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8 Common Website Practices to Avoid

common website mistakes to avoidYou've seen lots of websites do it. Maybe it even bothered you. You may have wondered what small business owner, website developer, or designer thought this feature was a good idea. Yet when it's time to sit down and build your own small business website, you can't help but wonder if you should include some of the very same components. Here's a list of some of the most popular website practices that are never, ever a good idea.

Automatic Audio: You don't know where your users are accessing your site. They could be sitting in a library, standing in an elevator, or holding a sleeping baby in one arm. Even if they're just lounging by themselves in their living room, the fact is, nobody is ever really ready for spontaneous noise. Prevent your potential customers from scrambling for the exit by allowing them to decide if and when they want to play your audio.

Pop-Ups: Whether you're using them to advertise a new product, let others know about your live chat help center, or to ask a viewer if they're absolutely sure they want to leave your site, pop-ups feel like spam, and sites that feel like spam can't be trusted. If you must use a pop-up, only use one, make it easy to exit, and don't make it reoccurring.

Enter Website Here: Having a front door to your website is not only an unnecessary and outdated practice, it's an obstacle to potential customers who want to get information from your "real" home page.  When the average amount of time users spend on a website is only a few seconds, why not get right to the point?

No Search Option: Sometimes viewers come to your website knowing exactly what they want. While lots of menu options, categories, sub-categories, and lists make browsing easy, it can be a pain for the person who has a very specific need. Help your customers out by adding a search bar. If they have to spend more than a few seconds combing through your site, they're more likely to jump onto another site that provides them with the result faster.

Long Pages: Scrolling down the length of the webpage to view all its content used to be the norm (think MySpace), but now this type of presentation is a bit old-fashioned. Modern websites tend to offer most or all the information at first glance, so there's little scrolling involved.

Poorly Placed Contact Info: Having your email address and phone number wrapped up inside a neat graphic might look cool, but your website viewers expect your contact information to be placed somewhere obvious. Keep it under its own menu tab or at the top or bottom of every page.

Misspellings & Typos: One great thing about website builders is that nearly anyone can make a website and have it up and running in just a few hours. Unfortunately, that also means content frequently gets posted with misspellings, grammatical issues, and typos. No matter how established or experienced your business may be, perception is reality, and sloppy wording looks unprofessional.

Random Content: While it's okay to include a touch of your personality in certain parts of your website (Hint: the About Me or Just For Fun section), there shouldn't be a lot of it and it shouldn't be everywhere. Having too much irrelevant content can confuse your customers as well as search engines. Keep the cat videos, movie references, inspirational quotes, etc., to a minimum, unless it directly relates to your business.


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