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 become successful when considering a new website or redevelopment of an existing one. We have covered everything from design principals 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Frames on websites are not a good idea as they are becoming outdated and are considered unprofessional and cheap.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 must have a small number of images, and 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.
Splash pages are not ideal as first impressions are everything. People generally scan a website between 10-30 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 IT 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.
Do not have popups on your website. People hate popups.
Navigation. Keep your navigation accessible to your user where they can instantly have access to your site's content.
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.
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 learned a thing or two on designing a successful website.
(c) Newpath IT Pty Ltd, 2006.