By Shelley Lowery
doing business on the Internet, one of the most important aspects of
your success is your web site. If your web site doesn't look
professional, no matter what product you're offering your chances of
success are minimal.
Before you begin, if you've never
designed a web page, it would be wise to become familiar with HTML.
(Hypertext Markup Language.) A great place to start is NCSA
Beginner's Guide to HTML:
15 Tips for designing a successful web
(1) The main page of your web site should load in 8
seconds or less with a 56K modem.
According to two recent
surveys, conducted by Forrester Research and Gartner Group,
ecommerce sites are losing $1.1 to $1.3 billion in revenue each year
due to customers click- away caused by slow loading sites. If a page
takes too long to load, your potential customer will not wait.
Ultimately costing you business.
(2) Make sure you include
proper META tags in the HTML of each page of your web site. META
tags are HTML code that enable the search engines to determine what
keywords are relevant to a specific site. About 80 percent of all
web site traffic originates from the eight major search engines. It
would be a good idea to make sure you've done your homework and
fully understand how to optimize your web pages prior to designing
your site. This will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
For further information on META tags read the tutorial entitled,
"Building Your Site."
(3) Be cautious when selecting your background and
text colors. Busy backgrounds make text difficult to read and draw
the attention away from the text. Always be consistent with your
background theme on each page of your site. Your site should be
nicely organized and uniform throughout. Keep in mind, colors affect
your mood and will have an affect on your visitors as well. Bright
colors such as yellow and orange, cause you to become more cheerful
or happy, while colors such as blue and purple have a calming
effect. Dark colors such as brown and black have a depressing
effect. A good rule of thumb would be to use colors based upon the
type of effect you're trying to achieve.
(4) Use minimal
animated graphics. These can be very distracting and can cause your
page to look unprofessional. In addition, animated graphics cause
your page to load more slowly. Fancy graphics won't make the sale.
(5) Your main page should specifically let your visitors
know exactly what you're offering. How many times have you visited a
site and never figured out exactly what they were selling? If your
potential customer can't find your product or service, they
definitely won't waste a lot of time looking for it. They'll go on
to the next site and probably never return. They're visiting your
site for a specific purpose. They want something your site offers.
Whether it is information, a product or service.
(6) Try to
avoid placing banner exchange banners at the top of your page. These
can instantly take your customers or even be indexed by search
engine robots. Limit the number of banners on your site to no more
than two per page. One is ideal.
(7) Always, include your
contact information on each page of your site and try to reply to
all comments and suggestions within 48 hours. This will help promote
good business relationships. Your business relationships are the key
to your success.
(8) ALWAYS check and double-check your site
for spelling errors and make sure your images and links are all
working properly. If you have several errors, this will make your
site appear to be unprofessional. If you are designing your site
using an HTML editor, use spell check. Proper grammar is also very
important. If you've been out of school for a while it's probably a
good idea to refresh your memory. Visit any of the following sites
for a crash course in writing and grammar.
- Guide to Grammar
and Writing -
- A Blue Book of Grammar and
- Exploring English -
- Simpler Words And Phrases -
(9) Design your site to be easily
navigated. Place your navigation links together at the top, bottom,
left or right side of the page. Use tables to neatly align your
links. If you are planning on using graphic buttons to navigate your
site, keep in mind that with each graphic you add to your page, it
will take that much longer for your page to load. If you only have a
handful of navigational links, using graphic buttons will be fine.
If you have over six links, it would be wise to simply use text
links to keep your load time down.
(10) If you must use
frames, use them sparingly. Frames, if not properly used, can make
your site look unprofessional. Avoid making your visitors have to
scroll from side to side to view your content. This can be very
irritating and cause your visitors to leave. If you must use frames,
offer your visitors a choice. Frames verses No Frames.
Try to keep the number of clicks required to get from your main page
to any other page on your site down to four. Keep in mind, your
visitors may enter your site from pages other than your main. Always
have good navigational links on every page and place your company
logo on each page.
(12) If you must use Java on your site,
use it sparingly. Offer your visitors a choice. Java verses No Java.
Java can be slow and has a tendency to crash browsers. Try to avoid
using those pop up boxes asking for your visitor's name, etc. Those
pop up messages are very unprofessional and can be very frustrating
to your visitors when they're trying to view your site.
Do not set sound to "autoplay" when someone visits your site. This
can be very distracting.
(14) All web browsers are not
created equally. View your site through different browsers and
screen resolutions so you will see how your visitors will view your
- Site Inspector - Check your web pages for HTML
validity and browser compatibility.
- NetMechanic - Provides a variety of free
services for your web site including; browser compatibility testing,
graphic file size reduction, link check, HTML check, load time
check, spell check and more.
(15) Continually add new content to your site.
Give your visitors a reason to keep coming back.
* Design a
quality e-book to give to your visitors. It's not as difficult as it
sounds. If you can create a web page, you can create an e-book. The
focus of your e-book should compliment your web site. Simply write
about your passion. If your passion is sales, then you could share
some of your knowledge and experience by designing your e-book to
provide a complete sales training guide. If your passion is home
based business, you could write an e-book about how to start your
own home based business. If you're writing about your true passion
then you shouldn't have any trouble coming up with something to
write about. For further information on e-books, read the article
entitled, "How to Create an E-book and Drive Massive Traffic to Your
Site by Giving It Away."
If you'd rather not write your own e-book, here's
a list of sites where you can pick up some free e-books to add to
- Book Locker
- LD Publishing
* Provide your visitors with quality, informative
articles. Everybody loves free information. It's the top-selling
product online, so use it to your advantage. Write your own articles
or you can pick some up at the following sites:
Announce - Writer & Publisher Exchange
- Marketing & Advertising
- Success Doctor
Before using any articles, make sure you view the
author's copyrights and make certain the article may be published.
If you're not sure, contact the author and request permission to
publish their article whether it be on your web site or in your
e-zine. Most articles for publication can be used free of charge as
long as the authors credits or resource box is included.
best advice I can offer is to Keep It Simple. The simple,
well-designed, professional looking web sites make the sales.
Always strive to learn. Knowledge is the key to
About the Author
Shelley Lowery is
the Webmistress of Web Source - Your Guide to Professional Website
Design and Development. Join The Syndicator, our new, free article
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