Web Design Ideas to Stay Away From

website is down
website is down (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Web Design Ideas to Stay Away From

When building your website, you can make it look and feel any way you want it to. However, there are a few habits and decisions that you need to reconsider if you’re building a website to become successful. Your goal will be to entice visitors to stay and absorb your content. If they find the site too difficult to utilize, they will simply move on to a website they are comfortable with. Even if you have world class content, the competition is great on the Internet and visitors don’t have to remain on your website. You need to cater to those you want to target, not force them to live out your personal view of what the page should look like.


In the late 1990s and early 2000s, an 800 pixel width may have been OK to some standards. However, monitors are crossing the 2,000 pixel thresh-hold regularly and sticking to an 800 wide website design doesn’t look well. This is especially horrible if the website is aligned to the right or left. If a website has more than 1/2 of its width as empty white background, then you need to rethink the design. If for some reason you need to keep it a low width, at least center the page so that the content is in the middle. It looks far less tacky that way. If you are concerned about mobile functionality, insert an auto-adjust command that will resize your site or a forwarder to a sub domain designed specifically for them.

Large Fonts

web design meetup
web design meetup (Photo credit: tray)

For the most part, websites usually stick to 12 point font or at least near that area. If you are building websites that are producing 16 point font sizes or larger, it makes the visitor feel like you are either yelling at them or that you are building a website for children. It is also a way to chew up a lot of space and cause visitors to scroll down to read your content. If you have poor eyesight and can’t read your content, don’t make others suffer. You want to keep the visitors attention, not make them feel like they are taking part in a school project. Adjust your own personal font sizes in your browser, but leave the font alone on the site.

Advertisements Galore

Monetizing your website is one thing, but if someone has to sift through a ton of Adsense ads or affiliate banners they will lose interest. Your content needs to be easily found and not buried in a slew of advertisements. You don’t need a banner on every table and doing so will cause visitors to abandon your site. If they are interested in clicking a banner, it doesn’t matter how many are available. 


Breakout Session at Web Content 2009
Breakout Session at Web Content 2009 (Photo credit: I Bird 2)

Unless your website is Pinterest, too many images can distract from your goals. This can also cause visitors to have to scroll through an endless stream of images that they may not care about. One, perhaps two images per 500 words of content should suffice unless you are building a step-by-step tutorial that requires visual aids. When it comes to images, there is such a thing as too much.

The best advice anyone can receive about website development is to be vigilant about observing trends. Watching what other popular sites incorporate can be a sign of things you may need to change on your own. This isn’t saying that you should copy the look and feel of another site, but that you should redefine your own in order to pander to the masses. It’s all about making your visitors happy.

About the Author: 

Ken Myers is an expert advisor on in-home care & related family safety issues to many websites and groups. He is a regular contributor to Go Nannies [dot] com. You can get in touch with him at Email Ken Myers


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