9 Keys to great Web Site Design
Clean web site design - A bad web site color scheme can drive people away from your web site. Choosing colors that make your web site difficult to read will cause visitors to leave. Some web site color combinations can cause individuals with color blindness to not be able to read your site at all. Although an aesthetically pleasing web site is important, even more important is that your web site visitors find what they came looking for. Your web site should be formatted in such a way that you lead visitors' eyes toward important elements.
Clear web site navigation - Your visitors need to know where to go within your site to find the information they are looking for. There are really only two places for traditional site navigation to be placed: across the top of the page (usually below a header) or the left column of the web page. That does not mean that navigation cannot be located in other places, it is just that most visitors expect navigation to be in those two places.
Site map - A solid partner to clear web site navigation, the site map allows for a single page to be a gateway to all other pages on your web site.
Proper use of html tags - Acceptable use of html code changes over time, it is important utilize code that can be interpreted correctly by browsers in the long term. Some html tags can be used to advance search engine optimization, however when used incorrectly they can be detrimental to your web site rankings.
Clear message to web site visitors - On the Internet, there is very little time to impress upon visitors your web site message. It is important that visitors understand what you have to offer within the first few seconds of their arrival. Descriptive headings and page titles will help visitors know if they are in the right place.
Minimal file size - Pictures and graphics are a welcome addition to most web sites. It is important to optimize graphics to balance small file size with graphical quality. Keeping the file size small enables visitors with limited bandwidth (dial-up users) to enjoy their visit to your site without having to wait extended periods of time for files to download. 30 percent of all interent users are dial up users. Do not leave out 30 percent of your potential customers. The bottom line is that your site will load quickly with smaller file sizes. Web pages should generally be under 100KB depending on the type of content on the page. Good web site design sets the underlying HTML code to present the web site text without having to wait for the graphics to load.
Browser compatible - Designing for multiple browsers is imperative. Even though Internet Explorer has a stranglehold on the browser market, it is imperative to include up and coming browsers like Firefox. As market share of Internet browsers changes, your web site will be well positioned to provide a positive experience for all users and browsers.
Reliable hosting - Your hosting service can be the most important part of your online presence. If your web site host is unreliable, then your web site is unreliable. A host server is a computer that holds your web site files and sends them to visiting computers/people.
Search engine accessibility - Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN love to index text. The smart usage of text on a web site can make or break search engine rankings. The text on web sites is used to categorize and classify sites within search engine result pages. Sites that are purely comprised of Flash and graphics may look pleasing, but do little or no good when it comes to search engine indexing. With that being said, there are ways for Flash web sites to be indexed however it takes a skill level beyond the novice Flash designer.
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