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Web Site Design Basics - From A Marketers Standpoint

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Web Site Design Basics - From A Marketers Standpoint

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4) Solid Promotion Strategy

If you want to achieve anything more than an online presence, you have to promote it actively and strategically. It would be a shame to build a web site only to mention it to existing customers "hey we have one". In my opinion, a web site is a great marketing tool to get new customers.

On the web, it's not "Build it and they will come." It's "Promote it and they will come, and keep promoting it, and they will keep on coming." Once you stop promoting your site and updating it with fresh content, people will stop visiting.

You need to have a solid promotion plan when you start. Some promotion strategies have to be integrated into the site from day one. A good example is opt-in email marketing, which is very powerful by the way. If you don't capture visitors' email addresses, how will you do that?

5) Professional Image

Your web site should look professional. It should not look as though you have spent 5 minutes developing it. By looking professional, it shows you are serious about your business.

One of the ways to make your site look professional is to have a nice logo.

Make sure all the links on your web pages work. There are very few things as annoying as "Error 404 file not found". Also make sure all the images on your site work. It gives your visitors a poor first impression if images don't load, and they will often leave.

Keep banner exchanges or banner ads to minimum.

Test your site with different platforms, browsers, screen resolutions, and color settings. Most surfers are using Windows IE with 800x600 resolution. However think for visitors using Mac or Netscape. They may find your site odd or even not functioning properly. 

Make sure the layout is neat and clean. Don't make it too busy. Choose easy-to-read color scheme. Whenever you are not sure how a professional site looks like, go to Yahoo homepage.

Click here for the top 10 mistakes that make a site look amateur.

6) Fast Loading

The homepage of your web site should load within 10 seconds. This is where you have to control your graphic designers.

Today, few people will wait for one minute to view a web page. Your competitors are just a click away providing similar products or services. Longer downloading time means that you are losing potential customers.

You can significantly increase the speed of your web site by decreasing the number of images. If you have to use many small images on your web site, ensure that you include the "height" and "width" attributes for the image.

"Less is more". Again, just take a look at Yahoo when you fall in love with a big beautiful graphic.

7) Clear Message

Your web site should be direct and immediately tell the visitors what you are offering and how they can benefit from it.

If the visitor cannot see what you are offering, I promise they will not hang around to find out. They are coming to your site to find something, if it is hidden somewhere deep inside, visitors will not waste their time looking for it.

Have something to grab their attention and ask them to click to find out more details.

8) Easy Navigation

Navigating your web site should be easy. Don't make your visitors hunt for navigation or wonder where to go next. If you've done the job right, it will be right there when they are ready for it. A simple click will lead visitors to where you want them to go.

Keep menu links to important pages at the top, bottom, or left hand side of every pages. Keep navigation system consistent.

Keep the number of clicks required to get from your home page to any other page on your site down to four. If it's more than that, you may have to re-consider your web structure or navigation system.

Consider using site search engine if you have a fairly large web site, say more than a couple of hundred pages. With that scale, it's rather difficult to locate specific information without search feature.

Never make visitors get lost.

9) Communication Channel

Always include a Contact Us page with an email address where visitors can reach you. This is essential. If potential customers visit your site, have questions, and canít find your contact information, they may go on to a web site that can fulfill their requests. Try to reply to emails within 48 hours.

It's advisable to put mailing address and telephone number as well. Not only will it provide methods for visitors to contact you, it will also shows you are real and builds credibility and trust. Personally, I never buy anything from a web site with no physical address listed.

You can also set up feedback forms to make it easier for visitors to communicate with you.

10) Consistency

Keep your web site consistent by using the same layout, logo, navigation system and color scheme on every page. The last thing you want is to make the visitor confused.

In summary, keep your web site fast, simple and easy to use, and I promise you will have a successful web site.

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