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Technology / Business websites

Mistakes to avoid when creating a website – Part 2

My first article looked at common mistakes to avoid when creating a website. Here I explore the idea further by looking at the benefits of keeping your website simple, how to pick a web developer and the importance of compatibility.

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Be sure to check out Mistakes to avoid when creating a website – Part 1 before reading on.

5. Keep it simple

When creating a website, pay attention to some of the more successful websites on the Internet and you will find a theme of simplicity. Think Google, YouTube, eBay and even Flying Solo. You will notice that all of these sites focus carefully on their core message and purpose. They do not get distracted by fancy flash movies, graphic intensive layouts and unnecessary distractions. You have to decide: is your website a fancy piece of art or is it a tool for your business? Of course this does not mean that you can’t have a successful website that also looks great. But the core purpose of your website should remain your focus.

6. Sites which look awful in very new or very old browsers.

Before selecting a website vendor ask them about website compatibility. Do not let them tell you that “only” 10% of users have that type of browser, or only 15% of users have that operating system. The reality is only a fraction of website users will have the latest operating system, the latest browser and the highest screen resolution. Ignore the minorities at your peril! There is no reason why you can have a fantastic and effective website presence that is viewable and useable by well over 95% of internet users. Ensure that your website looks great and functions correctly :

"It is absolutely vital that you have a good relationship with your web developer."

  • On both PCs and Macs
  • Using Firefox, Explorer (versions 5 and up) and Safari
  • On monitors starting at a resolution of 1024 x 768. While there are still 800 x 600 resolution monitors out there, building a site for that size screen will limit the effectiveness of your site for the vast majority of users.
  • When measuring up to W3C compliance.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business websites section.

7. Choose the right web developer

It is absolutely vital that you have a good relationship with your web developer. Your website needs will evolve over time so you need a developer you can rely on. With literally thousands of developers across Australia, finding the right one for your business can be a challenge. I would strongly advise that you probe any potential developer with a range of questions, including:

  • Can you supply me with a list of the last ten websites you built?
  • Can you supply me with the contact details of five happy customers?
  • How long have you been in operation and how many websites have you built?
  • What makes your websites search engine friendly?
  • Can you show me examples of your customers’ websites ranking well in Google?
  • Who owns your company?
  • How many staff members do you employ?
  • Who owns my website once it is built?
  • If you go out of business what happens to the code that runs my website?
  • How much will website changes cost after my initial website is built and how quickly will you work on them?
  • Who is responsible for repairing bugs in my website?

The answers that are supplied to these questions will give you a good feel for your potential web developer. You need a company that has a strong track record and one that you feel will be around in a few years time. If your web developer goes out of business it can be disastrous for your business. You also need a web developer that builds sites that have the potential to rank well in Google.

Next time, we’ll explored some of the limitations of creating a website.

David Lawrence

has been planning and building effective websites for business since 1997. He is one of the founders of The Web Showroom, a 100% Australian owned company that provides small businesses with an easy way to own a professional website.

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