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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Components of a Fantastic Web Site
By David Bell
So you've finally decided it's time to create your own
web site. After all, your friends and business associates
have one and you don't want to be left behind on the Information
Super Highway. Great web sites all have a few common elements
about them, and that's what I'll be discussing here. It's
usually a good idea to plan the site out on paper before
even touching your PC. It can be difficult to come up
with content staring at a blank computer screen, so get
out an old fashioned pen and paper and let those creative
You want to be sure to include all there is to know about
your products and/or services. Once you decide on the
main topics it's time to plan out the navigation. You
need to make it simple and easy for visitors to find their
way around your site, otherwise they'll get frustrated
and leave. Keep the navigation consistent on all pages
so your guests don't have to re-learn the menus from page
to page. Graphic links are usually more effective than
plain text, but make sure you use something readable and
easy on the eyes. Make sure the color of the hyperlinks
coordinates with the rest of your site. You should include
your contact information at the bottom of every page,
at the very least an e-mail address.
Businesses should include phone, fax, and company name
too. Not everyone enters a site through the front door
and if you fail to include this information, they won't
know where they are or how to get in touch with you with
comments and/or suggestions. If you surf the 'Net for
any length of time, you'll be amazed at just how many
sites fail to include this vital information. Including
a feedback form with your web site is a good way to add
some interactivity and makes it easy for people to ask
questions without having to pick up the phone. Graphics
make a site visually appealing but, if you use the wrong
ones it can leave a bad impression. Make sure to use an
unbusy background so the text can be read easily. Surfers
are an impatient bunch so make sure the graphics are compressed
as much as possible so they download quickly. There are
many online utilities that will perform this service for
free. You should save simple graphics in a 16 color format
rather than 256.
If your site is large you might want to include a search
function to help visitors find what they are looking for.
The more content you include the harder it gets for visitors
to find exactly what they want. A search form makes this
simple. HTML editors like MS FrontPage makes it easy to
insert search tools into your site and automatically update
itself when new pages are added. Having a web site means
making constant updates. People want to know that the
information they are reading is fresh and new. That being
said you should include the last date the page was updated
on all of the pages in your site. This lets the public
know when changes were last made -- or you can include
a "What's New" page that is specifically used
for this purpose. Adding a page of related links is another
great idea. You can contact other site owners and ask
to exchange links or just add other sites that you like
that compliment yours.
By asking to exchange links you help generate traffic
for each other's sites. The best sites on the 'Net usually
offer links to related sites where more information can
be found on the same topic. If you can write a brief description
next to each link all the better. If you do include a
link page check it occasionally to remove dead links.
It's very annoying to click on a link and get an error.
If you take all of these tips and implement them on your
web site, you'll have an interesting, well-designed site
that people will want to return to again and again. Anyone
can easily get on the Information Super Highway, but it's
up to you to decide on what kind of "car" you
want to be seen in.
I hope this helps in your future marketing decisions.
About the Author David Bell is Manager, Online Marketing,
at http://www.wspromotion.com/ , a leading Search Engine
Optimization services firm and Advertising Agency.