The Top 10 Dumbest Site Design Practices:
Be Smart. Web Success Is Hard Enough
Despite some of the posts on SEOmoz.org, site optimization is NOT a science. Science requires accurate, contestable data. No metrics or analytics deliver empirical data so it ain’t no science. SEO Pros don’t even agree on which weighting factors have the most impact on PR and TR.
However, it doesn’t take rock solid numbers to identify dumb design decisions – decisions that prevent access, make buying difficult and make site navigation a wonderland of surprises.
Thus, I offer the 10 Dumbest Design Practices IMHO.
10. Flyouts or drop down menus that cover site text. Umm, yes I want to navigate to that page but that flyout covers home page content that I want to read. Dumber still? No way to close the flyout. Duh.
9. Limited payment gateways. DIY site owners happily launch with PayPal as their only payment gateway. A lot of buyers have never even heard of PayPal, they don’t have an account and they’re not going to the trouble to open one.
The more payment gateways, the more orders you’ll receive. Get a merchant account.
8. Spamglish. Yep, it’s still out there on critical pages that, ostensibly, are designed for humans. Keyword density, as a factor in PR and TR is losing significance so why stuff pages with keywords.
7. Critical site information in graphics. Bots can’t read graphics, so important indexing data may be lost, tucked in a bitmap somewhere.
6. No telephone number. This one is a poser. As a site owner, you went to a great deal of trouble, time and money to get that visitor on site. Wouldn’t it be great to have a telephone number (toll free) so visitors could call with questions or, better yet, orders?
5. Ambiguous navigation. The assumption, here, is that site visitors know what a link labeled “Damsels” means – kinda like those rest room signs in theme restaurants, i.e. “Buoys and Gulls.”
4. No site map. Come on, you guys. You can buy a site map generator for less than $25.
3. Dated, duplicate content. We’ve all encountered the entrepreneur who wants a low-ball site populated with public domain and syndicated content and 1,200 affiliate links. The site is dated the day it launches.
2. The long-form sales letter. I’m sure Dan Kennedy meant no harm but these endless pages of mixed type faces, heaps of hype and the never ending (literally) PS, PPS and PPPS bonuses are insulting to the intelligent of a chimp.
1. Home page opt ins. Are you nuts? I don’t even know what I’m opting for (or against). If I have to give you my email address knowing that you’re going to back sell me to the grave, I want to know what I’m getting.
Why place this HUGE stumbling block on page uno. I’m bouncing.
Start counting clicks. How many clicks are required for the site visitor to perform the most desired action or MDA. The fewer clicks, the more MDAs. Call me to discuss your site performance. beleive me, this ain't brain surgery.
There are dozens (100s) of mistakes that even experienced site designers make - especially the designer who's cranking out the sausage 24/7. Know what makes a high-functioning site. Then tell your programmer how to build it.