AIEEEE! The Top 8 Web Design Disasters: Are you sending YOUR visitors screaming?
1999, by Harmony Major

The following eight tips aren't meant to offend, but to teach. I want to help you avoid the same terrible web design mistakes that I made in my first few months online. And, believe me ... when I look back on some of MY first pages, I CRINGE with repulsion!

So brace yourself -- these could get kinda ugly.

DISASTER #8: Center everything down each page.

Centering ALL of your text makes it VERY hard to read, and even harder to pick out the important points. And, other than that, IT'S TACKY!

DISASTER #7: Include at least 50 banners on each page.

I, for one, am impatient. That makes me only one of THOUSANDS of Web surfers that simply WILL NOT WAIT for your banner-laden pages to load. When I visit a site and even see OUTLINES of tons of banners on the home page, I'm on the fast track to a DIFFERENT site. The statistics are true -- you're losing valuable visitors.

DISASTER #6: Make all of the text H - U - G - E.

Assuming at least 50% of the population HAS 20/20 vision, I doubt that this is necessary. It makes your text hard on the eyes, and your pages look less than desirable.

DISASTER #5: Use backgrounds with at least three bright, clashing colors.

Super-retro, clashing patterns and colors make your text hard to read, no matter WHAT color the words are. And, those wavy lines in the background make our heads vibrate. This is NOT "The Groovy Sixties," people. PLEASE spare us -- we need our eyesight for other things!

DISASTER #4: Have absolutely NO way to contact you at all on your site.

If your visitors have questions about the services, products, or resources you offer, they're going to need a simple way of getting in touch with you -- an e-mail address at the VERY least. We won't be happy if your long distance number is the only means of contact on the site.

DISASTER #3: Don't put your name ANYWHERE on your site.

Realistically, you're making visitors feel like Neanderthals when they have to send an email addressed, "Dear ... You." If you want us to trust you enough to buy from you, you'll need to disclose a bit more info than that! Employees of major corporations wear name tags, or have name plates on their desks. An Internet business should be run no differently.

DISASTER #2: Plaster things on your site that have NOTHING to do with its theme.

If a visitor comes to your site after doing a search on Lycos for "free marketing tips," then by-gosh... that's what they'd better find. They didn't come to see the fishing books showcased on your home page, nor did they come to bid at an auction on the One-and-Only Network! Stick to your theme like white on rice. (Please forgive the cliche'. <g>)

And, the number one "Webmaster disaster" that'll send your visitors howling is...

DISASTER #1: Have whirling, spinning, farting, bubbling animations on every page.

Putting animated bullets next to important text is the WORST thing any Webmaster could do. This does absolutely nothing but distract your visitor's eyes away from the info that was intended to get them to subscribe to your newsletter, or buy your products.

"And, just what makes ME Ms. Know-It-All Web Design Woman," you ask?

"Why should you listen to me," you wonder?

Let's just say that I've learned my share of Web design lessons the hard way. Take a look at the page I used when I first started out, compared to my website that I recently designed, and tell me what YOU think. Make sure you let the old page load first before scrolling down. It should only take a second. ;-)


I'll bet you'll be MUCH more inclined to take my expert advice NOW ... after you're done laughing at my home page THEN. To coin a phrase, "I've come a long way, Baby!"


Harmony Major is the author of Yahoo! Secrets, where she reveals how YOU can drive HUNDREDS more visitors to your site each day, by getting a #1 listing on Yahoo. Don't just settle for "getting listed." Use her instantly-effective tactics to boost your site traffic with a TOP Yahoo listing! Visit:

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