Don’t let your trepidation at the thought of creating a website diminish your excitement at starting your new business. You are probably wondering how much designing your website will cost and where to find a designer. Read on to learn some principles of basic web design planning so that you can do things the right way from the beginning.
Keep your pages to a reasonable length. Add content through new pages on your site, instead of tacking it on to the end of a home page. For the most part, readers are hesitant to keep going on a page that seems to scroll on forever. If you must have a lot of content on one page, include hyperlinks at the top and in sections throughout the page. This allows users to navigate through the available content without excessive scrolling.
Always mark files that must be opened in an external program with an icon. Many sites host PDF files, and less commonly, DOC files, that must be opened in Foxit Reader and Microsoft Word/OpenOffice, respectively. These files should be marked with an icon representing the file type, and a link to download the appropriate viewer if the user does not have it.
You should always take time to removed old, irrelevant content. If you have something on your site that lists an event that happened months ago, chances are you have lost some readers. It is an expectation from users that you maintain the site and keep your information fresh, or else they think your site is ill-kept or abandoned. Make sure you regularly schedule time to add new content, and to remove old.
Set up your website to store personal information that users might need to reenter multiple times. When visitors may be filling out multiple forms or information pieces, have the data fields retain their information, and auto-fill subsequent forms that are filled out. Your clients will thank you for saving them the time it takes to fill in information that they have previously done on your site.
To help your web pages load quickly, you should compress all the images on the website page. If you have images that are compressed then pages will load much faster. Nothing is more frustrating to viewers than waiting for a 250k graphic to load when it should really only be 20k.
Choose your web host carefully. Some hosts require you to link to them, while others may force you to install their pop-ups. You should also test their performance using one of the many tools available for free online, as you do not want to host with someone who is consistently slow or crashing.
Add a link where your visitors can send you feedback. This will help you recognize mistakes in your design and give you the opportunity to fix them. This lets your visitors feel like they are actively involved in your site and will want to visit again.
Test early and frequently. This is to make sure your site will be easier to perform maintenance on. Improve your site with every chance you get.
Watch the amount of flashy multimedia that is on your site. Don’t overdo it with a bunch of “extras”. Flash graphics and multimedia may appear enticing, but these may make it difficult for visitors to find the desired information from the site, particularly if they’re viewing your site from a non-Flash compatible device.
From the suggestions outlined in the above article, you should now be all set to tackle the design of your web site. Establish a budget, ask for help from professionals if you need to, and start drawing sketches. If you get started right away, you could soon become the proud owner of a high-quality website that does everything you need it to.