The top mistakes to avoid in websites

Website mistakes

I wrote this article more than 20 years ago – back in 1999. Unfortunately, although Internet technologies have changed by several generations since then, I still encounter the same errors on some websites today.

If you notice things like this on your site, talk to your web designers … or just move to other designers.

1. Lack of clarity and confusing navigation

Lack of clarity on your site is one of the most powerful factors driving away your visitors.

The visitor must be able to understand at a glance “what it is about” on your site and what he can expect from it. If you fail to offer this clarity from the very first page, the visitor will not continue browsing your site and will leave. And as they say – the competition is only “one click away” from you.

Your visitor should also be able to easily and quickly figure out how to navigate your site. So, try to make the navigation as simple and clear as possible. Confusing sites are dead sites.

Read more about navigation on your site in our article “How to design a website navigation.”

2. “Coming Soon”

It sounds incredible, but unfortunately, we still come across many sites where whole sections are simply missing, and in their place appear words like “Coming Soon”.

Some colleagues justify this with the statement that “everything was very dynamic on the Internet”, but for the visitor, it is like inviting him to your home and he finds an inscription: “I’m not ready yet, come another time”.

No one forgives such disrespect!

If you’re not ready with some sections of your site, just don’t show them until they’re completely ready.

3. Spelling and grammatical errors in the text

Unfortunately, too many sites contain copious amounts of such errors. This not only suggests a lack of professionalism but also calls into question the literacy of the site owner.

Don’t settle for just using a spell-check program. Such programs cannot eliminate all errors.

Don’t let that happen! Carefully read all texts from your site before uploading them to the Web. If you are not sure, consult a philologist.

And one more very important thing: if you’re building a multilingual site, for God’s sake, don’t rely on the “language-savvy brother-in-law” to translate your site, or even worse, translate it using Google translate!

Speaking a foreign language and translating into that language are two very different things. Therefore, if you respect yourself and care about your website, contact a professional translator competent in your field for translations. A high-quality translation will increase the chances of gaining the trust of your foreign partners, and a low-quality one will drastically reduce them. And the worst thing is that you will hardly distinguish between the two translations.

4. Lack of price information

Under the pretext of “hiding my prices from the competition”, many site owners deliberately omit giving price information.

They expect their potential customers to pick up the phone and ask, but it just never happens! Don’t expect your visitors to put in the effort you spared yourself.

And remember: an object becomes a commodity only when it is accompanied by a price. In all other cases, it remains just an object.

The lack of pricing information drastically reduces the effectiveness of any site designed to sell.

5. Use of free services

Many start-ups try to take their first steps on the Internet by using free services – be it free e-mail services such as those at,, or free site building tools such as or similar.

We fully understand the desire to be careful with costs when starting a new business, but saving on some expenses can result in losses and lost profits many times greater than the savings.

The reason is very simple: Your visitors know that these services are free, and this is a red flag for them. In fact, if you don’t have the money to pay for a professional website, full-featured hosting, and normal mail service with your own domain, do you think anyone would be willing to do serious business with you?

6. Flashing or continuously moving (animated) pictures or texts

In his millennia of development, man has still retained many of his instincts from the animal world. With man, as with every animal on this planet, any movement in sight is a signal of danger!

Therefore, any movement on the screen is subconsciously perceived as a signal of danger. It instinctively captures the visitor’s attention and distracts him/her from what he/she came to your site for – to read the information there.

Putting constantly moving animated objects on your site not only does nothing to help you, it seriously hinders your website.

7. Detrimental design elements

It is difficult to define one element of design as unconditionally detrimental. However, there are things that, as a rule, have a negative effect on their presence, so try at all costs to keep them out of your site:

  1. Auto-Playing Music (Especially Harmful!)
  2. Heavy, distracting background images
  3. Too large fonts
  4. Too small fonts
  5. Low contrast between text and background

Bonus track:


There is no more pointless website than one that lacks useful information!

Remember: even the best design cannot help a site that lacks well-presented, meaningful, and useful information.

Do not count on success if your site contains impersonal and meaningless texts such as “Our company employs competent specialists with high qualifications” or “We offer quality goods at reasonable prices”.

I hope you understand why … Is there somewhere someone that would write the opposite? Such expressions do not bring any useful information to your visitors. They’re just wasting time, and nobody likes having his time wasted, right?

In the following link, you can read more on the topic of what texts to include in your website to make it successful.