Website Design: 5 Things You MUST Do & 5 Things To NEVER Do – FA106

Have You Made These Same Mistakes On Your Website?

My Mate from Down Under, Dan Norris of (links to episode I did on Dan’s show) joins me today to school me on some web design Do’s and Don’ts.

And oh, buddy…

I needed some schooling. I admit to a HUGE design mistake for the Foolish Adventure redesign that I’ve delayed because of how badly I messed up.

And let’s not even bring up the lame design that is Foolish Adventure currently (it was just meant to be temporary and nearly 2 years later it’s still there).

I was thinking that I would list the 5 things you must do and the 5 things to never do, but I don’t want you to think you already understand them. Dan brings some unique explanation why he chose these to focus on in this episode. So you’ll just have to listen to find out how to make your website design not suck.

Tim “Design Challenged” Conley

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  • Nooo not the slider!!

    Dan – I’m sure you could do a whole podcast about my site! lol At least it’s not too colourful!

    Really enjoyed this – I and my clients all seem to sutter from too many goals on the front page!

    • Oh, yes. Dan wants to kill the slider.

  • Dan Norris

    Sorry, got a bit carried away with the slider hate he he.

  • Dan

    Highly enjoyable show guys. Great point about sliders, I think I need to go write an email…

  • Thanks for driving the point home—the point of making the purpose of my site to do ONE thing. It makes me rethink my site.

    • We all tend to forget that clarity makes for a better user experience and better conversions for ourselves.

  • Useful tips, thanks Dan & Tim! Specifically, I loved the “one goal” aspect!

  • One thing that I’ve encountered time and time again with my work and clients is that they want a site that “looks awesome”.

    Rarely do they know what that looks like, and rarely do “awesome looking” websites convert that well.

    It’s always “fun” to educate them, but it’s often an uphill battle.

    Of course, a high-converting website can look “awesome”, but “awesome” often means “dynamic”, which in turns means all kinds of crap on the site that distracts and confuses visitors, and leaves them thinking “uh, I guess it looks good” but they never take action.

    The “trick” is to combine strong branding, visual aesthetics, and conversion goals.

    User flow, visual cues, one goal, and simplicity are pretty good principles to stick to, for example.

    I always keep in mind what I want people to do on the site and imagining sitting in their chair and browsing the site for the first time.

    • Hey Johan, good stuff, sometimes the goal of the site isn’t anything tangible like ‘conversions’ either. Sometimes people just want to have something professional that represents their brand, something that gets attention. That’s ok too in my book, if that’s what they want.

      • Right, depends on what they want. Most of my clients, so far, wants their websites to send them more business (phone calls, emails, etc) so most of what I do is with this in mind.

        But yes, if they just want a website to act as a credibility indicator (represent a brand, for example), you of course design with that in mind. And that’s usually easier! 😉

        • You’d be surprised at how many people I have built sites for that have other reasons for wanting a site (as silly as that sounds).

  • John

    Found you via the summer smashup thing. You really said some inspiring things there and I now gonna see what else you got to offer. And one more thing, your voice is really awesome listening to.


    • Cool. I’m glad you got value from the Mashup. Thanks for listening.

  • This was a superb podcast. Full of great information. I am a dance teacher but for the past year or so my knees are asking me to get another job.

    I have decided to become a website designer being aware that it will take me years to start doing acceptable work.

    One web design that annoys the hell out of me, is the one in which the opt-in box is so big that it covers the whole computer screen. What is your reaction toward this? Do they convert? I wonder how much value is an email address of some one who has not been in your website more than 5 seconds before they are forced to give up an email address.

    Since I ask this question, what is your reaction to websites that have headers so big that covers the whole computer screen. My brother is buying one of those for his engineering firm and I totally hate it.

    • My only answer other than do what you like is… test. Not a compelling answer, but the only one that I know of that matters in business.

      • I generally don’t like the big opt ins. I wouldn’t rule them out but I just don’t like the experience and I try to avoid them – knowing full well that doing so means I will end up with less subscribers. But as you say the quality of the subscriber is important too and that’s a very difficult thing to measure. And it’s also important to have a nice experience for users and again that’s difficult to measure so it comes down to your own preference a bit.

  • Ann Daniel


    Thank you for sharing, I would like to add, a small tip when you’re
    starting a new website launch & having a negligible amount of capital to
    start with 1. Attempt ease, Simple, straight to the point designs charge less
    money & are quicker to create, 2. Sketch down how the web-site design as
    imagined on a piece of paper first as to have a vision of how it would look
    like 3. If no visitors are there & traffic to your website then there is
    no use for it! Establish good SEO strategy to boost up your website

    Sincerely Ann Daniel