I really hate badly designed websites. I mean, the point is to put your best face forward on the Web and you totally undermine yourself when you use bad design.

It’s like a businesswoman at a really important meeting. How many people would take her seriously if she came in frazzled, with her hair in a rat’s nest, torn “wear around the house only” clothes, and papers falling out of her backpack (not a briefcase because she couldn’t find it in the mess that is her house)? Not me, that’s for sure!

So, why would you do the technological equivalent to your website?

Before you design your website (or purchase a template to base your site on) keep the following in mind:

  1. Two click maximum – this means that your customer can access all information within your site within two clicks of the mouse. Keep the site structure simple.
  2. Use white space – surround your text with white space (negative space) so that the eye is drawn to the text. Many WAHM’s make the mistake of stuffing their pages with information, pictures, and ads without giving thought to the white space that can be used effectively to draw their customers eyes to the point of the page.
  3. Keep the background simple – don’t, under any circumstance, use a repeating background behind text. I don’t care how cute the image is. Your customer will not be able to read the text. It’s distracting and it looks unprofessional.
  4. Accessibility – design your site so that everyone, including those with disabilities, can access and use your site. Use alt tags, minimize the tables, use text that makes sense for text links (don’t use Click Here, in other words), etc. For more information on building accessible websites, visit WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).
  5. Don’t make your customer scroll – This is my biggest pet peeve when visiting badly designed sites: scrolling for what seems like forever down a page to find the information that I want. If I have to scroll for more than two seconds, I leave the site never to return. If you have that much information to say, break it down into several pages rather than keeping it in one long page. Your customers will thank you.
  6. Excessive advertising – I realize that many WAHM’s use ad placement as a way to make money from their websites. This is great! I’m all for making money! But give me a break! Some sites are more about advertising than the topics that the site is supposed to be about! Of course, if the site is about advertising, this isn’t such a big deal. And, really, if I have to scroll a long time to get to the bottom of the page I’m not going to see the buttons and banners anyway. So, what’s the point?

I hope that these tips can alleviate some of the bad design out there. I love to visit WAHM sites to get some great ideas for my own stuff, the bad and the good!

If you have a site that you’d like me to take a gander at, please leave a comment! Or, even better, if you have a fantastic example of good (or bad) design, definitely leave a comment so that we can all learn!