When starting out on a new website design, the challenge is always for the site to be designed so that people can find it… and find relevant information on it. One of the most pervasive problems on the internet are sites which are so full of advertisements (from horribly distorted logos and images to distressing flashing ads), that the actual content is easily lost in the confusion.

An online visitor arriving on your website for the first time has to be able to discern the content from the rest, and quickly. After clicking on a link from their search engine of choice to your website, visitors don’t want to have to try and find the content. It should be readily apparent which section of your site is designated for advertisements, sidebars and external links.

Most of these issues mentioned above can easily be rectified through effective use of Search Engine Optimization and intelligent thought behind the website design.  Take for example the issue of advertisements. Many website owners use third party advertisements to generate an income through their website. If an online visitor of theirs clicks on a third party advertisement (like the persistent one about losing x amount of weight through some secret ingredient!) then the website owner receives an income calculated on the amount of clicks.

Website Design Do’s and Don’ts

However many riches this might bring to website owners, there are so many downfalls to this advertising model that you have to wonder why people still implement it. First and foremost, if you did manage to draw an online visitor to your site (and a potential customer hopefully), then why would you send them away to purchase handbags/shoes/weight-loss formulas? Even if the advertisement opens in a new window, that visitor might become so sidetracked by the new information presented to him or her, they might never return to your site!

Secondly, large, obtrusive advertisements repeated on each and every page will not only distract your visitor, it might just make them leave your site out of sheer frustration. Be sure that you will never see that visitor again! A bad impression always remains longer than a good.

And third, these third party advertisements come in two flavours… a) Advertisements which are closely based on your own category or niche, and b) Non-related products and/or services. Which brings two very crucial questions to mind.

Why would you want to advertise a competitors product on your website? You have done all the legwork to bring this visitor onto your site, took time and effort into the design and layout, all just to give the client away to another company? Or, alternatively, a visitor that navigates through to a site about fly-fishing has to be met with gaudy, flashing ads displaying weight-loss secrets, calculations for BMI and/or the latest smartphone gadgets. That visitor is not going to remain very long on your site.  If you ever think of a way that this makes sense, please let me know.

Alternatively, through intelligent website design and efficient SEO, your website will not only draw online visitors, but it will keep them there. It would even make them share the site with friends and families, and bookmark it. So much better than just sending away any and all that you receive!

Bookmark, you say? Well, if your website design includes a section for fresh content relevant to your company/service/category, then of course a visitor will bookmark it. One thing that many website designs are lacking of late, is the inclusion of regularly updated content.

Now this is of course a topic for a whole new article, so be sure to subscribe and we’ll let you know when it’s available!

So for now, put yourself in your visitors shoes. Think about the things that you find most annoying when browsing the internet, and be sure to put them on your “NO” list. Also, when browsing, put things that you do enjoy and find make your browsing experience pleasurable on the “YES” list. Soon you will start having a much better understanding of what makes website design intelligent, and what makes it downright daft.

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