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Website Design Disasters

Outdate Information, Broken Links, and “Under Construction”. There is nothing more frustrating than sifting through out-dated websites when you’re in search of current information. Or clicking on a link that you hope leads to the answer to your question, only to discover that “This Page Cannot Be Displayed” or that the domain name is for sale.

Only slightly less annoying are messages informing you that the page is currently under construction or is “Coming Soon”. If it’s not here yet, don’t waste your visitor’s time leading them down dead ends.

Solution: Schedule at least a day a month scouring your website for outdated information and broken links. You can also include a link on your website that allows visitors to report broken links or outdated information. As far as “Under Construction” messages, instead announce to your visitors any upcoming changes or additions to your website. They’ll be glad to know it without getting their hopes up, clicking a link to much sought after information, and being told it isn’t available yet.

Hard to Find Contact Information. It’s hard to understand why any website would fail to make it easy for visitors to get in touch with the people who run it. Offering this simple bit of information will:
a. Encourage people to ask for permission before using your content &/or graphics on their own sites.
b. Make it easier for people to contact you for promotional reasons. For example, someone may desire to interview you, initiate a contract or simply make an important business contact that you may need in the future.
c. Provide people with ways to reach you and your company while they are offline. You can provide them with ways to reach you by telephone, snail mail or possibly even to stop and tour your facilities.

Solution: Simply add a “Contact Us” page and link to your website. Be sure to include pertinent email addresses, phone numbers, names, mailing addresses and (if necessary) driving directions.

Not Changing the Color of a Visited Link. While this may not seem like such a big deal, it’s one that has been bugging website traffic for many years. You can take that on the authority of Dr. Jakob Nielsen, the man who’s been called the “guru of Web page usability” by the New York Times.

The purpose of changing link colors is to give your site visitors an idea of where they’ve already been and where they have yet to venture. This is especially important if you have a large site with new pages being added to it often.

Solution: The HTML code is simple: Inside the body tag, add the “vlink” tag and the color code or color name. The code for blue visited link text would look like this:

or

Replace the code or color name with the color you want. There, you’re done. It’s that simple.