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When trying to create a new website in the attempt to gain new customers, subscribers, or frequent website visitors in a competitive online world, your website will essentially be the face of your business. While more seasoned websites with an established following may have some room to experiment, I will list 5 mistakes that should be avoided when building your own website.
Unclear navigation. For newer businesses, having confusing navigation throughout your website can be your biggest downfall. Potential customers may become discouraged and not bother giving your business a fair shot if they can’t easily navigate their way around. I like using simple menu titles such as: “Home, About, Services, Blog, Contact” and not “Homepage, My Philosophy, My Specialities, Personal Journal Entry, Write to Me”. Also, make sure that your navigational bar menu runs horizontally across the top of the page, because it is statistically been proven that users respond best to this common formatting.
Getting the menu order wrong. Items that appear first or last on any list are most effective. Navigation is no exception. Psychology studies show that, attention and retention are highest for things that appear at the beginning and at the end. It’s called the “serial position effect,” and it’s based on the principles of primacy and recency. So put your most important items at the beginning of the navigation and the least important items in the middle. “Contact” should be the last item on the list, putting it at the far right in top-level horizontal navigation, a standard location.
You’ve seen this before: that website with hundreds of links on the home page. Terrible. But even ten may be too many. This is because short term memory holds only seven items. That means that, ten is a LOT more than seven. With fewer menu items, your visitors’ eyes are less likely may scan past important items. Every time you remove a menu item, the remaining items become more prominent. Challenge yourself to limit your navigation to five items.
Disregarding mobile. While having a website that looks great and functions well on a computer is a complete necessity, disregarding how it will appear on mobile devices is doing your business a complete injustice. It has been proven that the smartphone is the most common platform that websites are browsed on today, so assuring that your site is compatible in this format is of the utmost importance. There is a high chance that the first time a user sees your website will be on a mobile device, so disregarding mobile compatibility will eliminate half of your potential market right off the bat.
Straying away. While sometimes it pays off to take risks and dare to be different, you should avoid straying away from the norm when web designing for a new site. Certain tactics and rules for web design have been used and tested over the years, and have been proven effective. For example, your company logo should always be present near the top left corner of the page and should send users back to the home page upon clicking.
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