by: Micah D. Cranman
people fail to understand just how important the design
a web site is to your online image. Some simply assume that
because they have a great product they'll be automatically
successful. But in order to achieve online success, one must
have both a wonderful product or service and a great design.
This is because people assume that if the web design
unprofessional, the product is inferior. Just as humans have a
tendency to "judge a book by its cover," they also tend to make
an association between a business's web site and product.
in order to make sure that your web site doesn't express
your business inappropriately, here are 10 things you can do:
1 - Lose those banner programs.
banner "exchange" programs is like saying
to the world,
"I'm a newbie." When people start a web site, they seem to be
automatically drawn to sites like LinkExchange or SmartAge.
Perhaps it's the promise of traffic for free that does it, but
know the truth: banner programs, for the most part, are
worthless when you're just starting out. Avoid the temptation to
plaster your pages with every banner program you can think of,
because it's not going to help you.
2 - Keep your site clean and organized, not "busy!"
not, I repeat, do not make your site overwhelmingly
Have you ever visited a site where there were thousands of
animated pictures, fluorescent text and colors, crowded
pictures, and huge text? Me too. And every time I visit one, I
head for the "back" button in my browser. Don't run off your
visitors without letting them read what you've got to say, or
they'll never buy!
3 - Avoid "clip-art" type graphics like the plague.
totally unprofessional, and scream "don't buy!"
time to learn how to make your own graphics using whatever
program you can get your hands on. We recommend Adobe Photoshop
- http://www.adobe.com - if you have the money. If you're short
on cash, visit Jasc Software to pick up a free demo of Paint
Shop Pro - http://www.jasc.com - which is almost as good as
Photoshop, but with a MUCH smaller price tag.
4 - Don't talk about yourself!
but no one really wants to hear about you. They want
hear about how you can help them and the benefits your product
or service will provide. Focus on them!
5 - TEST, TEST, TEST with every browser!
a look at your site in every type of browser, because
are no standards on the Internet yet. That means that every web
browser interprets code differently than the next, and can
display a page horrendously when another makes it look perfect.
Without testing, you might never discover that you're running
off a large percentage of your visitors just because your site
looks terrible in their browser.
6 - Proofread your ENTIRE site.
grammar or spelling is the end-all, be-all of presenting
yourself unprofessionally online. After all, if you can't spell
correctly, you probably won't pay attention to details or those
"small things" that make a product or service great, right?
Well, that's what your visitors will think. So run your pages
through a spell check once or twice, and have someone else
7 - Keep your design consistent.
visit a site that changes designs, backgrounds, and
navigation systems completely whenever you click a link? Kind of
makes you feel lost, doesn't it? You feel as though you're at
another site. So, keep your web site's design consistent, and
make it clear to the visitor where they are on the Internet and
on your site. (Note: Consistent does NOT have to mean boring!)
8 - Stay away from backgrounds, for the most part.
have a tendency to make a site feel very
unprofessional. If you don't know what you're doing, stick with
a plain white background with well contrasting text. It's
simple, and it's very clean and easy to read.
9 - Use small images.
don't mean that you should use visually small images.
that you should use images that are small in terms of file size.
The best way to go about doing this is to compress your images
to a more reasonable size. Try something like Ulead's SmartSaver
Pro - http://www.ulead.com
10 - Be Careful With Your Fonts.
the biggest indicator of someone who doesn't have a
what they're doing online is a web site with lots of different
(and conflicting) font types, colors, and sizes. Keep your fonts
consistent, and only use one or two, or, if you really have to,
three. And please, keep the size down, will ya?
Micah D. Cranman owns and operates Sybren Design, a web design
firm specializing in helping small businesses build effective
and attractive websites. Visit Sybren today at http://sybren.net
or call 770-971-9868.
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