Website : Part IHow To Design A Website If Youre A Novice On The InternetMost of my students are Internet novices and ask many apprehensive questions about how to design awebsite. They worry about their ability to design an attractive site and are anxiously seeking thequickest and best alternative.After years on the Net, I believe you need to learn how to design your sites yourself, and heres why ...The Internet is made up of two elements:1. Text2. PicturesYes, audio and video technologies are growing fast. But if you hope to sell on the Net, its critical toappeal to your audience, those folks who are willing to pull out their credit cards and buy your products.A huge percentage of these are still on dialup and certainly arent very sophisticated and fancytechniques will isolate you from many of them.So what are your choices if you want to build a website?1. Buy a template:This can work sometimes. Ive bought them myself and they do look great. But there are some realproblems with templates:* They can be expensive - especially if you want multiple websites. Good templates arent cheap. Thefew Ive bought are in the $60-$70 range.
* If you dont know what youre doing, you can waste your money on templates that wont work for you.For instance, you will often see templates with icons, pictures, company logos, "Buy Now" buttons andmore. Yes, they look great. But when you download the images they are not editable because if they arein jpg or gif format, you cant make changes. The most common editable images are in psd format. Ifyou own image editing software, like Photoshop (which usually sells for about $600), you can make thechanges you wish. But if you dont own this kind of software then forget it - your images cant bechanged.* Editing templates isnt easy. You might unwittingly purchase a template that allows 8 of space - andyour copy needs 10" of space. Now what? Cheaper templates require the purchaser to "slice" them. Thisis tedious and time consuming and requires editing knowledge that most people dont have. Higherquality templates allow the owner to edit them without slicing, but they are more expensive.* Even if you can edit your new template, do you really think that you should allow a designer to dictatethe placement of your sales copy? Beautiful design does not equal sales. Just because something looksgood doesnt mean its a good sales site. Many novices are impressed with the good looks of a template,but Madison Avenue beauty doesnt equal profits on the Net. Earning money comes from effectivedirect response marketing which means testing the elements on your sales page and changing themuntil you have a winner. If your design is forced on you you are limited in the changes you can make.2. Pay a website designer to build a site for you:* Hiring a professional can be expensive. I currently have a goal of building two websites each week for ayear. Lets assume I pay someone $500 to build a website (which is quite a reasonable amount for a welldone site - it often costs much more.) That means I will be paying $1,000/week, every week, for a year.My money is better spent on marketing than design.* Every time you want to make a change on your site, you must wait on a designer to make the changes.This is expensive and can be time consuming if the designer is busy with multiple clients.* Just like a purchased template, most web designers are focused on looks and appearance, rather thanfunctionality or sales. All the best marketers acknowledge that plainer sites are more lucrative becausethe focus is on the copy, the words, rather than fancy graphics or beautiful colors. Take a look at the topmoney-making sites on the net. They rarely are flashy or dramatically impressive.
* Relying on a web designer creates dependency. Generally the motivation of entrepreneurs is freedomso waiting for another person to make even the smallest changes to your site isnt taking you in thedirection you want to go.3. Buy site-making software:Every program I have seen involves a learning curve. One popular site builder, for example, has a 500page manual, is expensive and a lot of the learning doesnt transfer to other site systems. I looked atanother one recently with a 300 page manual. The time that you spend learning these methodologiescould be spent learning an HTML editor that will make you fully capable of building your own sites,whenever you choose, for almost zero cost.Spend the time and learn do it yourself websites. I personally spent two weeks in Dreamweaver Hellseveral years ago. All reviews indicated that Dreamweaver is the best HTML editor, so I bought a bookand determined to learn the software on my own. The first book wasnt long enough so I returned it fora second - and longer - book, which eventually was exchanged for an almost-1200 page manual. Therewere moments of frustration, tears, triumph, cursing and the thrill of success, and I emerged able to puttogether websites whenever I chose.Saying "I want to be an Internet marketer" and not learning how to build websites for yourself is likewanting to be a dentist - and refusing to learn about teeth; like being a star athlete - and refusing topractice your sport. So what if your first sites wont win a design award? Youll get better. And you willbe independent. Isnt that the entire point of working on the Internet?Hiring a web designer to come up with the custom solution that you need can set you back a fewthousand bucks. But you can do the whole thing yourself and make it drag and drop simple for merepennies with a tool like Breezy Websites. See http://breezywebsites.com for details!Website : End of Part I
How To Design Your Site EffectivelyYou decide you want to have a web presence. How do you design your website in a way that iseffective? How do you effectively create website in a way that makes your clients want to come back? Aclient or visitor to your website may not want to come back if their experience on your website istedious and cumbersome. Here are some tips to keep in mind when designing your website:- Dont use a lot of animated graphics. In fact, dont use any at all because it makes the site lookunprofessional.- Dont use frames to design your website. You will be in for a lot of code redundancy and it causes thepage to load slower.- Use graphics at the lowest density possible. This allows the page to load faster.- Try to get most of the content on one page preventing the user from having to scroll down to get theimportant information that your first page needs to prevent.- Use links to navigate to the various sections of the site at the top, side, and bottom. Doing this allows avisitor can get to anywhere in the site from anywhere in the site.- Always have link to get back to the home page on every page of the site.- Use tables to lay out the sections on the site. This way, when one adjusts the size of the browserwindow, it does not alter the positioning of the paragraphs or sections on the page.- Use headers and footers common to all pages and include that header or footer each time a new pageis rendered. This way, if you have to change header or footer information, you only have to change itonce.
- Use a white background for the main content of your page. The reason is that it looks much moreprofessional and it is easier to read.Hiring a web designer to come up with the custom solution that you need can set you back a fewthousand bucks. But you can do the whole thing yourself and make it drag and drop simple for merepennies with a tool like Breezy Websites. See http://breezywebsites.com for details!Website : End of Part IIHow To Design Your Website For Optimal ProductivityWhat works best when promoting your web site.Eight Simple, Yet Essential, Web Design Principlesby: Alan RichardsonAs the internet evolves from its infancy into maturity, website development, design and marketingbecomes more and more sophisticated - and more and more complex. Content manipulation, variousscripting methods, fancy graphics and effects... and on and on... allow us to create some impressive websites.A good gauge of this complexity is the a slew of new internet-related acronyms which popup on aconsistent basis. Heck, I dont know what half of them mean. But one acronym I do know - and its notan internet creation - is nevertheless key to the development and design of any successful businesswebsite. Perhaps youve heard of it - K.I.S.S. As you probably know, it stands for Keep It Simple,Stupid!. And its a methodology widely employed by the best web developers, designers and marketersin the business. A philosophy that provides the foundation for all successful revenue-generating websites.
From the largest, multi-product online business conglomerate to the one-page one-product mini-site,the purpose is the same. Provide visitors, whether internet savvy or first time surfers, with an onlineexperience thats fast, efficient, easy to understand - and dare I say it... yes, enjoyable.Whether your an entrepreneur building your own web site, or reviewing one built for you by a webdevelopment and design expert, it is important your web site, your online business, adheres to theseeight simple, yet essential, design principles. Heed them, and online success is sure to follow. Ignorethem, at your peril. Here they are.Each web page must have a purpose - and that purpose must be clearly stated. While a consistentdesign look and feel is vital across all pages of your web site, each page has a specific function toperform. And that function should be clearly understood by all visitors to your web site. Whether its toelicit feedback, provide feedback, promote your company, present product information, etc., all play arole in your ultimate goal of growing your business.Navigation around and through your business web site must be clearly visible and easy to use. See myarticle on web site navigation for more details.Avoid distraction and clutter by minimizing usage of fancy flashing and moving objects, which providemore sizzle than steak, and make your essential products or services harder to find.All business websites should have contact information clearly visible. A Contact page is minimum. Itsalso advisable to include contact information on every page of your web site. You never know when theurge to turn from prospect to customer will strike your visitor.
Not everyone has broadband. Yes, there are still a fair number of users surfing the internet with slower,less efficient, dial-up access. That may change in the future, but its a reality today. Ignore thissubstantial customer base and youre business will surely suffer. To avoid this pitfall, pay carefulattention to eliminate internet-clogging elements on your web site. When possible, use text instead ofgraphics, static graphics instead of animation, several smaller pages instead of one large page. Do thisand you can feed quite well on the desertions from your flashier competitors.For those who are broadband users, who are not negatively effected by all those bells and whistles,who may actually enjoy such an impressive display, remember, form follows function. This is especiallyimportant on a business web site, where functionality is key. All else is fluff and distraction.For those of us who may be visually challenged, make sure your web site is easy to see. Avoid fancyfonts and use the more legible standard-bearers, such as Times New Roman, Courier New, Arial andVerdana. For standard text, use font sizes of at least 10 pt... 12 pt is better. On many a web site, fontsizes of 8 pt or less are used, perhaps in an effort to avoid the need to scroll. Let me tell you... its muchbetter to scroll than to squint. For when I squint, I usually stroll... right out of the site. Its also a goodpractice to limit the use of italics as they too are harder to read. Lastly, pay attention to text andbackground color. Although white text on a black background looks cool at first glance, it can quicklystrain the eyes. You dont want to do anything that will cut your visitors journey through your businessweb site..Whenever possible, limit page lengths to no more than two page-downs. It is better for performance(page loading) and visitor attention when pages are short, quick reads. If necessary, breakup your textinto multiple pages, with a continued designation at the bottom of each page.There you go. Eight simple, yet essential, web site design principles that can spell the differencebetween online business success or failure. Always remember, youre never more than one-click awayfrom visitor abandonment. K.I.S.S. your website and it will reward you abundantly.
Alan Richardson is a well-known internet consultant and publisher withhttp://www.optimalwebservices.com - a Web resource firm in North Easton, Massachusetts, offeringfree advice and information for web-based small businesses and entrpreneurs.To read other articles by Alan, click here.To signup for the free Optimal Web Services for Small Business ezine, click hereHiring a web designer to come up with the custom solution that you need can set you back a fewthousand bucks. But you can do the whole thing yourself and make it drag and drop simple for merepennies with a tool like Breezy Websites. See http://breezywebsites.com for details!Website : End of Part III