Since the advent of Web sites opened the doors for business owners to establish a presence on the World-Wide-Web it seems almost impossible to not have one-a website that is. Now every other company has a Web site, URLs appear everywhere, on business cards, in ads on brochures. Web sites are being marketed to reach clientele that previously appeared to be out of reach. A good Web site can make your company, a bad one can break it. There are lots of resources available on how to build a good site. But take a look at some of the pitfalls to avoid…

POOR NAVIGATION and POOR ORGANIZATION
Most Web sites consist of several pages and allow the user to focus on a given subject. For good user experience it is necessary to have a navigation in place that allows your visitors to easily get from one page to another and back. When constructing the site you need to think logically about how people enter and exit your site. Consider your Web site like a physical location you have to navigate through. Having it laid out properly makes it much easier for your visitors to find all the pertinent information.

BAD COLOR SCHEMES
A few years ago we saw hot pink, electric blue and bright yellows on web sites for backgrounds and font colors. Those are definitely color schemes of the past. Before indulging into new color schemes go online, check out other sites and note any color trends. If you look in the art section of your local book store you can find books on color which will give you ideas of certain color combinations that work.

NOT SPELL CHECKING
It is important to check the content of your Web site for accuracy, correct spelling and grammar. Even if you have the most brilliant copy on the Internet, if it’s badly spelled, you will turn away more readers than you’ll draw in. Before you go live with your site have at least one other person look over your site with a fine comb.

TOO MANY POPUPS
Some may argue that popup blockers will take care of this problem. But it still is really annoying and most often backfires with the user clicking away from your site and never returning. Don’t do onto others what you wouldn’t want done to you.

TOO MANY BELLS AND WHISTLES
Only because “everyone else is using it” doesn’t necessarily mean its good design – that is scrolling marquees, funky background music, Flash animation, and other attention-getting things. But it also doesn’t mean they are all bad either, when used sparingly they can certainly serve a purpose. When designing your site, ask yourself, “Why do I need this?” If the answer is, “Because everyone else has one,” think twice about using it.

NOT UPDATING
Everything changes all the time, your business, your sources, your employees, your location etc. If your business involves constant change, make sure your Web site keeps up with it. And don’t forget other sites you might be linking to – routinely test your outgoing links to either update or remove them as necessary.

As you’re building your Web site (or having someone build it for you), keeping these few pitfalls in mind can go a long way toward improving the overall quality and tone of your site