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From the Archive: All Too Common Web Mistakes

I’m a practical marketer . . . since I started my company, I dreamed of a flash site with a custom flash pre-loader. But I remembered how much I actually hate websites with too many bells and whistles. This is the downfall for most graphic designers who dabble in web – they shoot for the moon, but then the site isn’t easy to navigate, hard to track, and a pain-in-the-butt to load if your Internet happens to be running particularly slow that day.

I read a great article in HOW Design Magazine that reaffirmed my belief in clean and simple sites. Their tips included: Don’t use a splash page, don’t use flash throughout the entire site, don’t use small scroll-through text boxes, and don’t overuse animation. Some additional tips I would add include:

1. Whether you’re a small business or a band, pic 5 to 6 topics for your main navigation. Essentials include: Home Page, Product/Services, About Us or Testimonials, and News. If you have 10-20 ideas for your navigation, chances are your promotion plan isn’t focused in a way that a consumer will be able to understand.

2. If you have flash, keep it simple and don’t let it stand in the way of functionality.

3. When thinking about your homepage, think about the four key things you’d say about your business/band in an advertisement and make sure those elements are presented cleanly on your home page through graphics and well-composed, concise text.

4. Implement elements that are easy to update so you site always looks fresh like a blog, news page, event calendar, etc . . . and keep them updated!

5. Collect information! Track Track Track (Google Analytics is free!) and collect your visitors information at some point. Offer a mailing list sign-up, newsletter, etc . . . Don’t forget to include a field to track your marketing efforts like a “How did you find us?” question on your mailing list form.