I have been designing Web sites for more than 10 years now, and I pride myself on keeping my sites simple and straightforward to navigate.
All too often when I go to a Web site, I find the experience disappointing and not a little frustrating. Visitors to Web sites want to get around them quickly and easily. That means clicking on links that take them directly to the pages that provide the salient information, the probable reason for visiting the sites in the first place.
Give somebody a site that leads to total confusion and there’s more than a sporting chance that they will not venture to that site again; indeed, you may also force them to move swiftly away from such a site in favour of visiting your competitors, in the hope that they will have a simpler site to click around.
Only the webmasters of such confusing sites know the real reasons behind wanting to flummox their visitors; personally speaking, I feel that it is committing online suicide by unnecessarily over-complicating your sites.
From what my friends from best digital marketing agencies, I can tell from my daily statistics that visitors to my websites do tend to remain at the site for quite a considerable time, as they know that when they click on a link they will arrive at the page containing the information they require. The same statistics show that those visitors will click on many of the other links and read page content that they hadn’t thought to do before visiting my sites, such is the ease of access.
One of the worst practices I’ve seen on a website is where, after having clicked on a link, I was taken to a third-party advertisement en route to the page containing the information I sought. How irritatingly annoying that was, and I thoroughly hated the experience.
Another big black mark against web design is the pop-up ad. How intrusive! Many people, I am sure, count pop-up ads as a totally unnecessary hurdle that completely slows down their whole surfing experience. If you must have ads on your website, stick to static banner or box ads. Visitors will be more appreciative of them and will not be immediately distracted away to your competitors’ sites.
Then there’s the links that are placed in new windows. Why?! In a lot of instances, the new windows are treated as pop-ups by the latest browsers that have pop-up blockers installed, so if web designers are using new windows for each of their links then they really are saying to their visitors “we’ve got this great page, but we don’t mind if you don’t see it because we’ve treated it as a pop-up.” Don’t mislead the surfing public into thinking your linked pages are pop-up ads. It’s really not beneficial to anyone.
And, while we’re still on the subject of links, you should make sure that all your links lead to a destination and not to an error page. Arriving at such an error page is called deadlinking and is yet another self-imploding problem that your website can best do without.
As I’m now nearing the end of this article, I recommend that if you are new to web design, or even if you are a seasoned professional, that you strongly consider the KISS principal – Keep It Sweetly Simple (less offensive than Keep It Simple Stupid!). Following this advice will pay you huge dividends, especially if you are selling things on your site.
Try it and see. Then thank me sometime.