How to Spot an Ineffective Webpage

October 1st, 2012 08:40am CDT by Nathan Schaad

Let me start by stating the obvious: Your webpage is one of the most significant determinants to your online presence. If you do not have a blog and do not participate in social media as a business, it’s your entire online presence. As such, I don’t think you and I need to debate too long as to the importance of having a good website. A good website—one in which time has been invested—will improve your online presence, which will lead to your company having a better reputation, which will lead to more business. So, how do you know if your webpage is doing its job? There are many different theories on what makes a website look “pretty,” but many people are in agreement on the following things that no site should ever do. Take a look around: You’d be surprised how many websites break at least one of these rules.

A web design nightmare

Reverse Type is Bad for Business

First of all, what is reverse type? Black background, white font. We can actually go ahead and generalize that to dark background, light font. What’s so bad about it? Well, it has a lot to do with expectations. When a person reads, they expect to be reading on a white (or very light) background, because that is how books and newspapers are colored. There are many arguments for why reverse type is better on the eyes, but your clients will still be turned off because you have shattered an expectation, and not in a good way. So avoid it, except in very small amounts for affect and contrast.

Not Enough Color (Or Way Too Much!)

Color is a funny thing. If you don’t have anything on your site other than black and white, you run the risk of coming across as boring. However, too many colors will make your visitors extremely uncomfortable. While it is possible to pull off both extremes, it is usually best to stick to a two- or three-color layout for your site, and to then use those colors in a judicious, consistent way.

Clutter

There’s a very basic rule of design: You are done when you have nothing left to take away. Less is more, in other words. Sites with eight hundred banner ads in the sidebar underneath twenty “buy now” links crammed beside a photo album, a YouTube imbed, and social buttons may very well make somebody faint. Which is a public safety hazard. If you see a site like this, you will move away from it quickly, I guarantee it. If you have a site like this, knock it off.

There are many other aspects to design, but somehow these three consistently are broken by otherwise well-meaning business owners. If your site looks like the graphic I posted with this blog, you may want to seek the help of a web designer. We’ll be here if you need us.





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