Designing A Web Site for Success
There are millions of web sites on
the Internet today with thousands more being added each day. The
competition is fierce and in order to be successful, you must stay
one step ahead of the game.
One of the most important aspects of your success is your web site.
Your web site is a direct reflection of you and your business. The
appearance of your web site is the most important factor in
determining your sites value. If your site doesn't look professional
or pleasing to the eyes at first glance, its perceived value will be
low. The perceived value of your web site will have a great impact on
your chance of success or failure.
On the other hand, you may have a great web site, well designed and a
quality product or service, but if it takes too long to load, the
value will still be perceived as low. Why? Because your potential
customer will not wait. Ultimately costing you business.
According to two surveys, conducted by Forrester Research and Gartner
Group, ecommerce sites are losing $1.1 to $1.3 billion in revenue
each year due to customer click-away caused by slow loading web
The main page of your web site should load within 8 seconds or less
with a 56K modem. To keep your load time down:
using large slow loading graphics
using large or too many animated graphics
the number of banners to no more than two per page
you must use Java, use it sparingly
you're using Flash, provide your visitors with an alternative link
to skip the intro
consideration of great importance is the Search Engines. You must
specifically design your web site to rank high in the Search Engines.
If your site isn't listed within the top thirty search results, your
potential customers won't be able to find you. When optimizing your
page for the Search Engines, it is essential to include all of the
META tags enable the search engines to determine what keywords are
relevant to a specific site. They should be placed between the
<HEAD> and </HEAD> tags of your HTML.
META "keywords" tag will contain a listing of your most
relevant keywords and keyword phrases that best describe your
web site. List your most important keywords first and separate
them with a comma.
<META name="KEYWORDS" content="your keywords, keyword
META "description" tag will contain a descriptive, readable
sentence describing your web site. This sentence should contain
your most relevant keywords and keyword phrases. Keep in mind,
some Search Engines will display this description when your web
site is returned in a search query.
<META name="DESCRIPTION" content="A descriptive, readable
sentence containing your most relevant keywords and keyword
An image alt tag follows your graphic address in your html code.
These words will be displayed in place of your graphics through
older browsers or when your visitors have their graphics turned
<IMG SRC="yourimage.gif" WIDTH="300" HEIGHT="50" BORDER="0"
ALT="A descriptive sentence containing your keywords and keyword
The TITLE tag is the first thing that a user sees when your site
is returned by a search query. It should let your potential
visitors know exactly what your web site is about and contain your
most relevant keywords and keyword phrases. Avoid non-indexing
filler words such as, a, an, the, welcome and home page.
<TITLE>Your site name: Readable site description with
keywords and keyword phrases</TITLE>
Another very important part of optimization is your text. Your web
page should contain plenty of readable text containing each of
your keywords used in different variations.
(1) Your main page should specifically let your visitors know
exactly what you're offering. 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.
to the personal information you collect from your visitors such as,
email address, Internet Service Provider, etc.. Explain your reasons
for collecting the information and let them know how the
information will be used.
(3) Create a page about you and/or your company. Include your
name, company name, photograph, biography, address, phone number and
email contact information.
(4) Display your copyright information at the bottom of each
(5) Keep in mind, your visitors may enter your site from pages
other than your main, so make sure you include good navigational
links on every page. Place your navigation links together at the top,
bottom, left or right side of the page. Use tables to neatly align
your links and maintain a nicely organized and uniform appearance
throughout. Try to keep the number of clicks required to get from
your main page to any other page on your site down to four and place
your company logo on each page.
(6) Use caution when selecting your background and text
colors. Busy backgrounds make text difficult to read and draw the
attention away from the text. In addition, always be consistent with
your background theme on each page of your site. 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 is to use colors based upon the type of
effect you're trying to achieve.
(7) 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.
(8) If you must use frames, use them sparingly. Frames, if not
used properly, 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.
(9) If you must use Java on your site, use it sparingly. Java
can be slow and has a tendency to crash browsers.
(10) If you're using pop-up windows to display special offers
utilizes cookies. This way, the window will only be displayed to your
visitors the first time they visit your web site.
(11) View your web site through different browsers and screen
resolutions so you will see how your visitors will view your site.
SiteOwner - Check your web pages for HTML validity and browser
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
(12) Continually add new content to your site. Give your
visitors a reason to keep coming back.
Web Design Mistakes to Avoid:
- Animated bullets
- Broken links and graphics
- Busy, distracting backgrounds
- Different backgrounds on each page
- Large fonts
- Large scrolling text across the page
- Large slow loading graphics
- Large Welcome banners
- Multiple banners and buttons
- Multiple colored text
- Multiple use of animated graphics
- Multiple use of different fonts
- No contact information
- No Meta tags
- Over powering music set to AutoPlay
- Over use of Java
- Pages scrolling to oblivion
- Poor browser compatibility
- Poor content
- Poor load time
- Poor navigation
- Poor organization
- Poor overall appearance
- Poor use of frames
- Poor use of mouse over effects
- Poor use of tables
- Pop up messages
- Scrolling text in the status bar
- Spelling/Grammar mistakes
- Text difficult to read
- Too many graphic and/or line dividers
- Too many graphics
- Too much advertising
- Under construction signs
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:
Take some time to research and plan your web site. Your success
depends upon it. The simple, well-designed sites make the