Don't count on your sixth grader to build your site. Here are 5 tips to a better website.
OK – it’s true – your sixth grader CAN build a site and so can your buddy looking for work between beer breaks. Today there’s so much more to making a web site work than just putting up a page. You need to consider how well your site can be navigated, linked, and how well it will perform with a wide variety of search engines and browsers. Design can made the difference between a half hour exploration and a click off in disgust because the page takes too long to load because of all those cool video files you added incorrectly.
Here are a few things to consider when building or upgrading your website:Have a Focused Plan – develop a site map before you start on your site. Know what pages you want and where you want your customers to go. At all times keep in mind what goals you have for your web site, for instance: information, increased sales, or membership.
Content is King – Make sure your language is clear, concise and is benefit oriented. Don’t go on and on about yourself or your company. Tell your customer what makes your company different how you can help them. Write for a low literacy audience. We usually write at a 6th to 8th grade level to ensure effective communication.
Consistency is Important – keep your layout standardized throughout the site. Keep links in the same place – don’t make people look for them. Remember if your viewer can’t find it in 3 clicks, they’re gone.
Understand Technology (at least a little) – remember there are still a LOT of people out there with dial-up Internet access and won’t wait for your movie to load. FLASH or video based sites are not fully recognized by search engines. This hurts when people look for you on Google, MSN, YouTube or other search engine.
Use a Statistics Package – and monitor it monthly at least. Keep track of where your visitors are coming from and when they are viewing you most frequently. Plus it’s fun to see how often the competition is checking you out, and it’s important to know that your customers are shopping most on Tuesday at noon.
Finally, make sure your site is carefully tested with a variety of browsers before going live, and keep it under wraps while you are working on it. It makes your company look sloppy if your site is not finished and there are lots of broken links and blank pages.