Ten Tips for Building A Better Web Site

Are you considering updating your business’ web site? What’s that you say…you still don’t HAVE a site for your business? Whether you’re planning a re-launch or a brand new site, here are some things to consider to create a better experience for visitors and a more successful web presence for your business.

Identify What Your Site Will Need

Structure and Appearance

Visit competitors’ sites and browse sites that visually appeal to you for ideas.

Functionality

Decide what functionality you would like your site to have. Forms, shopping carts, analytics, etc. ideally should be incorporated into your site at the outset.

Graphics

Will any graphics need to be specifically created for your site? Do you have files available for your logo and any other existing graphics you will need?

Keywords and Search Engines

Think about what keywords people might use to search for your product or service. Sites like wordtracker.com provide information for search engine optimization. Use their free trial for an idea of how appropriate keywords will work with search engines. These words should be incorporated into your content and your page titles.

Maintenance

With a Content Management System, you can make content changes to the site yourself rather than relying on the designer to make changes.

Web Site Dos and Don’ts

  • The most effective web design is one that utilizes quality content as a foundation. A beautiful-looking web site can only do so much if the content is not relevant or well-written.
  • DO provide an intuitive and consistent interface. Visitors shouldn’t have to guess how to navigate through the pages of a website. If you doubt it, check out this site for Sprint.
  • DO make your information easily accessible. Organize content into logical pages that are easily identifiable. Many visitors will get discouraged and leave if they can’t find specific information for which they are looking. Visit this site for Dell Laptops and see how long it takes to find useful information.
  • DO Minimize Clicks. Create a chain between the user and the information on your website in as few clicks as possible. See Bow-WowBooks as an example of what not to do.
  • DON’T use an “Enter Site” link or a Flash intro page that makes a visitor work to get to the heart of your site. Many viewers won’t even bother clicking the link, instead navigating to another site. And, aside for user experience, Flash does not play well with search engines! To get a flavor of this type of frustration, visit jones, partners: architecture.
  • DON’T use distracting animation, graphics or sound. Excessive Flash animations, animated GIFs, blinking text, music, etc. contribute to an unprofessional look. If you don’t believe it, check out this extreme example at Fabric Land.

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