Essential Tips For Good Website Designing

The starting point for every effective website and successful online project is the design itself. We presume that the website is setup on a good web hosting environment like Todhost. A well designed website will experience good web traffic and the fundamental determinants of website traffic lie with how the website itself is designed. Any website that does not attract traffic will not be useful and will not be worth the efforts and investment.

In this article, we will advice webmasters and website owners of key aspects to take seriously in designing their websites.

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Replace the background images with CSS3 backgrounds:

If there are a lot of images on the website, they consume much bandwidth and make your website quite slow. You can deal with this effectively by replacing background images with attractive CSS3 gradients that use little space and look great. It is not necessary to know a lot about CSS3 before you start using it. You will find CSS gradient generator tools online that will help you to copy and paste the new CSS code in your own style sheets and you can add them in the website.

Replace images with text:

You do not need to use images to replace site titles or to display information that can be written with text. These are not search engine friendly approaches to website design. Preferably, you can convert the text images into header text (i.e. H1 H2 H3, etc) containing the important SEO keywords and phrases. It is important to ensure that you refrain from keyword stuffing. If the appropriate keywords are used, you will notice improvements in the page rank and search engine rankings.

Responsive web design:

It is important to have both desktop and mobile websites also. A whole lot of people out there use mobile devises and it has become quite important to include mobile versions and desktop version of websitel. As the number of smart phone and tablet users increase, this will have to be done by all businesses. In the near future, mobile access to internet is going to outpace the PC’s. With a responsive web design, people will be able to access the website from their mobiles, desktop’s or tablets and the screen resolution will be perfect as a responsive design adjusts the website resolution with the screen resolution. This results in increased readability.

Need For Speed:

Page speed and performance of the website is taken seriously by Google and you should not ignoe this. There are 2 main ways of speeding up the website page:

Reduce the time taken for creating a page on the server
Reduce the amount of data transferred from the server to the browser
Ensure proper caching and css, java script and other optimization mesures

These 2 factors can be accomplished by having a good web hosting platform that has the capacity of supporting your website. The web hosting platform you select is the most crucial investment for your website. If the visitors/readers want to see something on your website and if the web page takes ages to load, then they will not keep waiting. Even if you are getting good traffic, you will not be able to sustain it if your website is slow.

Provide clear navigation:

On page time is an important criterion as far as search engine ranking is concerned, so anything that can keep a visitor on site will help, navigation also has an important role in this. A clear and consistent navigation determines the success of the website. Information must be accessible from all parts of the website. When the visitors arrive on your website for the first time, they scan the top of the website therefore it is beneficial to place the most important navigation links there. Similarly, the footer is also a valuable place that attracts a lot of readability; important links can be placed there as well.

A lot can be achieved through an efficient web design. Along with search engine optimization, if you implement these strategies as well, greater benefits can be achieved.

You wull also want to read:

Adding a sitemap to your website

Common Mistakes That Affect Website Performance and Search Engine Ranking

Designing a Website Like a Search Engine Crawler

Google Webmaster Tools Introduction

Improve Your SEO in Four Simple Ways

SEO Ranking and Website Speed

Common Web Design Mistakes to Avoid

Mistakes can be costly and so it is with website designing. Web design mistakes can dramatically impact their effectiveness negatively. In this article, we have put together a collection of web design mistakes that must be avoided to build and enjoy a productive and profitable online experience.

1. Lack of Accessibility
Accessibility refers to the ease with which a wide spectrum of users can access your site. On one level it can relate to the specialist web browsers that are used by people with a disability – a significant market in their own right. Does the page layout of your site fall apart when a visitor changes the text size? Small devices: What does your site look like when accessed from a PDA or mobile phone? How long does your page take to load at GPRS speeds? Other Operating Systems: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer doesn’t run on the Mac or Linux. How does your website design look on Opera, Safari or FireFox? Old Browsers: Believe it or not, there are still plenty of users running browsers that are 4 or 5 years old. A good website designer will take advantage of the formatting and presentation capabilities of the newer browsers, whilst “gracefully degrading” when viewed with an older version. Screen Sizes: There has been an explosion in the variety of screen sizes. Your site needs to be able to display appropriately on different sized screens, and it can’t be assumed that the user will have their entire screen allocated to their browser.

2. Evaluate your frequently asked questions
Your frequently asked questions shouldn't get your users irritated. You must make sure that the questions you put there have been asked and frequently too.Many sites no longer have FAQ pages and have instead updated their content to provide that information.

3. Can’t find contact information
We’re constantly amazed by sites that make it difficult to find physical contact information. For small and medium businesses this is critical as your contact information provides a key link to reality, giving customers confidence that they are dealing with a real business rather than a scammer.

4. Click Here To Enter Site
Don’t waste your home page with a “Click here to enter site” link or a gratuitous splash screen. Your website visitor is already here, so reward them immediately with useful, relevant content.

5. Audio
Audio should be used sparingly on any website and it should never be played automatically, especially if you are trying to reach users in a corporate setting.

6. Too Much Flash
Flash is great when used sparingly and tastefully. Flash can add excitement and movement to your site, adding capabilities that are difficult or impossible using only HTML. Unfortunately it has two key detractors: not everyone has flash and not everyone has the bandwidth to support flash. If you have decided that it is appropriate to use a sizeable flash component on your site then make sure that the user receives visual feedback while it loads.
7. Too many meaningless graphics
The graphics on your site should enhance the user experience. This needs to be kept in balance – enough to ensure that the site is attractive and functional, but not enough to create clutter and slow down the user experience. Site graphics need to be optimised to ensure that the site is displayed at a respectable speed.

8. Search Engine Unfriendly
Whilst having a search engine friendly site won’t guarantee you high rankings on your favourite search engine (that’s a discipline called Search Engine Optimisation), there’s no excuse for not having done the basics. These include having a site map, concise and relevant content, use of standard mark-up tags that are recognised by search engines as well as meta tags such as keywords and a description.

9. Welcome to Our Website
Commence your content with something a little more compelling than “Welcome to our website”. Such an opening appears amateurish and communicates to a visitor that the site is in no hurry to provide them with useful information.

10. Poor Navigation
Navigating through your site should be intuitive. This means that the site navigation should be organised and presented in a manner consistent with accepted web navigation conventions. Stick to standard techniques and standard locations for navigation elements such as links and menus.

11. Poor Colour Schemes
A poor colour scheme will distract visitors from your message. At worst, the message will become unreadable. It is also important to keep vision impaired users in mind, so if your site features coloured text on a coloured background then it would be wise to offer a high contrast option. This can easily be done using style sheets.

12. Expecting that people will read your Web Pages
Very few people read a web page in its entirety. Rather, people scan web pages looking for relevant information, zooming in on the elements that catch their interest. It is therefore important that information be well ordered and easy to locate on the page.

13. Pop-up Windows
Unless you have a very good reason, avoid pop-up windows. They are irritating and many browsers block them.

14. Dead Links
All of the links on your site should work. Having users visit your site and encounter broken links will look unprofessional, cause frustration and undermine the confidence of visitors in your site and hence your organisation. All links on your site should be properly tested. Links to external sites that are not under your control should be tested on a regular basis, especially if they link deep into the content of that site.

15. Requiring That Surfers Install Software
Generally, users will not want to install software to view content on your site. By default, most browsers block websites from installing software. Exceptions to this rule are some extensions/applications that have gained widespread acceptance such as Acrobat and Flash.

16. Pages that are slow to load
Web surfers are notoriously impatient and will punish slow sites by leaving them. A good site will load in no more than a few seconds. Reasons for slow loading pages often include such factors as overloading a site with pointless graphics, sub-optimal graphic formats and hosting factors such as using an overseas hosting company or a “backyard” hosting company. If there is a legitimate, unavoidable reason for having a slow site, then provide visual feedback for the visitor while it loads.

17. Not monitoring your site
There are numerous tools available for monitoring your site. They can provide valuable insights into the behaviour of users on your site, allowing you to determine where they come from, how they found your site and the kind of content that they are interested in and which links are the most popular. With excellent tools available free of charge, there is no excuse not to monitor who is visiting your site and what they do once they arrive.

You wull also want to read:

Adding a sitemap to your website

Common Mistakes That Affect Website Performance and Search Engine Ranking

Designing a Website Like a Search Engine Crawler

Google Webmaster Tools Introduction

Improve Your SEO in Four Simple Ways

SEO Ranking and Website Speed

4 Most Important Website Security Guidelines

Website security in one extremely important aspect of every web design project and it is recommended that security checks and precusions should be adopted during the design stage of the website.

In this article, we look the four most important website security guidelines that will work for every website irrespective of the application.

Back up early and often: Set up (and use and test) a regular backup and recovery process. When done well, this ensures that you can recover from almost any imaginable disaster.

Update early and often: Promptly update to the latest stable version of software and any installed third-party extensions. This ensures that your site is protected from the newest vulnerabilities as soon as a fix is released and from the latest attack methods as soon as a defense is developed.

Use a secure host: Use a high-quality Web host. Do not be fooled by offers of 'unlimited bandwidth, unlimited hard drive space, unlimited databases, etc.

Use the community: Don't forget the truism, "If a deal is too good to be true, it is." It seems that nothing on Earth is unlimited--except perhaps the gullibility of fools and the greed of those who prey upon them. Consider hiring professional assistance if you have inadequate experience or knowledge in this area. One of the advantages of GNU software is that user support is free.
Take good advantage of this by asking good questions within the Forums. When doing so, be sure to use the the most appropriate board, such as Installation, Migration and Updating, Administration.

Recommended Success Factors for Every Website

There are several universal principles that successful websites embody. We recommend that you take these critical factors close to your heart as you commence every web design project down to finishing. We take them one after another:

1. Quality Content
The quality of your content not only plays a vital role in converting visitors into results, but also directly impacts your search engine rankings. Take your time to produce good and attractive content for your website.

2. Usability
To ensure that visitors find your site easy to use, it is advisable to run some simple tests with a small number of people from your target demographic. Just ask them to perform some basic tasks on your web site (such as "purchase 2 widgets using this credit card"€). You may be surprised at the results and the findings may vastly improve your website overall.

3. Accessibility

Because people will access your website in many different ways using an increasing number of connections, browsers and devices. From fast corporate connections to mobile broadband, blackberries & iPhones, speech browsers, old browsers through to old fashioned dial-up the range is enormous. Your site needs to be usable on any of the platforms that people are likely to access it from.

4. A Good Strategy
Ensure that you know why you have a site and what business outcomes you are expecting before spending any money developing a website.

5. An Appealing Design

Everyone wants to have the best looking site. Many web designers become obsessed with this - partly because it is fun and partly because it is an easy sell. Whilst your site should look great. The key is to identify your target demographic and implement a design that they find appealing, but make sure that all of the other points mentioned above have been addressed.

6. A Marketing Strategy to Promote Your Site

Simply having a website is no longer enough. You need to actively build traffic by promoting your site. There's several ways of doing this such as Search Engine Optimisation, Pay per click advertising as well as the traditional offline methods such as print, radio or flyers. The important thing is that you have a strategy and execute it.

7. Give People a Reason to Come Back
Some sites only want people to visit the site once. Unless your site is one of those, give consideration to providing people with a reason to come back.

8. Use Analytics
Analytics provides valuable feedback that can be used to improve your site by identifying bottlenecks and departure points. With that feedback based on real-world usage your site can be improved to enhance its effectiveness.

9. Regular Website Updates
This is one key area required for you to stay secured - Updates. With the continuing trend towards social media and social networking your customers expect to see fresh and up-to-date information. A well designed website is all about keeping the web pages fresh and current and ensuring that all your applications are compatible with latest versions.

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