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What Not To Do When Building Your Website

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When designing a webpage, the most important component to the design is not fancy fonts and flashy graphics. It is the user.  It is time to forget about what you find attractive. Your website is not built for you, it is built for your customers. It is not always about being the most innovative and creative, it is about creating a website that attracts your customers and keeps them coming back over and over again. Keeping this in mind, I have compiled a list of four mistakes people make when designing a webpage, and surprise, they all focus on the user.


1. Not having a clear message or not getting your ideas across clearly. 

Are you being informative, selling something, promoting a business?  People need to be able to view a page and in seconds figure out what it’s goals are in order to realize an interest in continuing to view it. 

The question is: what’s the point?

What’s the point of the user looking at the page, what’s the point you want the user to take from viewing the page, and what’s the point of even having the page if the user doesn’t realize the point you are making?  Joyce Grace, a contributor for Entrepreneur, cites planning your goals as the number one tip for creating a website.  Before even starting to design a website, the goals need to be clearly decided.

The bottom line is the user needs a reason to return to your site. The reason lies in your own goals.  Why have a site if it doesn’t have a purpose?


2. Messy content

Part of relaying a clear message is organization of the content.  Muddled content can cause confusion and frustration, and can easily turn a user off.

Simple layout is key, with minimal, effective graphics and words that allow the eye to smoothly view a page without struggle.  A few strategically placed graphics optimize viewing, while one or two graphics too many will reach a steep slope of diminishing returns. 

Text is an important component as well.  The obvious needs to be mentioned: proof read content for spelling and grammar errors.  What you write on your page reflects your company just as much as any other way you reach your customer.  If it’s published, in a book or on the web, it needs to follow accepted writing convention.

 You need to design your text so that people will want to read it, so don’t write large blocks of information that overly complicated. Spreading out content with images can help, but the trend towards less text and more images reaches even further.  Ilya Pozen, a contributor for Forbes, explains an important concept related to content.  The trend is moving from web pages containing large amounts of text to instead having more images. 

Social media has been leading the way in shortening the amount of text and increasing video and image content.  Choose words wisely because when their amount shortens, each word becomes more valuable and more likely to be read.


3. Bad color choices

French painter Pierre Bonnard once said, “Color does not add a pleasant quality to design- it reinforces it.”  Good color choices are necessary to the entire layout of a website.   The user judges the quality of a website based on color.  There really is a psychology of color, and there are many resources and easy tips to pick up to help you learn about it.  For example, colors should blend together according to the color wheel.

Red evokes excitement.  Complementary colors can be effective if used sparingly.  Grey and white design can be viewed as classy, sleek, and modern.  Depending on the colors you choose, you can enhance the message of your site too.  Colors become akin to smart word choices and use of content.

 A great resource to learn more about color is   This site gives in-depth analysis of how colors work together and how choosing certain colors can affect human perception on a variety of levels.


4. Slow loading
The easiest way to lose the attention of the person looking at your webpage is to make your page take a long time to load.  We’re aware of the statistic citing our attention spans shrinking to the size of that of a goldfish, but there’s more to it than that.

According to Time Magazine, people spend an average of fifteen seconds actually reading a webpage, and most do not scroll to the bottom of the page. Understanding what makes people spend more time on a webpage can be better answered by our team at GreenRope, who can set you up with helpful tools to track traffic on your page.

If the majority of users will not read an entire website, imagine how much attention your website would lose if your page took a couple seconds too long to load.  There are some things you can do to ensure your page loads quickly.  Resize large images to be sized for web-based purposes to promote quick loading.  Most commonly, large images will slow down loading times.  Learning this trick and many easy little tricks with coding and setting up your website will promote quick loading.  

Don’t let users click to a different page before even seeing yours.

A website is an important tool for any company.  At GreenRope, we conduct our business exclusively through the means of the internet.  As the world becomes more driven by virtual technology, websites become assets to reaching customers.  So don’t make the mistakes I’ve seen on countless sites.  Keep users at the focus of your site and they will return.

This is a feature post by GreenRope intern, Erin Cole. She is a junior at UCSD majoring in computer science.  She is currently interested in pursuing a career in data analytics.  Along with interning for GreenRope, she has been developing a dog walking and pet sitting business for the past three years. 





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