It's all too easy to crowd a good website with unnecessary or distracting features. If you want to build a professional brand image online, make sure your website doesn’t include any of the following.
1. A flashy intro.
Your website is not about entertainment. It's about information. And when your visitors arrive, they want to access this information immediately. They do not want to sit through a cheesy three-minute Flash intro telling them how valuable the information is going to be. Leave off the intro and get to the point.
2. Background music.
Your website does not need music. Nobody likes it and it's usually very, very distracting. Imagine you're trying to study for an exam, and every time you turn a page in your book, a song starts playing. A random song you've never heard before that you probably don't like. This is your website with music. Your visitors are there to learn about your company and experience your brand. More often than not, music is going to detract from that experience, not enhance it.
3. Sloppy writing.
This one seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how many website owners fail to adequately proof the text copy they place on their websites. Grammatical errors and ineffective copy are all too common. Take the time to craft compelling, meaningful content for your website, or hire a professional to do it for you.
4. Pop-up ads.
It's not wrong to monetize your website, but pop-up ads are a sign of desperation. They reek of sleaziness. They're old-fashioned. And, quite frankly, they're ineffective. In most cases, you're just going to irritate and distract your visitors, which is never good for making money.
5. Lots of colors.
Surprised to see this on the list? Don't be. A diverse or unusual color palette can be effective in rare cases, but for the vast majority of professional websites, focus on developing a brand identity that incorporates a thoughtful, limited selection of appealing colors. Your visitors—and your web designer—will thank you for it.
6. Artsy fonts.
Unless you’re building a website as a project for a community college course in Digital Media Arts, you want to convey professionalism first and foremost, and, more importantly, you want your content to be readable. The vast majority of effective websites use fonts that are kind of boring, to be honest. There's a good reason for this. Boring fonts are readable. Go thou and do likewise.
7. Photos taken with your mobile phone.
It's wonderful that your smartphone has a 15-megapixel camera with image stabilization and a 12x optical zoom. But this does not mean it takes good photos. If your goal is to establish a professional, reputable, trustworthy brand image online, the blurry product shots you took with your camera phone in your backyard aren't going to cut it. Invest in a professional photo shoot with a skilled photographer. You'll be glad you did.