Following on from my last post about building websites to take account of Social Media, I thought, seeing as I spend most of my life reviewing sites that I’d share some of the most common errors I see – these are not in any order and the list is not definitive, but hopefully they may strike a chord!
1) What’s it all about then?
If I see another website where I struggle to understand why on earth it was built in the first place, who it’s for, what it’s supposed to do or what I’m supposed to do on it, then, I will …… have seen an awful lot that fall in to this category. Websites need a purpose!
2) Build it and they will come?!
The key to a successful website is understanding your audience and building a site that offers value to them. Without knowing that, you’re on a hiding to nothing!
There are laws and there are standards – make sure you follow them. Visually impaired and people with other disabilities use the web too you know!
4) Well I know where everything is!
Any usability study will tell you that when people are lost, they leave. Clear, logical navigation and tools to improve (such as breadcrumbs) are key.
5) Looks good in my designer’s office!
It looked great when you saw it on a 25″ widescreen monitor, on a safari browser. Now that you’re looking at it on a 17″ monitor using Internet Explorer 6 – it’s not so great! Ensure that you build for the widest possible audience.
6) They’ll get in touch if they really want to
You build a site, you attract traffic through Search Engines and other mechanisms and then you leave site visitors to their own devices when it comes to what you want them to do – be clear, be bold. Make specific to the page the visitor is on.
7) Website – done. Now back to the day job.
You have a site which is invisible to the outside world – don’t get me wrong, there are occasions when you don’t want any profile, but most clients build a site to attract business, yet the site has either been built so the Search Engines avoid it like the plague, or there are no links in to it……
8) Build for now, we’ll think about tomorrow, tomorrow!
Think of your site as an apartment block. If you can consider what you’d like the block to look like over a 3-5 year period and then build the site – even if it’s the first storey, then at least you’ve got the architecture to allow you to continue to built. The amount of multi-storey bungalows I see!
9) My developer knows what I want
“I thought the guy knew what he was doing and gave him £1500 and my logo and he built me a site – now I find it has no search engine profile and I can’t update it myself”. True story and oh, so common. Always specify your requirements before starting.
Everyone says that Google Analytics is wonderful – question whether they use it and that’s a different matter. It’s as if by the very fact that Analytics is plugged in that the site will heal itself! Analytics are great, learn how to read them (Google’s Conversion University is great) and make decisions based on the information . Two words of warning – make sure that you filter yourself/ your developer out from the data and make sure that you treat the data with a certain amount of common sense – after all they only tell you what people did – not what they wanted to do!