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Website Design


I've been asked many times how a website should be designed, and I've always told them that it depends on what they want to place on their site. To try to help those people some, here are some tips that might help. These are only my opinions, and are not necessarily required to win my awards. I offer suggestions, rather than telling you how you should build your website.

The most important things to consider in website design to me are:

Bullet The flow of the pages themselves. By this, I mean a website should be designed so that it is easy to navigate. The better your links are place on each page is a huge plus. Also, the links should be in the same order on each page so that the visitor doesn't have to hunt for the links.

Bullet The next important thing is site appearance. The images, color and theme should all match each other. By matching the appearance, you create a web site that is pleasing to the eye, which helps people want to return to the site time after time.

Bullet Along with the appearance of your web site, you need to keep in mind that there are people on the Internet that have disabilities such as: being legally blind, having dyslexia, etc. These people may or may not be using special devices in which to view websites. So always use alt attributes in your image insert tags. This way, they will get a description of the images on your website.

Bullet When designing a website it is equally important to keep the audience in mind. The topic should not only be interesting to you, but to the visitors that you want to bring to your website. Always remember to pick a topic that you have knowledge in, or have some idea of what to search for to get information. Websites with information about a particular topic will most likely get more traffic.

Bullet Choosing a title for your website is a matter that should match the topics you have picked. For example, if I have a website that teaches about Native American Culture, then my topic should match the topics within my website. It is also a good idea to give a bit of information on the home page of the site to what your site contains. Especially if you plan to use an entrance page, such as the one you entered this website with.

Bullet Promoting your website depends on the topic you chose. But submitting it to search engines is your best bet. Some will automatically pick up your URL providing you have the right information in your meta tags. Most though, will require you to submit your site to them. There are several that allow you to submit your website for free, but you will have to update it every once in a while in order to keep it listed.

Bullet Search engines go by the information in your meta tags, so be sure to have the correct information placed for your website. It is one of the most important things you can do for your website. Otherwise, getting visitors will take forever.

Bullet I see this mistake all to often. Improper linking to the pages within a website. Always be sure to check those links and make sure that each one works properly. Even your external links should be checked for accuracy. Plus, you should check your external links at least once a month to be sure the website linked to still exists. Otherwise, you end up with a bunch of links that lead to nothing and no place.

Bullet Another mistake I see all to often is broken images. These are images that are placed on the page, but usually not uploaded to the server. This causes the image to appear to be there, but nobody sees it because it is missing from the server. Whenever you upload a new page, or even a whole website from the beginning, always check the images on each page in your browser to be sure they actually load onto the page.

Bullet Another thing to be aware of are corrupt files. Sometimes you can upload several things at once, only to have the wrong thing load on the wrong page. Or the wrong page load and it should be another page altogether. Most of the time, this is easily taken care of by re-uploading whatever got corrupted.

Bullet When creating you website pages, whether you code or use an HTML editor, be sure that your coding is correct and work in the browser. It is also a good idea to have 2 or 3 other browsers to view your pages in, as some browsers have more capabilities then others.

Bullet GuestBooks, ah yes, they are nice. However, most guestbooks offer the visitor a link back to the guestbook owners website. Therefore, it's not necessary to open them in a new window of your browser. If the guestbook doesn't offer a link back to your website, then fine, go ahead and have it open in a new window.

Bullet There is something good to be said about showing a copyright and privacy statement on your website. It is not only a superb idea, but they tell the viewers of your intentions of use for your website, plus they can give peace of mind to those who have children surfing the Internet. For those living in the USA, it is now a requirement by our government to show both. Yet, I see all to many US citizens not using them. For any website to be eligible for the awards on this site, they are requirement.

Bullet I see more and more new websites being built by people just wanting a personal website to share with the world. And all to often, I see them going to others for help that haven't got the skills to teach them properly. It's a real shame, but true. There are several excellent websites to go to learn the skills needed to do website design. Please try visiting my resources page for those sites.  If you're not sure what to look for, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to try to help you.


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