Web Design Smart Tips:
- Never Delete a Webpage
- Links That Don't Look Like Links
- Shrink Image Sizes
- Design for the Smallest Screen Size
- Aid Those who Can't See Images
- Don't Ignore White Space
- Always Interlace your GIF(c) Images
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Successful Web Development: 10 Key
By Paul Stefanski
There are many elements that are key to successful web
development. There is no arguing that elements of talent
such as graphic design, writing, and technical expertise
are important. In the long run, however, it is the elements
that are not directly associated with web development
that determine a website's success. For the beginner,
it is important to have a broader view of success
Read. Learn. Devour all that is available. Learn about
HTML, CSS, Bandwidth, Navigation, Writing, Promotion,
Statistics, etc. There is so much to learn it is easy
to be overwhelmed. Don't worry about the volume of information.
Start in an area of weakness or interest and learn more
about it. Take baby steps. Most importantly, no matter
how much is learned, never consider oneself an expert.
Such self-nominating status tends to impede learning.
What is the purpose of the website? Vincent Flander's
over at Web Pages That Suck states that a web designer
should always tell themselves the following:
1. The only reason my web site exists is to solve my customers'
2. What problems does the page I'm looking at solve?
Set reasonable goals for the web development effort. Don't
try to implement all ideas all at once. Create timelines.
Build the basics first, and then fill it out later. Set
content writing goals (a page a week, a blog post a day,
etc.). Set link building goals.
Organization goes hand in hand with setting goals. It
doesn't matter what the organization method is, as long
as it is, well, organized. This means that post-it notes
plastered around the edge of a monitor is NOT an organizational
method. A simple notebook with simple to-do lists suffices.
** Create a "living" site
A "living" site is one that is updated on a
regular basis. Some pages may be updated daily, some monthly,
some quarterly, and some yearly. Users can tell old information
from new information. Many sites include an "Updated
on" timestamp on the bottom of a page. Even if the
information is absolutely correct, if the date is over
two years old users tend to click quickly to the next
item. A recently updated date (even if no changes were
made) helps users know the webmaster has not left the
site to die.
This pertains not only to content, which is covered in
the point above, but to the overall design and infrastructure
of the site. Are the images optimized? Is the design outdated?
Are there portions of the site that are not used? Are
there portions of the site that could be more user friendly?
Are there broken links on the site?
Especially if the website is an income producing, livelihood
supporting website, make sure it is backed up. At the
very least, back it up on a weekly basis. It seems simple,
but many a webmaster has let years of work go down the
drain because there was not a backup.
Who visits the website? How many people visit the website?
Do they stay and browse the website? Do they click on
the right links? Do they buy from the website? The only
way to answer these questions is to track a web site.
Tracking will inform web design in ways never thought
of when the site was originally developed.
Tell others about the website. Don't wait until the search
engines rank the site well. The more people told, the
more people that will come and visit.
Tired of writing content? Tired of figuring out that quirky
Mozilla/IE CSS problem? Tired of link building? Tired
of trying to build web traffic? If anything will determine
success it is the level of perseverance a web designer
brings to the task. Those who persevere and attempt to
overcome obstacles will be the successful ones. They may
not be the best designers or writers, nor the best marketers
or promoters, but they will be the ones constantly learning,
changing and implementing new things in order to make
their websites a success.
About the Author
Paul Stefanski develops a site about recommended web design
tools. It serves as a web resource for web design beginners