5 Website Mistakes You Might Be Making

I know. It’s a relief just to have your website just done and up, right?

Maybe you’ve invested a lot of cash into its design. Or maybe you lovingly and painstakingly built it yourself, or with the help of a VA. Now it’s up, and it’s your baby, and like any parent with a new baby, it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.

It’s natural. Looking at our own things, whether it’s a website, a blog piece we’ve written, a brochure, our living rooms–it’s difficult to stand back and assess them objectively. We’re too attached.

But in being that attached, you miss opportunities for better website conversions–you know, translating site visits into paying customers. Your site might scare off a prospect before you even get to say hello. Or maybe it creates confusion and ambiguity, sending that person into the arms of a competitor.

Chin up, darling, there’s good news: I’ve got 5 common mistakes most new business owners make with their websites, and the fixes.

And when we’re done? I’ve got a special treat for readers of the Mogul Mom.

So let’s check out those mistakes, yes?

1. Non-essential website pages

Do you really need a home page and an about page? If your home page serves up only a paragraph of text, and doesn’t usefully guide people to critical parts of your site, you might consider housing your “about” text here, too, particularly if your site is small.

Here’s an example of a good home page, by Lea Woodward:

See how it uses chunks to help steer people toward her various offerings?

If you don’t have an equal level of offerings, and your home page text almost feels like a placeholder, consider either making it the about page and nixing a separate about page or making it the home of your blog, if you have one.

And while we’re at it, any pages you have ‘under construction’? Those are like your granny undies — hide them from public view. If you’re working on a wordpress site, as many small businesses do, you can easily do this by changing your page’s status from “published” to either “private” or “draft.” If it doesn’t offer anything useful for a visitor, take it down.

2. You’ve left your personality at home.

Your site’s copy is bland. It doesn’t reflect your beautiful nature, quirky humor, and warm way with people.

If you’re a coach, consultant or otherwise work in a profession where your personality is integral to your work, it’s vital your site’s copy reflects this.

Not sure how to speak in your own voice? You can hire a copywriter who can not only write in your voice, but help you sell, or you can work on it yourself, using these copywriting tips.

Oh, and by the way: you need your picture on the site somewhere, too, so your visitors feel a warmer connection to you. The sidebar or about page are two good spots.

3. Your navigation. Where is it?

I come to your site, and I don’t know how to get around. Your navigation is either difficult to read because of its low contrast colors, or the titles don’t make sense, or you aren’t helping gently nudge me to the best spots on your site.

Clear navigation is critical. Don’t get fancy here. It needs to be heavily readable, in a large enough typeface, and use short, pithy words. Put it somewhere near the top of the page, too,

Here’s a good navigation structure for a small business website:

Home
About (but see tip #1! πŸ™‚ )
Blog (if you have one. Or you could call it Articles, too)
Services (you are selling something, right?)
Products (if you have products, too, use both)
Contact

All those are clear words. They’re patterns. They might seem boring to you, like the words everyone else uses, but everyone else using them is a good thing. The expectations of your visitor are that websites follow similar patterns. If you jolt a visitor too much out of her comfort zone, she may subconsciously correlate that confusion with your business. And as any marketing master will tell you, “a confused mind always says no.”

4. Sidebar madness

Maybe you read an article I wrote before on Mogul Mom, about sidebar and site clean up?

A cluttered sidebar is one of the single biggest website crimes I see. And what it leads to is overwhelm. People’s eyes don’t know where to go, so they shut down completely. Everything blurs into nothingness.

Make your sidebar’s components purposeful. Use it to help navigate your blog, if you have one, and use it to collect newsletter sign ups, briefly describe your site, and offer ways to contact you (Facebook, Twitter, etc).

I’ll go into this a bit more in tip 5, but be leery of social add ons that add weight and more clutter (for example, huge Facebook “like” panels with 20 faces). While social proof can help give you authority, too much of it detracts from your ability to convert customers. It distracts.

5. Beware the bells and whistles.

Have you seen those fancy bars at the bottom of some websites that encourage visitors to add the site on Facebook or other social places? No matter where you scroll, they stay still at the top or bottom strip of the site.

I’m sure I could find a few marketing folks who will argue with me all day that those bars, and their cousins, help boost social presence, but I’m drawing a line in the sand here to say that the more bells and whistles you put on your site, the more authority you lose.

It’s hard to take a website seriously with too many moving parts.

Think about how big brands approach their sites. These are, in general, trusted brands, and everything on the site is created to further enhance the brand.

So you don’t see things like “my latest music!” that plays Eminem’s latest rant, or the aforementioned bar, or weird and fancy links. They distract too much from the main message and goal of the site. I know, it’s tempting to think they might help engage a visitor more or that the bells and whistles make your site look more sophisticated. But really, they don’t.

And here’s the other thing about bells and whistles: they slow down your site’s loading time. The slower your load time, the more likely a visitor is to jump ship.

As a side tip: watch the number of plugins you add into your wordpress back end. These can often contribute to slower load times, too.

A super special free offer for mogul mom readers

Now that you know some of the top website mistakes, I want to give three mogul mom readers the chance to get a public site review from me.

Two weeks from now, I’ll follow through on this post with a series of reader site reviews. Each week, after March 20, I’ll review one site right here on The Mogul Mom.

We’ll look at both what’s working, and what could use improvement on your site, and I promise to be kind about it.

So how do you get to be one of the 3?

Leave a comment below, and tell us some of the biggest website mistake you see on other sites. We’ll choose 3 readers randomly from the comments, and feature one each week for 3 weeks. Your site will get exposure, and you’ll get specific tips and tweaks to make it even better.

So, what mistakes do you see on sites around the web? Share them in the comments for your chance to win a free public site review.

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Reese Spykerman

Website Designer at Reese Spykerman
Reese Spykerman does design and branding for businesses and blogs large and small. If you want to kick your website’s look up a notch to look more stylish and sophisticated, check out her fabulous new website headers.
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78 Comments

  1. Amanda

    Any website that has a black background or music – I’m out! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Lol. Black backgrounds make my eyes go a little crazy. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Mom @ Cube2Farm

    Thank you for the tips!
    I can’t stand it when the whole screen of my browser is taken up with someone’s logo and photos. I want to get to the meat of the website!

    Reply
  3. Kathy bailey

    Do I really need to fill out a form and create a password to be able to enter every website I come to? Its like being held hostage. I have enough passwords to try and keep straight. I don’t need another one.

    Reply
  4. Irini

    I don’t like when the home page of a website has too much information or too many drop down buttons and just is filled with too much different information.

    Reply
  5. Rose

    Hi Reese, What a great article. My pet hate on websites is a dark background colour (sometimes black) that makes it really difficult to read the text. I go for simplicity and clarity and dark backgrounds don’t give clarity.
    Best Wishes, Rose

    Reply
  6. Jamielyn Nye

    Thanks for all the great tips! I’d love for you to check my website out.. I’m sure it could use A LOT of improvements. πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  7. Alissa

    I don’t like clicking and clicking to get to the main “point”. This happens on radio stations, click here to listen, click– then click here! Just let me click once!!!

    We just rebuilt our website and it needs help. We did a jdeal.com site and the response was, “people don’t seem to like your site.” I asked why, and they didn’t have an answer to give us. Constructive criticism is wonderful, we all want to know why it isn’t working, what attracts a person to a site, why do they stay on a site.

    Using google analytics is fine and dandy, but sometimes you want examples instead of just percentages of click through times and bounced rates. There are so many instructions on those sites, unless you have a “computer” brain you can’t digest the nitty gritty.
    Thanks!

    Reply
  8. karen

    1. Ads. Ads. Ads.
    2. Huge Pop Up FREE eBook or Webinar Sign-Up Screen that scares me half to death while I am just getting to the juicy part of the article.
    3. Hidden Contact Page or NO Contact Page

    Reply
  9. nasrine

    Hiya from sunny Dubai! I know tastes can be differ according to the demographics. For example, several of the sites in the region that I live in that are popular, are slow, have music, shameless self-promotion and not a lot of value shining through (e.g. free information that is creditable). Yet, the graphics, photos and other creative elements are potent. I personally don’t enjoy the music, or how slow some sites can be. However, at times I find one of the biggest challenges I have is maintaining global standards AND catering to my market in a robust, empowering and success manner.

    Reply
  10. Hannah Marcotti

    Great post!!!

    For me it’s when I can’t figure out what the person is about, who are they. I don’t want to dig for it. And I love a good niche, when it’s broad I fade away.

    Love to manifest this one.

    Reply
  11. Annette Frey

    Black background with light colored text. I don’t even attempt to read them, and they usually tend to be very wordy too.
    Videos that are so completely off message or with many distractions or activity in the background that are completely unrelated to the message.

    Reply
  12. Victoria Dixon

    Being a Mum working from home who does everything myself from my marketing, admin, orders, to updating my website I find this post so informative!

    I also cannot stand music on websites! Seems to be a very common complaint!

    I hate it when I am shopping online and it takes me forever to locate information I may need, such as what do they accept for payment – where do they deliver too…things like that! I quite frankly don’t have the time to be tunneling through a site trying to find simple information that should be obvious to a customer.

    Colours really do create a mood on a website and I can’t stand coming across a website with garish colours or any colour text against black!

    Reply
  13. Ainslie Hunter

    Hi Heather and Reece

    My pet peeves are:
    1. Music that plays automatically
    2. An introductory vanity page that just says “click here”
    3. Flash sites

    Ainslie

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Awesome! Thanks for stopping by Ainslie! πŸ™‚

      Heather

      Reply
  14. ellen

    When there are too many unnecessary words on a page/pages and I can’t find the information that I need/want. Especially if I have linked to their page from another site for a specific item.
    Then I can’t click a
    link to their email address to ask a question.

    Thanks for all your great information!

    Heather…you rock!

    Reply
  15. Alexis Neely

    Hi gals! Thanks for doing this. The biggest mistake I see people make on their home page is to not have anyway for people to opt-in to their email newsletter list. The #1 best way to build a strong foundation into your business is to build yourself a list of people who want to hear from you by email (and even better by mail) on a regular basis. Many people are scared of doing it for a variety of reasons or don’t know how important it is, so they don’t. I would LOVE Reese to review my site. We are about to incorporate three of my sites into one, which is totally freaking me out because there is so much to incorporate, but I’m ready for full integration of all my parts. πŸ™‚ xoxo

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Hey Alexis!

      So fun to see you here on The Mogul Mom. πŸ™‚

      I agree with you – no opt-in is a biiiiig mistake, no matter what kind of business you’re in.

      Back when I was selling Swaddleaze & Blankeaze, I had two lists – one for my customers and one for my wholesalers. It was an awesome way to build sales on both sides. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for stopping by!

      xo,
      Heather

      Reply
  16. Diana Gailing

    Sorry about the mistake!!LOL
    Here is the correct twitter link.

    Reply
  17. Diana Gailing

    Wow, there are all great comments. I’m learning already so much.
    One of the major flaws I’ve seen in some websites is a lack of a phone number at the customer service department. It would be nice to have the option of speaking to someone when you need immediate help.
    The problem I see when there is only a email for customer service, sometimes you get a response two or three days later.
    The other flaw I find in some websites is when you have to click an “Enter” button to get to their homepage, and it’s taking a long time to load.
    Thanks Mogul Mom for another inspiring post!

    Reply
  18. Tanja Kraus

    Its pretty basic – but having your phone number / contact details on the front page. At least half the times I log onto a website is simply so I can call them, It really irks me when I have to click 3 or 4 times just to get a contact #.

    Reply
  19. Jeannie Spiro

    What a great post and opportunity. I’d have to say that one of the issues I see with other sites is that there is too much content on the landing page. We simply don’t have enough time to read much in this fast paced social media world. As a busy momentrepreneur I appreciate pages that are easy to read, visually appeal and easy to navigate.

    Can’t wait to see the upcoming site reviews!

    Reply
  20. Jasmine

    I must agree that when a site/blog has ads running in between every article I turn and run. Music or sound – videos that play right away as a I open a page are distracting to those around me and I often close the page right away so they aren’t bothered by the sound.
    I look forward to your site reviews in the coming weeks!

    Reply
  21. Terra

    My biggest pet peeve – besides the ever-annoying auto-play of embedded music and videos – is a lack of symmetry and white pace within a page. Clutter isn’t pleasing, yes, but worse for me, is seeing a site plentiful with boxes of various sizes, widths, colours and fonts. It actually makes me shudder and even click away without reading the content.

    Reply
  22. Annette Piper

    Sites that have poor quality photos (not close enough/ not focused / too dark) when they’re trying to sell a product is my biggest annoyance. Followed closely by sites with music or flash images that take an age to load ; poor navigation so that I can’t find what I want ; unprompted pop-ups, like ‘sign up for our newsletter’ ; pages that never seem to end (scrolling, scrolling, scrolling); too much information and cluttered looking pages so that my eyes glaze over; not enough information (what material is made from, how big is it). I’m hard to please, aren’t I ? But I’m sure I’m doing wrong things, just because I don’t personally LIKE it, doesn’t mean I’m always right!!!

    Reply
  23. adriana casey

    The biggest mistake I see is people not putting a clear call to action to subscribe (email or RSS). If the goal is to get more readers, make it easy to come back for more. I’m in the process of updating my site and would love a review. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  24. Andrea Ballard

    What a great post! My pet peeve is an overloaded blogroll – list of links. If someone recommends 20-30 other blogs I should read it’s too much and I don’t even know where to start. I wish they woudl list 3-5 and then maybe change it weekly or monthly.

    Reply
  25. Ronae Jull

    Wow – I so enjoyed this post, as well as the comments from my fellow bloggers! As a fairly new blogger, coming to this with zero tech skills, I am constantly tweaking my site to make it better based on what I like or don’t like on others’ sites.

    A few of my pet peeves: ads all over, definitely. The music thing just plain bugs me and I leave. And the “sliders” and popups.

    Like others here I would be honored to have a review of my site! It is daunting sometimes to do what it takes to keep a blog site professional, welcoming, and effective. Would love to hear your take.

    ~RJ

    Reply
  26. Fi Phillips

    Ooh, where do I start? I deal with a lot of am dram groups and I’m always delighted to see them utilise an online presence. However, the quality of many of the sites (or lack of it) often stand out to me more than the subject matter of the site itself – garish colours, badly produced images, text that hasn’t been updated for several months (I don’t want to hear about their forthcoming Christmas production when it happened six months ago) and fancy fonts that are difficult to read. Having said that, there are an increasing number of professional looking am dram group blogs and websites which is great.

    My website has gone through a number of reincarnations as I’ve learnt more from my customers. Hope you like it.

    Reply
  27. Sharon Silver

    I hate any site that is one looong sales page. I think, “don’t you know we just scroll to the bottom to see the price!”
    I HATE any site that makes it difficult to unsubscribe or find contact information.
    I really hate sites that are difficult to read. I’m on the computer all day,my eyes are tired, make it easy please. Like the commenter above said, NO BLACK with white writing!

    Reply
  28. Michelle Fulcher

    I’m sure I could use a review too! I’m a photographer so I love looking at other people’s photography sites, and aside from the automatic music- having HUGE photos that take forever to load on a blog- yes, I’m sure the photographer wants to show their images with the most impact but the loading time is ridiculous!

    Reply
  29. Amy Johnston

    I don’t like website with sound or music that play automatically.

    I would love for someone to review my site. I hope I win. Thanks!!

    Reply
  30. Michelle @ MotherTongues

    Wonderful article, thanks! And comments!
    Some of my pet peeves:
    Black background with text in a color that is impossible to read,
    Links for other sites that take you to a totally different site, in the SAME window, so making it very difficult to get back to where you were reading,
    Fonts that look like kid’s writing (ie impossible to read).
    Thank you!

    Reply
  31. lisa

    anytime i enter a website that has anything ‘blinking’
    i leave pronto!
    thanks, [email protected]

    Reply
  32. Staci

    Great article! I think I’m guilty of the overloaded sidebar, but when I recently tried changing it my Etsy, Facebook and Flickr visits decreased. I’m with everyone else on the music and ads. Another one that bugs me is when a writer uses all lower case. Makes my eyes go crazy!

    Reply
  33. Elise Adams

    Great post…thoughtful and very helpful since I’m constructing my site DIY with WordPress. Thanks for including tips and thoughts on DIY sites!!

    My pet peeves are:

    1. No ‘about’ page…once I am intrigued with a blog or site I want to know a little bit about who is behind the site. Sometimes there is a super-short bio in a ‘welcome’ section, but I’m a story teller and I always find myself wishing for a bit more about the person/personality behind a business or concept.

    2. Bad writing. I’m sure I’m guilty of this too–it’s very frustrating to be really intrigued by a concept, tag line or banner then scroll down to find terrible writing. Things such as run-on sentences, misspelled words or dry, impersonal facts are true disappointments. I benefit from frequent writing help (edits from friends and better writers than myself) otherwise I’m afraid a writing-lover such as myself would also bore and terrify my readers πŸ˜‰

    And I’m hoping, hoping, hoping for a site-review! I find it difficult to get honest feedback. My fans already love me and so do my family! So I need the low-down about how to improve my site from an expert who won’t mince words!

    Reply
  34. JennBrown

    I know I should want to win a review but at the same time, I’m sure when its over I will want to pretend I am just the contact person for the site…lol
    My pet peeve, by far, is when a site thinks I need to HEAR someone tell me the info with one of those energetic people that pop up in the bottom of your screen(I’m sure they have a name but I have no clue, nor do I care, what it is) As soon as they start moving, the race is on to see if I can get out of there before they speak their first word!

    Reply
  35. Fiona

    Oh, all of the above! What a great read, Reese! Music irritates, especially when the kids have left the speakers at full volume and it makes me jump out of my chair! I’ll leave the site immediately, rather than try to find their widget to turn it off or down. Another thing is that bar at the base which stays in place and makes reading the bottom of the screen difficult. They are more blog things than website tricks though. On a website, I think the most user-unfriendly activity is too many links. I have clothing website and try to only have a few links to my collections in my main menus – beyond those, i do specify different categories of clothing, but I have visited some websites that have links down their main menu of 15 different types/themes of clothing – it’s just too difficult, so I leave them too!
    I would LOVE you to pick me! I’ve been working on my website a lot recently and am too close to it, as you mentioned. An objective point of view would be terrific!
    Thanks Reese!

    Reply
  36. Ted Truscott

    I hate small print and coloured text on black.

    I see that , I’m out of there!!!

    Reply
  37. amy

    birds chirping = the worst !

    this is helpful info. i really like simple websites, but some content really does look fun and festive (while remaining read-able). I’m striving for my own happy place.

    Reply
  38. L. Reeves

    I have to agree with the bars at the top and bottom of the screen, that’s never goes away along with music playing. The music annoys me more than anything. I did read something in the comments about what I’m guilty of doing is placing a Google adsense below the header. I guess, I’m still naive, because I don’t see what’s wrong with that. I’m still learning. Love your article, something to think about and fix issues myself. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  39. Aimee

    My biggest pet peeve are those scrolly things like you mentioned and those pop up sign up for my newsletter windows as soon as I open the site. Hate those. The music is another. And really busy backgrounds that make it impossible to see anything on the site.

    The copy I can let slide because I’m not the best copy writer in the world. As long as it gives me the relevant info I need I’m good.

    Reply
  40. Kidlutions: Solutions for Kids

    Perfect timing, since I am in the middle of a re-vamp for my site. As one of the lowest-tech gals around, I’m happy to be able to use a WYSIWYG program for my site. That said, I’m still in my infancy when it comes to site design, spacing, white-space, site guides, etc. I still don’t know if I’m doing it “right”, but I am doing it and I guess that’s the first step! I recently re-did my home page and one other page. Many more pages yet to go.

    My own pet-peeves when visiting other sites:

    1. MUSIC – Ugh! Never enjoyed clicking on a site with blaring background noise. I think it detracts from the whole site. My personal opinion…and I’m sure others beg to differ.

    2. Difficult to Navigate – This is one (gulp) that I may be guilty of myself!

    3. Outdated information: Again, guilty as charged, myself! I really need to get a grip!

    Problem is…we are all so busy with competing demands…and maybe day jobs, too….and kids that need be carted in three different directions for sporting events…that we throw something up and feel it is sufficient. I certainly know how that goes. I’m always looking to improve…so I appreciate the opportunity.

    Thanks,
    Wendy =)

    Reply
  41. Ana

    Ok, I’m guilty! I have ads on top before my articles. I will remove them immediately! πŸ™‚
    Well, actually I wasn’t sure what kind of work my site needs, I could sure use some help. It’s a new site and I’m trying to make it reader friendly. I’ve been modifying it slowly and this article and the comments have been a great help.

    Reply
  42. Jenifer Gallagher

    Great post! It IS daunting to build, and then maintain a website. Thanks for reminding me to think like a customer when approaching my own website–excellent strategy.

    My number one peeve regarding websites/blogs/the world is misspellings & grammar mistakes. I hesitate to buy from a site with either. There are some small errors that can happen in the best edited NY Times articles, but mistakes scream unprofessional, and why would I trust you with my money or believe that you’re an expert if you don’t take the time to proofread? I had a hard time sleeping the night after someone pointed out a spelling mistake on my site. . .I’d love a site review!

    Maintaining an outstanding website is like keeping the weight off–not as intense as the diet, but grinding nonetheless. Having a site you’re proud of is just as amazing as looking great in the skinny jeans, and makes handing out business cards a lot easier!

    Reply
  43. Kelly Marston

    Great information to keep in mind. Our website is three years old now and it is so hard to try to stay on top of the trends, what is expected, what is overkill. We just redesigned our home page so that it has current information and pulls people into the site more, though nowhere close to the example in #1.

    Reply
  44. Heather Hill

    Love your post! You would think that many of these things are just common sense.

    I have a few things I like to add that I see as mistakes.

    1) MUSIC! UGH nothing like sitting quietly at my computer once the kids go to bed, only to have some music or audio blaring out of my computer! Scares the crap out of me and threatens to wake up my kids.

    2) Hard to find contact information. I shouldn’t have to search to find out how to contact you

    3) About me information that gives me no clue of who you are and what you stand for. I’m more likely to follow you if I can relate to you.

    Thanks for this opportunity!

    Reply
    • reese

      Hey heather. I hear you on the contact information. Good one! I think people also really struggle with about pages. They’re tough to write. One of the sites referenced in this article (leawoodward.com) has a service that writes them for you. I think if the page is really a struggle for a person to write, that can be helpful. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  45. Penelope

    The music that starts blaring on my computer while I’m surfing in the middle of the night. Makes me pee in my pajamas! I just moved to WordPress and would love some pointers! What is the twitter plugin you use here?

    Reply
    • reese

      hi penelope,
      there are lots of twitter plugins. Do a search in your plugins page for some, and see which turn out to be the best rated. Play around until you find one you like. πŸ™‚

      Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Hey Penelope,

      The Twitter plugin I use is . πŸ™‚

      Heather

      Reply
  46. Ryka

    Hello All, first my pet peeves or dislikes are crummy photos,not that I have the best ones but I do try real hard,when I see the color backrounds they look like someone needs to try their scene balance when they are editing photos. I had to learn this the trial and error way.AUGH ALL CAPS omg I did this for a long time and I am still recouperating from it.Basically it was just me trying to hide the fact that I didn’t want to try to form real sentances correctly. I still have to make some time to retype my profile…And another thing too many things out of order in each section. For instance supplies that have ten sections this one section has findings for jewelry and before you get to the ones you want you have to weed through pages of other stuff that your not looking for. I know if you go to the top of the page for this shop you can narrow down your search in this shop but they tag all the stuuf almost the same. after 2+ years here at Etsy I also need to move around items in each section. Ok one more thing sob stories. I think thats all.that was good felt a bit like venting. Thank-You Ryka

    Reply
    • reese

      hey Ryka, good vent. Haha.

      Yes, I, too, hate it when shops have tags (e.g. in etsy) that are all the same. People could really use more specific categorization for what they sell–it will help them sell more!

      Reply
  47. Wendi Gratz

    Music that plays automatically, Google ads all over the dang place, and a bunch of social media widgets in the sidebar. I’d love to know you’re on Facebook, but just give me a link. I don’t need to know what your last update was and see pictures of all your friends.

    Reply
    • reese

      seems like music and adwords are winning the annoyances in today’s poll πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  48. Nan @ Playful Decor

    Great article. The dead links don’t bother me too much ( I have some as I’m still working on developing my blog), but the extra bells & whistles do! Those new social bars at the bottom really slow down my computer, I hate automatic music playing, any color text on a black background I just can’t read and all the underlined words in the body text are really distracting to me – not sure if that’s Adwords or Adsense? I don’t mind a few sidebar promotions as long as they have clean lines and not too flashy. Would love a review of my blog: Playful Decor. Thanks!

    Reply
    • reese

      I, too, hate things that slow my computer. Sometimes too much javascript on the page crashes my poor Firefox. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  49. Lila

    Perfect timing for me ! And yes i could use some thoughtful insights since it is an homemade website… It could be improved for sure …. But you have to start somewhere ! Hoping to be chosen , thank you for your help.

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Lila – I love the “may contain traces of childhood dreams” on your site. πŸ™‚

      Heather

      Reply
  50. Barbara Brown

    I also hate the automatic music — nothing makes me leave faster!

    Reply
    • reese

      oh, movie sites do this all the time, and I hate it!

      Reply
  51. Vicki Childs

    LOVE this post! It’s a kick up the butt which has prompted me to action … exactly what I want (and have come to expect from the MogulMom)
    Thank you for keeping me on the straight and narrow and keeping me focused on what’s important! πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    • reese

      HI Vicki,
      You’re welcome! Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚
      reese

      Reply
  52. Jill Leech

    One of the biggest mistakes that I see on websites is too much information and not organized in nice “bite sized ” chunks. I am a visual learner so I want to see pictures and less verbiage. This is a great post because I can already see where I may need to make changes and I would LOVE a pro to take a look at my site! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • reese

      pictures are a great idea, Jill. They also help move the eye around the page better. Pictures with a bit of text over them are particularly nice πŸ™‚

      Reply
  53. Christine

    I personally can’t stand websites that are click-happy. If you click on something it takes you to one page, if you add it to your cart it takes you to another. Then when you want to “continue shopping” you back to the home page. Really? Grrrr….it’s sooo annoying! I like websites like Bath & Body Works where they have an “Express Add” button and you can see your shopping cart without leaving the page your on. Now that’s convenience!!

    Reply
    • reese

      oooh that’s a good one. I, too, like the express checkout choices on shopping sites. I think amazon and my registrar both do this well. Whereas Godaddy is king of “20 clicks and upsells until you check out”.

      Reply
  54. NIcolle Irving

    I notice that self-built pages, like mine, are not frequently updated with the newest pics and events. I am very busy, and sometimes I do not update my site. Therefore, the site loses momentum and it is not a cool place to check out regularly — (this especially stinks for someone in my field – the visual and performing arts!!! EEK!) Help with this??? Also…how do you make the visual and performing arts NOT so artsy that it gets cluttered and hard to navigate? Appreciation, N

    Reply
    • reese

      hi nicolle,
      sometimes you don’t need to always update, especially if they aren’t running blogs.

      but, if you are positioning a site as a blog, and you find it difficult to update frequently, you might try the following:
      1. put in a twitter stream somewhere instead.
      2. rename your blog to ‘articles’ and leave the date off it/them. That way your good content is there, but the expectation of frequent posting gets addresses.

      for your visual/performing arts, here is a lovely example of a woman who is a brilliant artist, whose site is also quite calm:
      http://www.bantjes.com/

      Reply
      • NIcolle Irving

        Great insight, Reese, thanks so much! I do not utilize Twitter much, but will start to now!

        Reply
  55. Rebecca

    I personally can’t stand sites that have music that plays automatically. If I wanted to hear music, I would open up my iTunes and listen to my own music. When I come across these sites, I usually leave right away. In my opinion, if you absolutely MUST have music on your site, leave it as an option for your visitors to press “play.”

    We just had our whole website redone and I’m trying to build up our blog. I would LOVE a site review to see if we’re on the right track.

    Reply
    • reese

      Rebecca, those sites have given me near heart attacks on more than one occasion! LOL

      Reply
  56. Karl Staib

    Some of the biggest mistakes I see websites doing is having too big of a banner up top. They push everything that is sticky down the page and some of the best stuff stays below the fold. I also agree with Faith, blogging isn’t about slapping up ads and hoping people click on them. Every blogger must get to know their readers and how they like to interact with a site.

    I’m presently trying to build up my presence on a fairly new blog. It’s weird starting from ground zero after not having started a new blog in over 3 years.

    I hope that I win because I know my blog needs some design help.

    Reply
    • reese

      hey Karl, so nice to see you here. Yeah, those top banners–I think for some affiliate type sites are big money makers. But for most sites, goodness. It’s not worth the pennies you receive to degrade your brand like that!

      Reply
  57. Faith | Minimalist at Home

    These are some great things to keep in mind.

    I cannot stand sites that have Google Adsense ads right below their header so I see ads before I see ANY of their site content. Shoving them between every article is annoying too. Maybe they get an extra 2 cents that way but I leave immediately.

    Reply
    • reese

      Hey faith, I hear you! I see adsense, and my subconscious immediately thinks “spammer”!

      Reply

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