Top Ten Rookie Mistakes For Homepages

When it comes to web design, several things must be considered before actually building the website. Let's take a look at the top 10 rookie mistakes when creating a personal homepage, so you can avoid making them yourself. Even though these mistakes are in no particular order, they are all equally important to avoid—because you want people to stay on your website.

Use of flashy graphics. Graphics are nice and when used appropriately, they add a nice touch to a website. If you use too many, or heaven forbid, the ones appearing as though an entire box of glitter was spilled on them, visitors will not stay on your site long enough for the rest of it to load. These graphics will take a long time to load, even on fast connections. Whatever you do, avoid using a tiled graphic as your site background. It will send people screaming.

Use of annoying music. Music on websites used to be cool, when websites were brand new. It used to be one of those things people did just because they could. Now, it's incredibly annoying to visit a website where a song or video just starts playing. If you have to use it, let the user choose to play it—having it start forces it on the user, and generally causes them to hit the “back” button just as quickly as they loaded your site.

Bad color scheme choices. Use color schemes relevant to your site information, that are easy on the eye. It makes sense to use pink, purple, and blue because they are your file recovery company colors. Don't use colors because they are “pretty” or “cute” or “look awesome.” If people can't see the site, they're not going to hang out and read it.

Bad font choices. This should follow the same logic as the color scheme choice. Stick to fonts people can read without squinting or without having to stare at their screens from across the room.

Too much going on on the screen. It doesn't matter if you've skipped pictures and sound. If there's too much text on the screen, or too many graphics, users will become overwhelmed—especially if you've committed the previous two design sins, and leave the site. Stick to this checklist for readability if you need help.

Using frames. Frames are so out! Hardly any websites use them anymore, and those that do may as well be stuck in the dark ages. Do not use frames, because many browsers have issues displaying them properly—and that's what led to their web death in the first place. There's no valid reason to use them now, and if you argue there is, you may as well be talking to a wall.

Corny animations, scrolling text, etc. This follows the same principle of the music and glittery graphics mistake. It crowds the screen, providing no real value to the website and says to the user, “Hey, look what I can do! I know how to design websites.” You know what the user probably thinks? “Wow, yeah, okay, this guy needs to hire a pro!” Avoid it all together.

Confusing navigational structure. Users need consistency, meaning all pages should link together, and the place where the user can find these links should remain the same throughout every page. Never leave a page unlinked to another, because users need to be able to move freely around the website at their will. If they can't, they won't move about the site at all.

Opening pages in a new window. Thinking if you open all your links in another window will keep your users on your website is a terrible rookie mistake. You know why? The “back” button. People aren't afraid to use it, and if they don't want to be on your website anymore, they won't be. Stop annoying them with a bunch of windows. Thinking of opening everything in a new tab? This may be a better approach, but probably won't do anything to keep your user there.

The use of splash pages. People may not be the smartest creatures on the planet, but we don't need a page to tell us to click on a button to let us in the website. Websites are not like standing in line at the club, waiting for the bouncer to let you in. They should be accessible as soon as the URL is typed in the address bar and loaded.

Avoid these 10 design mistakes and you're on your way to a fantastic web design!