The Importance Of A Website For Your Business

Websites are extremely important for every business on the planet.  Some research has shown that 85% of a businesses potential customers will search online for them and look at their website prior to contacting them or obtaining goods and services from them.  Therefore, as the potential to get a lot, most or all of your customers from your website, it’s a good idea to make a good first impression.

There is only one thing worse than having no website for your business….. and that is having an awful one!  It is a fact that bad websites lose business.  No matter what you do, a lot of people will derive the quality of what you do or produce from your website.

There are some things that even though, may once have been cool and popular, now make you look completely ridiculous.  Let’s cover a few things that you and your business should not do.

1.  Frames

Frames, frames, frames.  Most web developers and IT professionals curse the day that frames were invented.  You do have to consider whether or not frames are appropriate for your website.  Frames have very limited uses.  I would even go as far as to say that since HTML 4.01, they are completely useless.

Firstly, frames make your website look very 90’s.  And that is not, I repeat not, in a good nostalgic way.  It’s in a ‘I can’t believe we actually used to do that’ way.

Frames are awful for accessibility.  The W3C accessibility validator will likely get that enraged upon checking your page that it will command an almighty force to throw lightening bolts down at your server.  Businesses these days have legal obligations that they must adhere to – these include rules about accessibility.  Screen readers fail with frames.  And ‘designers’ (and I use the term very loosely) that implement them normally don’t get it right.  By using frames, your basically sticking two fingers up at accessibility which will not only lose you custom, but damage the reputation of your website and business.

2.  ‘Las Vegas Style’ writing

Ever watched CSI?  Seen the nice panoramic views of Las Vegas?  Glowy, flashy, fit-inducing text should never been seen outside of Las Vegas, casinos or entertainment establishments.  The one place that they should most definitely never appear is on a website.

For a start, it is annoying.  Again, in the 90’s it was cool – this was because for the previous decade those lucky enough to have an Internet connection had just looked at black text and little else.  So, it was a novelty, that rapidly declined in ‘coolness’ circa 1995.

Secondly, its hard to read.  Your visitors are going to lose the will to live before they manage to decipher the cryptic flashy mess that you have implemented onto your website.

3.  Animated GIFs

Step away from the Animated GIF!  These are just a little bit less annoying than ‘Las Vegas Style’ writing.  There was a reason Macromedia invented Flash.  Yes it’s not perfect, but it’s lightyears ahead of a good old Animated GIF.

If you visitors wanted to watch a cartoon animated GIF, they could go and watch the Disney Channel, which produce much higher quality and interesting cartoons.

Animations are fine (in moderation) but never have I ever seen a necessary implementation of an Animated GIF.  We honestly thought that these had died along with Geocities.

If you don’t agree with us on this, just ask yourself one thing.  Do you ever see Animated GIFs used on popular and successful sites?  Google?  Microsoft?  Facebook?  Wordpress?  Wikipedia?  Manchester United FC?  You get the point, I could go on for at least another 33,000 lines (minimum) of popular sites that do not use them.

4.  Useless Crap.  

Sorry, but there’s no more polite way to get this across.  Useless crap belongs in the bin, hence the name.

All major operating systems have included highly visible clocks since the late 70’s.  There is no need to reproduce a clock on your website, unless you are a time piece specialist, talking clock etc etc.

Websites should include features and interactivity that add to them.  When designing a website you should never, ever include something purely because you think it ‘looks cool’ or you think it will impress people.

News flash – your are going to look like a 10 year old.

5.  Music.  

Unless your a band, entertainer, musician or music retailer, theres no need for background sound.  Even if you are one of these things, you still normally don’t have them.

We have lost count of how many times we have had to have a little chuckle as a website starts playing its ‘inspirational’ music.

It is almost assured that you do not require background music.  And if you do, the user should always be in control.  If I am forced, without control, to listen to the Superman theme tune every time I visit a page on your website (including the incessant restarting when I browse between pages) then I, as a customer, am never going to visit your site again.

Not only that, I am actually going to bookmark your site and place it in a folder called ‘NEVER VISIT!’, just so I never make that mistake again.

Conclusion.  

Humour aside, there is a serious message to all the issues covered above.  We hope that you’ve managed to learn new tips and / or reinforce your knowledge of good and bad web design.

The tips, information and advice above should be followed by every website, both personal and professional.  But these are some of the absolute basic fundamentals that you must take note of if it is a business website.

To illustrate a point, for education purposes (we promise we are not being mean!), this is not how to do it.  This website has committed several extra sins on top of what has been mentioned here.

Final piece of advice – if you know what you are doing, great.  If not, leave web design to the professionals.

Which brings us nicely onto the fact that DPS Computing Limited is launching its new site in the next week and will be offering web design packages at a very competitive price :).

PS – the background music on our ‘how not to do it’ website example is ‘Born to Win’ – available in all good music retailers (somewhere).

Image: gsi_r

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2 Responses

  1. Ben Stones says:

    lol. some website annoyed you David? 😉

    Feel free to visit my amazing design @ inbritech.com 😉 simple, elegant and good use of colours too ;-).

    Good article though, case in point and you’ve pretty much nailed all of the no-dos when designing web sites. My suggestion to people would be to:

    – Make a design elegantly simple but while making it simple, make it feel complete.
    – Good use of colours that match the theme and purpose of your web site and the type of audience that will be regularly visiting your web site.
    – Perfect every single detail – make sure when links are a different colour to standard text (but make it blend nicely), and make different colour shades for click and hover (a:hover and a:active selectors).
    – Use CSS if you can. If you don’t, you’re not going to go very far :p.
    – Do not use excessive floating and absolutely-positioned elements as it will not work well on lower display resolutions
    – Test your designs in other browsers
    – And something that annoys me the most – don’t add 5 trillion keywords on your web site and bold and hyperlink every other word for SEO. it doesn’t work well with visitors, nor intelligent search engines.

  2. DPS says:

    Well actually, I do have to admit that initially, rather than being annoyed, I couldn’t stop laughing.

    And I’m not trying to be mean, just honest! And I am equally not trying to be mean to the webmaster – I just needed an example to illustrate a few points. However this is by no means the only website which commits cardinal sins in web design. Far from it, it is one of many!

    Businesses need websites. They also need websites that work well and look good. Get professionals in to do them – you’ll gain much more custom than it costs!

    Haha Ben, I like your innocent plug for the competition there ;).

    Thanks Ben :).

    And you’ve made some great extra points. CSS has been around for years, and no website should be online without at least one stylesheet. It looks better, has more functionality and saves hours of repetitive coding – anyone remember the fun days of ‘bgcolor=’ * 1,000 for each of your table cells? ;).

    Floaters and absolutes! Floaters aren’t good at the best of times ;). And yeah, absolute positioned divs are similar in many ways to frames and you make a valid point. However, I must stress that an absolute div (that’s a

    with the style “position:absolute” (just in case of any misunderstanding!) is better than a frame any day of the week.

    Testing in other browsers is a definite must, especially for business sites. There are many different browsers being used these days from many different publishers – and not only that there are different types of browsers (mobile, desktop etc). Another good point to make here is look at the stats / logs for your website. Have a look at what browsers your visitors are using – make sure you test your site in each of these browsers and try to cater for the vast majority, if not all, of these browsers.

    And your final point, that is definitely a pet hate of mine also. Plus, not only is it useless in the major search engines, you actually get penalised and in some cases removed from the SERPs.

    Thanks for your contribution of valuable points Ben :). And if you see any “exciting” examples, feel free to share them ;).

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