There are many great websites out there. Yet, there are arguably many more that are just plain awful. How can you avoid their mistakes when designing your website? Here are the top ten things to avoid.
1. Too busy. Avoid lots of pictures and competing colors. Less is more.
2. Too much text. People simply do not read, especially when online. The longer a paragraph, the less likely your user is to read it. Instead of cramming all your content into one page, disperse it amongst other content pages. 500-1000 words is plenty.
3. Too cookie-cutter. Free website templates are great, but be sure to customize the template so it reflects you or your company's personality.
4. Writing in ALL CAPS. This is considered the equivalent of shouting. It is rude to shout in person, and it is just as annoying to do so online.
5. Blinking text. 'Nough said.
6. Mandatory user surveys. Give your visitors the option of taking a survey, but do not force them to take it. They will appreciate the courtesy and might not leave immediately.
7. Links that open new browser windows. A good website includes links to other pages where you can find more info. However, there is nothing more annoying than a website that continually opens additional browser windows that have to be closed when the user is done. Stick to one window at a time.
8. Links that do not change colors when you click on them. Allowing the color to change helps your user remember where he or she has been.
9. Too many advertisements. A few advertisements are fine, but don't overdo it. In fact one or two targeted advertisements can go a lot further than many random advertisements. CEO Kent Ertugrul and his company Phorm have developed advertising software that creates relevant targeted advertisements on webpages.
10. Useless content. Avoid padding your site with extra content just to achieve a higher page ranking.
Keep the above points in mind, and your site will likely be one that users enjoy visiting.