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Web Design Boo-boos...Answers to Questions sent in by readers... here's WebDesign & Review Tips & Tricks

From the "Oh No!" department...

Ways to Shoot Your Web Site in the Foot
(not to mention your business)
Part 1

By Douglas Clifford

Consider this - The closest most people will ever get to dropping by your business is visiting your web site. The impression they form about your company and whether they decide to do business with you depends entirely on what they learn from your web pages.

Over the last 18 months I have visited more than 1000 camera stores, photo labs, repair facilities and equipment manufacturers; many companies have been 'visited' two or three times. Here's the first in a series on what not to do when creating a web site for any kind of business.

Pay absolutely no attention to spelling and syntax. After all, surfers will understand what you are trying to say, no matter how awkward or badly spelled. Besides, visitors probably can't spell any better than you.

Here are some actual examples. See if you can spot the mistakes.

  1. "weather you bring us a negative or slide to be processed you are assured of the highest quality, every time."
  2. "This new found dedication to quality should defiantly be applauded."
  3. "Click on the part of Canada that your in for a list of the dealers near you."
  4. "His hard work, intergity and commitment are responsible for our success."
  5. "Bill is an industrial video expert and editor extrordinaire."
  6. "Welcome to the home of quailty photo albums, custom albums and binders." (On the home page of a photo album manufacturer.)
  7. MORE EXCITING PRODUCTS COMMING SOON! (On the home page of an equipment manufacturer.)
  8. FOR SEPCIAL PACKAGE, CALL OUR FLAGSHIP DEALERS. (web page of a camera manufacturer.)
  9. "We've divided the products into two groups, listed alphabeticly." (OUCH!)
  10. "Which state or providence do you live in?"

Did you find all ten mistakes?

If you believe visitors won't notice spelling errors and incorrect words, you are wrong. The demographics for web surfers show this is the most educated audience in the history of the written word. What do such errors say about your company? At best, it tells the visitor that you don't pay attention to details. At worst, it makes you appear ignorant and uneducated. Need answers to the above problem?

It's unlikely any of the above errors would be found on the pages of any printed magazine or periodical. Why should the standards for a web page be any different?

To be taken seriously, web page authors and designers should run all pages through a spell-checker, have someone with good English skills proofread your pages, and be extra careful to double check any text which appears in gif and jpg files.

Next month we'll cover email and how not to handle contact with your visitors.

Doug ________________________ continue with Part 2

Douglas Clifford is the webmaster of the ACE Indexes, an annotated directory of photo commerce web sites, and online photography and digital imaging magazines. (

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