Gig Harbor Design / Websites and Graphic Design Services - 5315B Point Fosdick Dr. NW - Gig Harbor, WA 98335 - (253) 313-5665
Gig Harbor Design - Your Website Design Solution
Do's & Don'ts
of Website Design and Implementation

Using Free E-mail Addresses

Although it is a common mistake, using a free email address, such as Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail, is never appropriate for your website or for business correspondence. Again, this comes back to the issue of  Website Credibility. When it comes to your business, always use email addresses associated with your business domain.

Keep in mind however, that I highly recommend Gmail as part of your domain communication. You can easily forward your url email to Gmail. Then verify through Gmail. Once that is done, create labels and adjust settings so when you reply to an email sent to, the reply is also from yet was actually done through Gmail which you can access from anywhere. Not to mention you can monitor and control your webite submission, sitemap, documents (shared and private), calendar (shared and private) and so much more. And it is FREE! We are here to help set that up for you if you like.


Using Free Web Hosting

If you want your business to be taken seriously, this is a common web page mistake you definitely want to avoid. Often business owners will tell me that the business is "just starting out" and that is why they have not yet moved the site to a domain host.

Customers that will trust a small business owner with their credit card information, who cannot invest $5.00 to $10.00 a month for proper hosting, are scarce.

If you are having a hard time finding affordable web hosting that you can trust and depend on, we recommend HostMonster. We have found them to be extremely reliable and they allow you to place multiple domains (websites) on the same account, without increasing their fees. If you need help feel free to contact me. I will be happy to help you.

If dealing with hosting is more than you are interested in doing - we can do the hosting for you. Just ask us...

Focus On Your Product or Service

Many times website owners are more focused on their company name then the service or product they provide. Don't focus your url or logo on your company name. Consentrate on what you do. Customers don't care what your company name is. Example: which should be Customers just want extensions cords, they don't care what your name is.

Keep It Interesting - People LOVE Pictures!

Writing volumes of text on a website is a big design mistake. The other one is NOT ENOUGH PICTURES! The internet is FULL of pictures of anything you can imagine. Whatever your website is about - show relevant pictures. You can also use online document design sites (ie: business cards). Create an business card online, then use screen capture software and you have a great image for your 'Contact Us' page that is customized to you. (See our 'Contact Us' page.) Just use your imagination! .

NEVER Use Front Page!

If you are going to take the time to put together a website - don't jinx the whole deal out of the gate! Front page sites look BAD! We have NEVER seen a good Front Page site. They always look homemade and unprofessional. Avoid Front Page at all costs!
*Front Page is referring to Microsoft Front Page software.

NEVER Use GIF files for photos

Gif files are for solid (no gradients) color icon type graphics. Not photos or complex logos. They cause photos and gradients to look grainy and unprofessional. Only use GIF files if there is a specific reason to do so!

Do not use animated GIFs

Unless you have advertising banners that require animation, avoid animated GIFs. They make a site look unprofessional and detract the attention from the content.

Using Frames (actually DO NOT use frames!)

Often web designers break up the browser window with separate sub-windows. These divisions are called frames. Although frames are supposed to help web visitors navigate easier, frequently they just confuse them. When clicking on an item to move forward, visitors are uncertain what information will appear where, or in what sub-window. A sub-window used as a reference can suddenly disappear and be filled with new information about the last thing requested. And to make matters worse, after hitting the back arrow to return to the sub-window, the visitor may be popped out of the entire web site altogether, possibly jumping back several places to the earlier page, just before entering the framed web site. This can be particularly frustrating for the web visitor. It is also very difficult to get on search engines while maintaining the web pages intended structure.

The user must know what the site is about in seconds

Attention is one the most valuable currencies on the Internet. If a visitor can not figure what your site is about in a couple of seconds, he will probably just go somewhere else. Your site must communicate why I should spend my time there, and FAST!

Make the content scannable

This is the Internet, not a book, so forget large blocks of text. Probably I will be visiting your site while I work on other stuff so make sure that I can scan through the entire content. Bullet points, headers, subheaders, lists. Anything that will help the reader filter what he is looking for.

Do not use fancy fonts that are unreadable

Sure there are some fonts that will give a sophisticated look to your website. But are they readable? If your main objective is to deliver a message and get the visitors reading your stuff, then you should make the process comfortable for them.

Do NOT open new browser windows

I used to do that on my first websites. The logic was simple, if I open new browser windows for external links the user will never leave my site. WRONG! Let the user control where he wants the links to open. There is a reason why browsers have a huge “Back” button. Do not worry about sending the visitor to another website, he will get back if he wants to.

Keep Your Web Site Up To Date!

Don't just create (or have one created) a web site and let it be. All over the internet you see at the bottom of sites "© 2004" It makes your whole web site seem outdated and ignored. People / potential customers notice this. Keep things current - and fresh!

Do not require a registration unless it is absolutely necessary

Lets get this straight, when I browse around the Internet I want to get information, not the other way around. Do not force me to register and leave my email address and other details unless it is absolutely necessary. Chances are that your visitors will leave in frustration rather than register just in order to view your content.

Do not use email or contact us forms!

Those email us or contact us forms are a big mistake. People want to contact you. They want to email you and get information! Do not make them fill out a form!! Just give them the email address. Nothing can kill a potential sale or job faster. And what are you trying to hide - anyway?

Do not use Flash

Apart from increasing the load time of your website, usage of Flash will also annoy the visitors. If they do not have the flash plugin, they are required to do a download which will make them leave. No one wants to see your artistic renditions load then have it accompanied by music they can not turn off fast enough. Avoid Flash so your potential customers do not avoid you! They are there for information or shopping! Flash is not ever work friendly - and people who work have money! Another reason is that flash is a black box to the search engines, they can't see inside it. Anything presented by Flash is invisible to them. So that means it is invisible to people trying to find your product or service. Avoid it!

Do NOT play music

In the early years of the Internet, web developers always tried to successfully integrate music into websites. Guess what, they failed miserably. Do not use music, period. It is not work friendly or visitor friendly. If you are designing a specific music website, make it so the viewer can turn on the music if they choose to. It should never come on automatically.

Do not use a homepage that just launches the “real” website

I am talking about those "click here to enter" pages. The smaller the number of steps required for the user to access your content, the better.

Make sure to include contact details

There is nothing worse than a website that has no contact details or hard to find contact information. This is not bad only for the visitors, but also for yourself. You might lose important feedback along the way. Always have a contact page that is easily found.

Avoid “drop down” menus

The user should be able to see all the navigation options straight way. Using “drop down” menus might confuse things and hide the information the reader was actually looking for.

Use text navigation/menus

Text navigation is not only faster but it is also more reliable. Some users, for instance, browse the Internet with images turned off.

If you are linking to PDF files, disclose it!

PDF files definitely have their place and are very convenient for the user needing forms, etc. However, have you ever clicked on a link only to see your browser freezing while Acrobat Reader launches to open that (unrequested) PDF file? That is pretty annoying so make sure to make it clear to the visitor that links are pointing to PDF files so that they can be handled properly.

Do not confuse the visitor with many versions

Avoid confusing the visitor with too many versions of your website. What bandwidth do I prefer? 56Kbps? 128Kbps? Flash or HTML? Just give me the content!

Avoid “intros”

Do not force the user to watch or read something before he can access to the real content. This is just plain annoying.

Use a simple navigation structure

Sometimes less is more. This rule usually applies to people and choices. Make sure that your website has a single, clear navigation structure. The last thing you want is to confuse the reader regarding where he should go to find the information he is looking for. And make your navigation consistent in color, content and placement throughout the website.

No spelling or grammatical mistakes

This is not a web design mistake, but it is one of the most important factors affecting the overall quality of a website. Make sure that your links and texts do not contain spelling or grammatical mistakes.


We can not stress this enough. Design continuity is crucial. Do not have a link that goes to another page on your website that looks nothing like the first page. It should look exactly the same as the first page with different content. If it looks completely different in color, structure and navigation, customers will think they were taken to another site and feel lost and go elsewhere.

Emailed Questions from Customers

If you are getting questions by email regarding your products or services on your website, you need to do some updating.  Listen to your potential customers questions and integrate that information into your website so you don't continue to receive emails answering the same questions over and over. Put everything they need to know on the website! That is what it is there for!

'Add to Favorites' or 'Bookmark Us' link or button

Don't forget an 'add to favorites' link on your home page. Helps people remember you when they are looking through their favorites!

Please note: we have accumulated the above info from all over the internet. Please excuse any lack of specific credits given.
Did we forget to mention something important?

Website Design by : Gig Harbor Design