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Remember what Mom said when you were a kid and you wanted to do something all your friends were doing? “If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you?” Wanting your site to look or work the same as another site should come with that same warning because most websites fail to grab visitors’ attention.
So how do you know what websites you shouldn’t imitate? We’ve made a list of seven styles of sites you should never follow.
“The Las Vegas”
It’s bright, flash, and tacky, but lacks the gambling and booze that makes the real Vegas a party.
Rather than telling the visitor about the benefits the site overwhelms the visitor with as many graphics as possible.
- Big images, huge images, and ginormous images
- More colors and flash than Richard Simmons’ wardrobe
“The School Play”
Sure it’s cute if it’s your own, but it’s inhumane to force someone else sit it through it.
This is the site with a flash intro that has no “skip intro” link, took 2 minutes to load, and drags on endlessly.
- Animations and photos that are vague or having nothing to do with your business
- Numerous adjectives flying around the screen.
- Website users leaving after 10 seconds
It would be easier to understand Yoda reading the complete works of William Shakespeare than to interpret this drivel.
Rather than concisely stating what they do in less than 20 words, this site heaps on the business buzzwords making it unintelligible.
- Use of phrases like “…your single-source provider for turn-key solutions and synergistic partnerships”
- Visitors wondering what you do
“The Ransom Note”
A three-year-old considers it a goal to use every color while finger painting, and this site applies the same logic to its design.
Using every font in every color does not convey a professional message. It makes the business look like a kidnapper demanding money.
- 72 point bold Comic San… in red
- Yellow text on a white background
You have a better chance of finding a plot in a porno than finding what you’re looking for on this site.
When the visitor first comes to this site they have hope they’ll find what they want because there are links to everything. However, the navigation is confusing and they leave because they find nothing.
- Links, links, and more links
- Did I already look at this page?
- Phone calls that start, “I couldn’t find it on your site…
“The Ghost Town”
The Smithsonian isn’t looking for the oldest web sites still in existence.
The site makes visitors wonder if you’re still in business. (See Mistake 4: The ghost town web site for more details)
- Text stating “Site last updated in 2002”
- An animated “Under Construction” graphic
“The Social Media Whore”
This website is desperate to tell everyone how kewl* it is because there are links to every social network on the web.
*If you spell cool “kewl,” you aren’t.
It’s fine to have a couple of links to Facebook and Twitter. It’s not ok to have dozens of social media links everywhere. All this does is send visitors off of the site, where they quickly become distracted by some YouTube video of a monkey falling out of a tree.
- Body copy that reads like a teenage girl’s text message. OMG!
- Abundant use of the word “Tweets”
- Facebook “Like” links on everything.