The Birth of a
Successful Internet Business
Part six of ten -- Designing Your Website
By Shelley Lowery
When preparing to design your
website, you must first decide on your website's focus.
If you're designing a mini-site, your website should focus on one
particular product. However, content sites are a bit different. If
you're developing a content site, your site should focus on a subject on
which you have a great deal of knowledge. And, should relate to your
products or services. In addition, your images, ezine and content should
Designing Your Site
When you begin designing your site, your top priority must be your
products. If your potential customers can't find your products, you're
not going to make any sales. It's that simple. Every part of your
website should have one specific purpose -- to lead your potential
customers to your products.
For example, if you will be providing your visitors with tutorials,
these tutorials should relate to your products or services. They should
identify a problem, provide instruction to assist your visitors, and
promote your products as the solution.
The main page of your website is your storefront. It should load quickly
and provide your visitors with a complete overview of everything your
Instead of trying to cram all of your information into your main page,
consider creating sections. These sections can contain highlights of
your information with a link to further information. You can divide your
page into sections by using tables. These tables can contain colored
heading sections for information such as news, articles, products or
whatever you'd like.
It's much better to keep your main page down to the most essential
elements. You can then use links to additional pages to provide the
detailed information. A good rule of thumb is "less is more." In other
words, keep your main page as small as possible, while at the same time,
include your most important elements.
According to two surveys conducted by Forrester Research and Gartner
Group, ecommerce sites are losing $1.1 to $1.3 billion in revenue each
year due to customer click-away caused by slow loading websites.
The main page of your website should load within 8 seconds or less with
a 56K modem.
There are many things that can cause a web page to load slowly
=> Large graphics
=> Too many graphics
=> Animated graphics
=> Too many banners
=> Special Effects
=> Large pages
You can significantly decrease your site's load time simply by
optimizing your graphics. This process will decrease your graphic's file
size without sacrificing the graphic's quality.
You can optimize your images right online. Visit GifWorks for further
Enhancing Your Site
There are a number of ways you can enhance your site without using a lot
of graphics. For example, if you can use the same small images such as
bullets or arrows, it will give the illusion that you're using a lot of
graphics. However, your graphic will only have to load one time. This
will enable you to "recycle" your images to keep your page's load time
down, while at the same time, enhancing your site's appearance.
In addition, you can enhance your site by using tables with colored
backgrounds instead of images.
If an image doesn't enhance your page in some way, you'll be better off
to just leave it out.
If you'd like to set up your web page using tables, try to place your
Heading text above your table code. If this isn't possible, make sure
you include your most relevant keyword phrase within your top left table
cell. This will assist you in ranking higher in the Search Engines.
When designing your site, keep in mind, your visitors will have many
different screen resolutions.
The resolution of a monitor refers to the total number of pixels. The
higher the resolution, the greater the number of pixels. Higher
resolutions present higher quality images.
To accommodate the majority of your visitors, use a standard screen
resolution of 800x600 pixels.
Another way to ensure that your web page will look great to all of your
visitors is to set it up using tables. Instead of using a fixed width
within your table code, use a percentage. This will enable your web page
to span a certain percentage of your visitors' screen size. For example,
if you set your table width at 90%, your web page will automatically
resize and span 90% of your visitors' screen size, no matter what screen
resolution they're using.
Although there are an unlimited number of background and text colors you
could use for your web page, a white background with black text will be
your best option.
You must be very cautious when selecting your background and text
colors, as reading on a computer screen is much more difficult than
paper. You must make your web page as easy to read as possible.
You can add color to your pages using tables with colored cells.
Before you begin the actual design process, I highly recommend that you
download and install two web browsers -- Internet Explorer and Netscape
Navigator. These are the two most widely used browsers on the Internet.
Why download and install both browsers? So you can view your pages
through both browsers, as they are not created equally. Your page might
look great when viewed through Internet Explorer, but may not display
well when viewed through Navigator.
It is very important that you take the time to design your web pages to
accommodate both browsers.
In addition, you can also visit AnyBrowser to view how your site will
look through different browsers and screen resolutions.
Above all else, your product must be your main focus. Your product
should be displayed above the fold of your web page. This is the top
portion of your web page that is visible when your page is first loaded,
without scrolling. This is the most important part of your entire page
-- use it wisely.
Take your time and plan your website very carefully. There is much more
to web design than meets the eye. Do your homework and learn how to
design a website that sells. It will be well worth your time and effort.
Copyright © Shelley Lowery
About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of the acclaimed web design course, Web
http://www.webdesignmastery.com And, Ebook Starter - Give Your
Ebooks the look and feel of a REAL book.
http://www.ebookstarter.com Visit Web-Source.net to sign up for a
complimentary subscription to Etips and receive a copy of the acclaimed
ebook, "Killer Internet Marketing Strategies."
You have permission to publish this article electronically, in print,
in your ebook or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author
bylines are included.
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