One Small Step for You, One Giant Leap for Your Website

We’ve compiled a list of the 13 most common ways Webgarden users scare their visitors away, along with our advice on how to prevent or fix such shortcomings.
1. Poor Choice of Design Template
You can have everything else right on your website, but if the “jacket” you’ve chosen isn’t fitting, your website will not accomplish its mission. When selecting a design template take the time to really consider whether to prioritize your own personal tastes or the tastes of your target audience.
Remember that the visual aspects of your website play the biggest role in a visitors first impression, which is crucial. Try to find the template that best represents you and perhaps even hints at the content of your website.
Once you’ve added text, graphics, etc. to the website, you can carefully gradually change, add, or remove individual design elements. However, when you do this, it is necessary to think about the visual character of the selected template and modify it so that the color, font, and style of the individual elements fit in with the chosen template and with the focus of your website. This still leaves many possibilities for more advanced designers to express themselves. Webgarden’s goal is to make it possible for everyone to have their own original website.
2. The Homepage Doesn’t Impress
The mission of the homepage is to visually attract and to persuade visitors at first glance that they have found what they are looking for. Then visitors won’t even need to search for your competition, they’ll gladly return to your website and recommend it to others.
In order to accomplish this, you should make your homepage functionally and aesthetically “impressive.” If you have already chosen the right design template, now you need to:
a) Add images that enhance the visual effect of the template and give the website its own identity. To do this, you can design and create your own header image and/or a company logo.
b) Provide your visitors with an optimally balanced amount of information on the homepage. Too much information can be distracting, but too little information can be awkward and does not inspire confidence. For each element evaluate whether it makes sense for the reader.
If you master both a) and b), you will have successfully positioned yourself with a quality, well-thought-out, and functional homepage.
3. The Menu Is Too Long
No universal rule exists as to how many links a menu should have, but in practice, if a menu has more than 7 links your visitors will have to look harder to find what they want. The are a couple of ways you can solve this problem. Choose the right one based on your specific situation.
First, reduce the number of categories. Look at the menu through the eyes of a visitor and try to determine which links they usually look for, and on the other hand, which are less necessary.
If you fail to “slim down” your menu sufficiently, it’s possible to divide it in two. You could then have one horizontal menu in the header and a vertical menu in one of the side columns. But split up the menu in a way that makes sense, for example, general information versus products or a section for customers versus one for suppliers.
Another option is to use an expandable menu. With this menu style, only the first level of categories are initially visible. The subcategories are displayed when you hover over their parent category.
If the names of the categories, documents, etc. on your website are too long, they often don’t fit nicely in the allotted spaces (including the menu). In these cases labels wrap and disorderly climb out of their invisible or marked boundaries, making the website look very amateur.
The remedy for this is quite simple. Long multi-word labels should be replaced by shorter, more concise variants. At first it may be a headache to choose the right alternative, but the end result will be worth the effort.
5. The Pages Are Too Long
Do readers have to scroll down for a while before they get to the end of a page? Then something could be wrong. Again, although there is no universal rule as to how long a page should be, the information located further down the page will be read less, and you can even assume that most visitors will never scroll down that far.
If you see that one of your pages is too long, there’s no reason to hang your head. The first line of action is to reduce the amount of information. Ask yourself the following question - What do visitors really want to know and what really interests them? Then select your content accordingly.
If you fail to sufficiently reduce the content, you can separate it into multiple categories or documents with concise headings which will provide an overview and clear order.
It’s also possible to divide an article, or other piece of content, into multiple pages - page numbering will appear beneath the content. And here is yet another little trick. If you place some sort of useful or interesting element below the content or perhaps even directly in the footer, once visitors notice it they will be motivated to look over the entire page, the whole way to the bottom.
6. Banner and Logo = Home
It is an unwritten rule of the web that your banner, company logo, and company name in the header should click through to your homepage. This is a detail which saves visitors time and facilitates easy orientation of your website.
Click on each of these elements, go to the Advanced tab, and where it says Link, insert the symbol /. This ensures that when visitors click on your banner, logo, or company name they will be directed to your homepage.
On Webgarden there are four static blocks available - the header, the left column, the right column, and the footer. However, in most cases using all of these static blocks at once is unnecessary and causes more harm than good. For most websites it is enough to have just a header plus one other static block.
Static blocks take precious space away from your content block. If you use both the left and right columns at the same time on your website, the content block will be reduced to a minimum. When you view the website the images will be smaller, the headings may wrap in an undesirable way, and it will be more difficult to read your content.
8. Low Quality Photographs
The technical quality of your photographs can either give your website a professional look or do just the opposite. Devote attention to two important features of your photographs - the resolution and data size.
For an ordinary photo gallery (like a family photo album or shots from your last vacation) we recommend reducing your photographs so that the longest side is 1280 pixels.
If photography is your actual product that you want to show off, we recommend a rather large size. It’s also possible to upload photos in their original size as a File element or using the Upload Files tab.
It’s also necessary to take into account the data size of photos. Even a background image with a resolution of 1920px x 1080px shouldn’t exceed a data size of 500kB. Loading such pictures, or even large numbers of smaller pictures, can take too long, and that often discourages visitors.
9. The Text is Centered
More effort is required to read centered text because each line starts in slightly different position.
Centering text can be good in certain situations, such as if you are creating invitations for an important social event, designing a business card, etc. But in general, it doesn’t make sense to center your text and doing so will reduce readability, compromising the quality of your website.
If the text element is narrow (like in side columns), it’s best to left align as happens automatically.
For broader text elements it’s possible to use left align or justification. With justification, however, you have to look out for rivers. If you come across this problem, you may be able to fix it using a well-placed hyphen or two to break up some longer words.
Another common mistake is to just fill up the website with whatever fits. This results in people adding elements such as calendars, external widgets for the weather and the time, etc. In short, they add elements that have nothing to do with the website and are irrelevant to their visitors.
One specific item related to this scenario is the website traffic indicator. If the statistics show that you get five visitors a month, this probably won’t impress anyone. In fact, it will probably scare away those few visitors you do have. It’s better to keep an eye on your statistics in administration, and only publish them if they are something worth talking about.
The current trends in web design lean toward a minimalist approach. Given that in modern times we are bombarded by visual stimulants at every turn, this probably won’t change anytime soon.
If you still think your website could benefit from less negative space, it would be better for you to focus on adding more original content or adjusting the layout rather than inserting banal elements that destroy its professional image.
11. Various Other Garbage
Look carefully at your website. Do you see any places where it says something like New Category, New Document, or New Panel? You’ve probably forgotten to either change the name or delete it, or maybe you created it by accident without even realizing it.
In any case, it doesn’t look nice, and it reflects badly on you. So keep your website cleaned up.
12. Repulsive Colors
We’ve chosen a provocative heading for this part because it probably won’t leave you lukewarm. Nearly everyone has an opinion regarding colors, no matter how knowledgeable they are or aren’t in the area of color theory. Color can influence our thoughts and feelings, play with our mood, promote healing, or give us energy - of course as a result of psychological effects - because colors are associated with symbolic meanings. This symbolism may be different from culture to culture, so their effect on us is purely subjective.
For personal websites you can choose your color scheme more freely, expressing your own preferences, but to maintain a quality aesthetic experience you need to do this wisely, using the best combinations. You can use complementary colors, complementary colors combined with one or two bright chromatic colors (split-complementary or double-complementary relationships), or try using various shades or tints of the same color (monochromatic relationships). It depends on the proportion of the colored areas. You can play it safe by using a neutral color for the largest proportional area, and reserving rich and bright colors for accents. This applies to areas both with and without text.
If you have a company website, it’s safer to follow the established practices for your field. Simply put: the websites of wedding planners, fire companies, bakeries, and hunting clubs will probably not benefit from experimenting with or altering the colors commonly used in their industries. To be even more specific: if you are a wedding planner your colors probably should not be the loud red, black, and white of the fire company, and we all know that confectionary pink won’t appeal to many hunters.
Tip: If you want to learn more about the effects colors have on the human psyche, or otherwise, you can find a wealth of information online. Just search keyphrases such as: color theory, symbolic interpretation of colors, color psychology, etc.
13. An Excess or a Shortage
At this point, we come again to the question of is there an excess or lack of information? Determining the appropriate level requires a sensitive approach. Too little information gives a shoddy feel, while a surplus makes it so no one wants to wade through it all. What is important is then somehow lost.
Therefore, use engaging and accurate headings, make them stand out on the page, and consider even adding short descriptions below them. Headings grab the reader’s attention and brief descriptions are much more likely to be read.
In conclusion...
Think about your website and consider, consider, consider. This is true not only for your homepage, but for the entire website.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our tips on how you can improve your website and that they will inspire you to try new things. Good luck!
07/20/2015 08:16:57
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