Navigating the myriad of options available when discussing website design and development can become very confusing for the average business owner. We have compiled a list of 30 tips to help you achieve success when considering a new website, or the redevelopment of an existing one. We have covered everything from design to search engine ranking. Following these tips will no doubt take you far, and assist greatly in a decision that can have a huge impact on your business
Try to have HTML editors built in wherever possible (budget allowing). HTML Editors are a great tool that allow you to change text and content on your website when ever you feel like it, and assist greatly in reducing ongoing maintenance costs of the website. They are a very handy “do it yourself” tool.
Flash animations are nice, but make it difficult for people who don’t have flash support, to actually view your website. Flash also makes it harder for Search Engine Spiders to crawl your site, thus damaging your ranking.
Frames on websites are not a good idea as they are becoming outdated and are fast being considered unprofessional and cheap.
Dark colours are generally a bad idea to use on a website as they appear gloomy. Try using light colours with a few strong colours to support it.
Music on a page is generally a bad idea unless you have a specific reason for it - IE. your website is music related. Add features to allow people to turn it off/on/pause if you do.
Broken links on a website is a website crime! Make sure all your links work correctly or else leave them out.
“Under construction” signs are generally not a good idea and can cause visitors to leave immediately as content is lacking.
Keep your pages load time as fast as possible - people don’t want to wait a whole minute just to load each page. To do this each page should have a small number of images, or the image sizes need to be controlled. The hosting provider also plays a big role in this, make sure you host your site somewhere reputable, and find out the location of the servers, ensuring that your target audience and hosting servers are in the same country (where possible) to assist in delivering content to them fast through the website.
Splash pages are not ideal as first impressions are everything. People generally scan a website between 10-20 seconds before deciding to leave or stay.
Properly coding your site is important - big businesses, professionals, and search engine spiders look for these things. It is important to get references from any potential website designer and do your homework on their portfolio.
Content, Content, Content
Content is everything. There are websites who have poor presentation but their quality content makes up for it. Try to have content that is appealing to your visitors.
Validate your website. Newpath WEB can validate your website’s coding for free, and provide you with a report.
Text over Images
Try to use text rather than images containing text for faster load times and to improve search engine results.
Update your website constantly. This will let visitors know you are hard at work - even if it is something small, and it also assists with your search engine ranking.
Try to limit popups on your website. Generally speaking, people dislike popups.
Navigation. Keep your navigation accessible to your user where they can instantly have access to your site’s content. It’s a good idea to have two navigation options, your main navigation, then another option in the footer of the site.
This is a must. Use contrasting colours for text to allow visitors to be able to scan your website for content.
Think about the little things that you could add to improve your site’s overall presentation. Be creative.
People don’t want to go to websites that have everything any other website has. Try to give your visitors reasons why your website is better than others.
Partnering with other websites related to yours is very important if you want to become well known. It also allows you to grab and share ideas with your partners.
Keep your layout and presentation consistent through your whole website. Always keep your navigation links at the same place otherwise it may confuse your visitors.
Cross Browser Compatibility
Ensure your website looks the same in all browsers. Many people use many different browsers so it is essential that you think of your visitors by making your website compatible with most of them.
Ensure that all your content is unique and do not have the same content on multiple pages - search engines will dock you for it.
Make sure the title of your website is descriptive in what your site contains. A good title is vital to search engine optimisation.
Include keywords to your meta tags that fit your website. If your website doesn’t have the keywords contained in your meta tags search engines may not include your website or it may decrease your ranking.
Find other websites that are related to yours and see what they are doing to be successful.
Try to keep your website’s layout at a fixed width of 780 pixels or use percentages for your site spanning. Everyone has different resolutions and people don’t like having to scroll in all directions to view your website.
Keep your links distinguishable. People want to know when something is clickable. Keep your links a different colour than the rest of your text.
Add alt tags to your images. This helps search engines better understand your website.
Use descriptive URLs for your files. Descriptive URLs better you chance of ranking high in search engines.
Well, that’s all 30 of them! We hoped you enjoyed the read and maybe pick up a tip or two on designing a successful website.
Nathan Sinnott, CEO
Web design is a process of concept creation, planning, structuring and execution of electronic media based content, aimed for delivery via the Internet. Web design is usually in the form of technologies suitable for interpretation and display by a web browser such as Internet Explorer and Firefox, or other web-based graphical user interfaces.
The aim of web design is to create a website - which is a collection of files stored on one or more servers - that presents the sites content to the end user. Such elements as text, forms, images can be placed on each web page using HTML, XHTML, or XML tags. Displaying more complex media (such as vector graphics, animations, videos, sounds) usually requires plug-ins such as Flash, QuickTime, etc.
Improvements in the various browsers’ compliance with W3C standards prompted a widespread acceptance of XHTML and XML in conjunction with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to position and manipulate web page elements. The latest standards and proposals aim at leading to the various browsers’ ability to deliver a wide variety of media and accessibility options to the client possibly without employing plug-ins.
Typically web pages are classified as static or dynamic.
- Static pages don’t change content and layout with every request unless someone technical, managing the site manually updates the page.
With growing specialisation within communication design and information technology fields, there is a strong tendency to draw a clear line between web design specifically for web pages and web development for the overall logistics of all web-based services.
A web site is a collection of information about a particular topic or subject. Designing a web site is defined as the arrangement and creation of web pages that in turn make up a web site. A web page consists of information for which the web site is developed. A web site might be compared to a book, where each page of the book is a web page.
There are many aspects (design concerns) in this process, and due to the rapid development of the Internet, new aspects may emerge. For non-commercial web sites, the goals may vary depending on the desired exposure and response. For typical commercial web sites, the basic aspects of design are:
- The content: the substance, and information on the site should be relevant to the business and should target the area of the public that the website is concerned with.
- The usability: the site should be user-friendly, with the interface and navigation simple and reliable.
- The appearance: the graphics and text should include a single style that flows throughout, to show consistency. The style should be professional, appealing and relevant.
- The visibility: the site must also be easy to find via most, if not all, major search engines and advertisement media.
A website typically consists of text and images. The first page of a web site is known as the Home page or Index. Some web sites use what is commonly called a Splash Page. Splash pages might include a welcome message, language or region selection, or disclaimer. Each web page within a website is an HTML file which has its own URL.
After each web page is created, they are typically linked together using a navigation menu composed of hyperlinks. Faster browsing speeds have led to shorter attention spans and more demanding online visitors and this has resulted in less use of Splash Pages, particularly where commercial web sites are concerned.
Once a web site is completed, it must be published or uploaded in order to be viewable by the public over the Internet. This may be done using an FTP client. Once published, the web designer or developer may use a variety of techniques to increase the traffic, or hits, that the website receives. This may include submitting the web site to a search engines such as Google or Yahoo, exchanging links with other websites, creating affiliations with similar web sites, and other activities.
Web site design crosses multiple disciplines of information systems, information technology and communication design. The website is an information system whose components are sometimes classified as front-end and back-end. The observable content (e.g. page layout, user interface, graphics, text, audio) is known as the front-end. The back-end comprises the organisation and efficiency of the source code, invisible scripted functions, and the server-side components that process the output from the front-end.
Depending on the size of a Web development project, it may be carried out by a multi-skilled individual, or a project manager may oversee collaborative design between design & development team members with specialised skills.
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