What would you do if your website were selected as "The Worst Website Of The Year"?
Many people are suprised with this "honor" each year because they didn't follow a few simple tips that make a website great. "The Worst Websites Of The Year" appear on the website WebPagesThatSuck.com. The site is an interesting read and a great learning tool.
As a website professional for the last 15 years, I've helped many clients improve their web presence. And over the years, I've compiled a list of 10 quick and easy tips that you can use to improve your website.
Ok, there are actually 11 tips below. I couldn’t quite bring myself to narrow the list to 10.
10 Tips For A Great Web Page!
It’s been proven time and time again - people don't like websites that have too much clutter or require excessive clicking to find information. Much like a well-organized retail shop, a clean and clear site design allows customers to relax and enables them to locate what they are looking for quickly and easily.
2. Think "Pyramid" for your content.
Put the most important information at the top (or tip) of your page, and the least important at the bottom (or base) of the page. Using this approach gives the reader the important information first. If they want more information or detail, they can continue reading.
3. Check your spelling and grammar.
Many people are not tolerant of spelling or grammar errors. You can write a completely error free topic for years, and then have one simple “teh” instead of “the” and you get irate emails from customers, many of whom give up in disgust without contacting you at all. It may seem unfair, but people judge websites by the quality of the writing, and spelling and grammar errors are an obvious indicator of quality for many people.
4. Put Contact Information On Every Page
Put a phone number and email link on every page of your website. Doing so will make it easy (and easy is always good) for visitors to contact you if they have questions or need assistance.
5. Make Sure Your Pages Are Mobile Ready
“Half of all mobile device users said that they are more likely to purchase from retailers that have mobile websites, according to a new report titled Supply & Demand of the Mobile Web for Retail. Is your website ready to meet the demands of mobile users? If not you are missing out on a large and growing customer base.
6. Serif for headlines and Sans-Serif for text.
If you've taken any type of print design class, this might be exactly the opposite of what you were taught. But the Web is not print. Sans-serif fonts are much easier to read on computer monitors because the screen resolution is not as high as in print. If you use serif fonts for normal text, the serifs can blur together on the screen making them hard to read. Your printer friendly page should use the opposite fonts (serif for headlines and sans-serif for text). Check out a good example of what not to do with fonts.
7. Limit the number of different fonts.
One of the best ways to make your Web site look amateurish is to change the font over and over. Sure, it's possible to do, but limiting your page and site to 2 or possibly 3 standard font families makes text easier to read and looks more professional.
8. Use Headlines.
Users don't read, they scan. So make scanning a page easy by using headlines. Headlines give a reader a quick overview of the information available and allow the reader to review only the information relevant to them. Consider the CATWIRED home page. What do you learn by simply doing a quick scan of the headlines?
9. Use standard font families.
Yes, you can choose to use "Rockwood LT Standard" as the font on your page, but the chances that your visitors will have that font on their computer is pretty low. Remember that a website visitor must have the font you specify installed on their computer. If the vistiors computer does not have your specified font installed, a generic font will be used. That generic font could dramatically alter the appearance of your web page. Sticking with standard fonts like Verdana, Geneva, Arial, and Helvetica may seem boring, but your pages will look correct for a larger percentage of your visitors.
10. Be Careful With Backgrounds
Be sure to have plenty of contrast between backgrounds and text. Think about it...what color is the paper used in books? What color is the ink? Black over white offers the greatest contrast and thus is easiest to read. If you use other color combinations for text and backgrounds, be sure there is enough contrast to allow the text to be easily read. Check out an example of poorly done backgrounds.
11. Include a Search Feature on Every Page
Site search is a very important element on a website. When users are looking for something they typically look for a text field where they can enter their search term. Place the search text field on the top of your web page, where it will be most visible. Include a search button and clearly specify the search button text. Don’t use button text like "Go" or "Submit", because these expressions tend to mislead your website’s visitors.