Hints & Tips

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Tips for Website Navigation

When creating your website, you need to remember that your website is just one of the millions that are on the Internet today. The best websites out there are those that are easily understood, easy to navigate and which most closely relate to the topic that they are discussing.

People who surf the 'Net have become quite used to seeing things in a particular way. The trick in website navigation is ensuring that your navigation is easy to recognize and familiar to use. Here are some basic tips to help you lay out your website's pages with your visitor's needs in mind.

? Try to keep your pages to 50kb or less, including images. If your page takes more than 8 or 10 seconds to load, it is too big. People will not wait for it to finish loading and you will lose that potential visitor.

? Use common names for your page links such as ?Home?, ?Contact Us?, and ?Help? etc. that are easily recognized and understood. The easier it is for you visitor to find their way around the longer they are likely to stay.

? Make use of anchor tags within longer pages that will allow visitors to return to the top of the page with a simple click. eg. <a name="top"> would go at the very top of your page and <a href="#top">go to the top</a>. As a good rule of thumb, if you can click ?page down? key on your computer more than three times to reach the bottom of the page, it is probably best to break that page into several, smaller pages.

? If you wish to use media such as Flash, etc. it would be a good idea to offer regular HTML pages for those that want or need a faster loading version of your site.

? Ensure you link your site?s logo to your homepage and ensure you have a regular link on every page of your website back to the homepage. eg. <a href="index.html"><img src="images/sitelogo.gif" border="0"></a>

HTML Tags affect every page element you place between the Opening and Closing tags and you must add a Closing Tag for every Opening Tag you use.

Tips on Writing for the Web

? Write your content in a way that everybody can understand. The easier you are to understand, the more likely you will have repeat visitors.
? Use 50% less words than you would use on print.
? Keep your pages short. If need be, break long pages into several smaller pages and link between them.
? Font size shouldn't be smaller than 10pt. for the body of your pages.
? Use a spell checker. Spelling mistakes are embarrassing and can hurt credibility.

Creating Vertical Rules and Lines

Horizontal rules or lines are a snap in HTML, as they are embedded in the language with the <HR> tag. No such tag exists for vertical lines, but it's pretty simple to create this effect on your pages.

We do this by building a .gif image we'll call "vertbar.gif" and then placing that next to some text. You can build the image to width, say 2 pixels, and form the height as desired using the img height attribute, like this:

<IMG SRC="vertbar.gif" width=2 height=n align="left">

Now type some text next to the image and you'll see that it flows alongside the image.

Incidentally, did you know that the Horizontal Rule tag <HR> can take attributes of its own? They include:

Width: width in pixels, Size: height in pixels, Align: left, right or center, Color: color in hex format.

So, we could build a horizontal line, using attributes, like this:

<HR width=100 size=2 color="#000000" align="center">

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