Websites are the lifeblood of the internet, but they are more than just a collection of documents or pages. They are also a business’ storefront, link to its world. Sites need to provide quality content, be responsive and accessible on all devices and browsers and provide an important component in SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
However, there are still website design practices still in use by practitioners today that are relics of the past and that can cause harm to your business, brand, and product.
So in response to these poor practices plaguing the design community today. We have compiled a list of seven website design practices from yesteryear you should avoid at all costs if you wish for your website design to stand out against the crowd of poorly-executed websites currently littering digital space today.
We hope that by reading this piece, you’ll have an opportunity to avoid these designs by choosing more innovative and creative ways of presenting information, creating a better user experience for your target audience, and increasing the SEO value of your website.
Tip #1: Old School Ads
In the past, companies have slapped banner ads on the side of their website and hoped for the best. It was a time when ads were untargeted, unresponsive, and ugly.
More recently, Google’s Adsense tool allowed site owners to place targeted ads on their sites that would make them money. Unfortunately, people will still put an ad anywhere with no regard for aesthetics or design because it is all about creating a quick dollar – not about creating a solid user experience.
These banner ads and Adsense ads are the epitome of bad design, and they also negatively impact your search engine rankings by driving traffic to the site and hurting your organic search rankings. Furthermore, users find banner ads annoying because they disrupt their browsing experience.
Tip #2: The Narrow Width
Another web design practice you must avoid is narrow spacing. One of the aims of a competent web designer is to develop a design that is accessible and viewable on most gadgets. In the 90s, this included 800 by 600 resolution CRT monitors. Nowadays, the website should be responsive. It means that it will adjust to different screen sizes.
Design should be viewable on a PC and tablets, for example, without the need for horizontal scrolling or zooming in and out of sight. It is very important since today’s web users have grown accustomed to using their phones to browse the internet.
Designers should ensure that their site will redirect from mobile phones to a desktop version and vice versa rather than having one version for tablets and another for PCs.
Tip #3: Tables
Another basic web design practice you must avoid is the use of tables. Tables have been going out of style for a while and with good reason. But once upon a time, websites were developed using tables. It enabled the faster design and helped maintain code that didn’t look like spaghetti. As time goes by, more effective and efficient content development methods emerge, and tables slowly disappear.
With the invention of CSS, what used to be a difficult task has become easier and quicker. CSS will allow you to create a magazine-like layout that can adjust to small screen sizes such as those found on tablets and smartphones.
Tip #4: Annoying Splash Page
A splash page is an introduction page displayed to visitors when they land on your web page. It is like the hosting image you see before a video starts playing. Splash pages are also known as interstitials; they are used to display special offers or benefit packages that require registration before being able to proceed through your site.
They tend to be annoying because they can take a long time to load and display. To make matters worse, many people have developed an aversion towards ads and will not react well when faced with one.
A repulsive splash page may turn away potential customers or your blog visitors. Without the necessary information, people will go to a different site and never return.
Tip #5: Sites Hard-Coded from Static HTML
Static HTML is code that does not change with time, and this can wreak havoc for almost any business website on the internet today. The fact is that most people use search engines to find a given product or service, and if it can be found on the Internet, chances are it’s almost certainly going to appear on the first page of the search results.
It means that if your site contains nothing but static HTML, chances are very high that you will not rank well for any keyword related to your business’ main products and services. You get many percentages of your traffic through searches, and therefore this is a crucial concern for any business website today.
You need to build a powerful content marketing strategy by investing in high-quality articles loaded with valuable information and relevant data to avoid this problem. Every business website should employ the best SEO practices and build a solid link-building campaign.
Tip #6: Flash
Flash is another outdated web design practice that you must avoid at all costs. One of the biggest drawbacks of this outdated design practice is that you lose search engine visibility because of Flash’s non-standard code format.
Another problem with Flash is that it requires additional plug-ins to be viewed – a problem for some users. The most popular search engines may also not have access to your site through the use of flash. It can also lead to a loss in traffic and visibility on search results when you are trying to rank for keywords related to your industry or business line of work.
You should never use flash because it takes away from a user’s ability to navigate through a page and understand what is on display at any given time.
To make your website more accessible, friendly, and user-friendly, you should avoid using flash as much as possible. Of course, you may work on building some flash elements into your website design, just not the whole thing – if you need Flash to complete certain functions and features, then at least make sure that it loads all the necessary files through a secure connection.
Tip #7: Using Dynamic URL Structure
Using a dynamic URL structure is another outdated practice that you must avoid. When your website uses a certain dynamic or complicated URL structure, it can lead to search engines having difficulties indexing your site properly.
The main disadvantage of using dynamic URLs is that visitors and search engines will not view your site the way it was meant to be seen and experienced by everyone, which can reduce its overall traffic levels and ranking potential. If you have an e-commerce store, it may be tough to sell products that do not have a simple URL format since some users may get confused when trying to remember the product they saw on sale on your site.
As with any process, Web design evolves as we advance our way of doing things. Old practices are replaced with newer, more efficient ones in an effort to keep everything fresh and exciting. These practices ensure that web design continues to grow and become a success, so you must remain cognizant of the practices outlined in this article.