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A short guide to avoiding the 5 most dangerous website mistakes almost all web designers make.

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Top 5 Disastrous Website Mistakes

There are Website designers everywhere these days and almost everyone can set themselves up as one with a little know-how, a dash of common sense, a broadband connection, laptop and a WYSIWYG website editor like Joomla, Wordpress, Wix to name but a few.

Much like digital photography - these days you can get a pretty nifty result straight from the tin but you don't get a truly great photo without some added knowledge and a keen eye for what makes that awesome photo. It's really the same in the web design world too - it's easy to pick up a few good practices but experience will always show through and attention to detail separates the good designers from the bad.

A common mistake many people make particularly with "out of the box" websites is assuming simply having a website with a little bit of text will cut the mustard with Google and other search engines - trust us - it will not! Quality web site design cannot miss out critical parts of the page, the user experience and the right use of quality written content.

Here's the top five problems every web designer ought to fix

  1. BAD CONTENT! Yes, poorly written content will harm your ranking above all else but more often then not particularly with offshore outsourced websites - jamming the page with keywords is also a no go! Writing quality content is an art in itself - it should be concise, to the point, say to read and contain keywords and phrases that reflect the business you are in. It's also handy to add a few alternative spellings of words for example (Web Designer, Website Designer, Web Site Designer) and so forth. 
  2. BADLY WRITTEN META TAGS! Meta tags sit hidden away in the browser code - you won't see them on the page hence the word META. An awful lot of people simply do not bother with them thinking that if they can't see them then what's the point in using them - do so at your own risk! Your humble meta tag cannot be seen by you but a search engine robot trying to place you in a good ranking can and they use them to determine what your page is about. Get this wrong and you will easily fall quite low down the ranking perhaps to obscurity.
    What are the important ones? Essentially you have two which are perhaps the most important and they are the TITLE and the DESCRIPTION. Many years ago the KEYWORD meta tag was useful but is less so know and even Google claim not to use it but funny enough some engines do and if you rank higher in one search engine then Google will push you higher in theirs - it's kind of funny! Many search engines will list your META tags as pert of the search result if it relates to the search term being looked for. Consider these like a book. You browse books at say and airport - the first thing that catches the eye is the title (title met tag). OK so that's interesting so you turn it over and read the description on the back (description meta tag) and if both appeal to you you'll buy the book and read it. You just did what a search engine does!
  3. MISUSE OF HEADER TAGS! Header tags sit on the pages and look like (H1, H2 etc). We often see people using these as style elements but they really shouldn't be and using them randomly might seriously harm your search result. Headers must be in order ideally with the very first title on your page being in the H1 tag followed by a few paragraphs then perhaps and H2, H3 and so on. These tags tell search engines how important the preceding text is. It can be assumed that text under an H1 is more important than that under and H2 and so on. Use them as headers for important sections of the page - it is OK to put them out of sequence but in general try put H1, H2 etc.
  4. MASSIVE IMAGES! This one gets a real thumbs down because huge images cause very slow loading pages and will destroy ranking very fast. An image at 3mb that is 3000 pixels wide can usually be dragged down to an image that is 500 pixels wide in almost every CMS system but IT IS STILL 3 MEGABYTE! You need to resample the image to a true 500 pixels which will reduce the overall pixel dimension and the real size of your image. There's a tonne of free photo editing software out there for you to use to create pin sharp smaller images for use on the internet - use them and see your rankings move up the tree!
  5. BAD LAYOUT! Making it in at number 5 is bad layouts. But why? Your average visitor will spend about 3 seconds looking at your page - if you don't start the journey to converting them to a customer within that time - they're gone - off to the next result! The message, your unique selling point, everything - has to be presented within a very short amount of time so layout, although not technical, is equally important because putting your website in the top ten will do nothing to sell unless your payout is right.

So that's your 5 key points that will make a bit of a difference to your ranking if you research each point and take action on them. 

Here at Cirrus we can certainly help you with all of the above and much more.

A short guide to avoiding the 5 most dangerous website mistakes almost all web designers make.
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