page. There are some instances where this feature works, but there are many where it doesn't. Use it very sparingly.

If you have a sentence or two that you feel is very important to your readers, don't make them wait eons for the message to scroll across your screen -- just use plain text and save the scrolling text for the less significant messages or perhaps sub-titles.

10) Wrong Resolution

The average web surfer surfs with their PC screen set to an 800 x 600 resolution. If you create your web pages to fit a 1024 x 768 resolution or higher, keep in mind many people will have to scroll left and right to see your entire page. I don't know about you, but I find that quite annoying.

If you want your web page to be displayed correctly in all resolutions, create your web pages with tables and use percentages to define your table widths instead of actual pixel values. For example, if the table width is set to 100% instead of "800" then it will take up 100% of the screen no matter what the PC resolution is set to.

About The Author

Lisa Irby is the author of 2 Create a Web Site -- a site that encourages you to plan accordingly and GET THE FACTS before diving into the web site creation process.

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