Now, this isn’t just a provocative title, this is meant to show you just how many mistakes one website can make. Let’s take a closer look …
South Gippsland – is a productive region in Victoria, on the South Eastern tip of Australia which attracts a large variety of tourists over the warmer months…so, many businesses rely on gaining the growing tourist trade by offering suitable accommodation, opening restaurants and creating tourist attractions.
The ugliest website in South Gippsland – The website I want to show you actually belongs to friends of mine (both wonderful people) who own a very beautiful accommodation place overlooking the picturesque harbour in Port Albert, (a delightful coastal town in South Gippsland). They know their website isn’t pretty and plan to have it rebuilt…but lets take a look at the ugliest website in South Gippsland and find out what lessons can be learned here!
What mistakes do YOU notice first…? – Besides having an enormous amount of what is called ‘white space’ (useless areas of blank space without images or text), there is a mismatch of colours and images, the page takes forever to scroll to the bottom and the center aligned text makes it appear as if a child had created it!
Colours & Font Types – I counted at least 6 different colours and 6 different font types. The recommended number is no more than two or maybe three colours for text, and utilizing a web safe colour combination chart during the design process, enables aesthetically-ignorant people to choose a complete colour scheme that looks like it was meant to belong together.
Photographs – Most of the picture of local scenes on the page are actually OK, but keeping in mind that this property is probably worth somewhere in the vicinity of 1 million dollars, the picture with the crooked horizon at the very bottom of the page would have been better left off entirely (see below)…yet, a few simple enhancements like straightening, cropping, colour enhancing and adding a basic drop shadow make the world of difference.
Original Picture Source: http://blithespiritportalbert.com.au/
The Importance Of Simplicity – And WHY someone would make lilac the base colour of a web page, absolutely mystifies me! Most regular photographs show a marked improvement in appearance just by placing them on a black, dark grey or white background, and most web pages read better on white.
Take a look at some of the busiest and biggest money making sites on the Internet…Google, YouTube, Hostmonster and E-Bay. There’s a reason those sites are designed the way they are – simplicity, easy on the eye and easy to navigate.
Hidden Mistakes – There are a two other really large mistakes exhibited on the Blithe Spirit Website, that only a few people would be aware of… …you may have noticed the bright blue photograph of the sailing boat. It sort of sticks out, doesn’t it?….Well…that happens to be MY photograph.
It was taken from another website without my authorization. Not only that, the words describing the ‘sailing tours’ (to the right of that picture on the web page), were WRITTEN BY ME especially FOR the ‘sailing tours’ website.
Copyright Laws – Now those things in themselves aren’t a problem. My friends own both websites. I’m OK about my picture and words being used in this situation, and if they had asked me, of course I would have given my permission anyway. It’s just that many people seem to be quite ignorant of the copyright laws relating to photographs, pictures, images and words found on the Internet.
If you do steal something from the Internet, attributing it to the original author or photographer is paramount…and if you’ve got stolen stuff sitting on your website already, don’t worry, I made the same mistake once too. Either, get the required permission or get rid of it as soon as you can.
Website Content Problems – But besides the problems relating to copyright, which, in extreme situations could cost money in law suits, one of the worst things people can do to their own website, is to copy and paste content from other websites…no matter who owns them or if they have permission!
Googles Secret Policy – Well, it’s not really a secret -that’s just another provocative heading – but, Googles Duplicate Content Policy does explain fairly clearly that Google have the right to penalize website owners for malicious breach of their Duplicate Content Policy…
“Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar……as a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.”(Source: googles webmaster guidelines )
Get Educated – It’s time to grasp the lessons to be learned from other people’s mistakes. The Internet is a fast moving arena, and if you intend to have a business with an Internet presence, it’s vital that you keep up with the changes in website technology, design preferences AND educate yourself about your legal responsibilities as a website owner too.
But, Do Ugly Websites Still Serve A Purpose? – My word they do! When I did a quick google search, I found the Blithe Spirit Website to be listed high in SOME searches. The length of time a domain has been registered has a bearing on it’s ranking … and there was also this great post to consider about UGLY websites too …
… but seriously, what sort of image does it portray to your customers when they land on a web page like the Blithe Spirit one? Its it a good reflection of a property worth around 1 million dollars? Hmmmm, we all know the answer to that one – don’t we!