Ways to please your visitor

1: Browser/platform compatibility

Your visitor expects your site to work in their browser/platform at all times.

Solution – provide a site that works in all modern browsers and platforms.

Benefits – He or she can now wait for your site to load knowing that – at the least, they can access it. (First base is a major step!)

2: Load time

Your visitor is very very impatient and has the attention span of a 15 year old grey haired dog with arthritis in it’s knees and a bowl with no dog food in it.

Solution – provide him/her with a super quick loading web site.

Benefits – He or she will be so pleased they may just look further into your web site and see if it holds them to interest.

3: Design

Your visitor is very critical and expects a professional design at least for their time.

Solution – provide him or her with a very nice, clean and professional layout.

Benefits – He or she will be impressed and may decide to venture even further.

4: Navigation

Your visitor is on the prowl and wants to find what they are looking for yesterday.

Solution – provide him or her with a navigation system that enables a quick and an effective route to what they are looking for.

Benefits – He or she will be very pleased they may spend some time on your site discovering if what they found is of value to them.

5: Content

Your visitor demands the very best – best being 22 carrot gold not that awful gold plated rubbish.

Solution -provide him or her with up to the date content that is easy to understand, writing and produced well and to the point.

Benefits – He or she will be very pleased they may even bookmark your site for future reference.

Access + quick loading + professional design + excellent navigation + great content = a very competent web site that should serve the purpose of both yourself and more importantly your visitors.

In these days and age people are demanding more from a web site and so they should. There is no excuses any more. We have all the tools available to build competent web sites to a professional standard. We don’t have to be a pro we just need tounderstand the visitor more – and boy are they/we demanding.

How to review a website?

I’m fortunate to be able to review many websites each day. Learning from the successes and failures of others is important to the success of my own current and future endeavors and equally important to readers of Website Magazine. But on what criteria should a website be judged? While there are no hard and fast rules to what makes one website “better” than another, when you look at professional and novice websites day in and day out, you end up getting a pretty good handle on what is going to work and what’s not.

Never one to cast the first virtual stone at the hard work of designers and web professionals, here are a few guidelines that I personally use each and every day to assess the overal design of a Web presence:

- Is the Design “pleasing?”
This is completely subjective, but most of us know when a design is pleasing. Mismatched colors and a variety of fonts only cause many to simply back away and perhaps never come back. Not only ugly, such sites look unprofessional and cause feelings of mistrust. How do you know if your website design is pleasing? Ask someone without a vested interest in you business or whom you trust and chances are good you’ll get a honest answer.

- Is the website “innovative?”
I am a proponent of using publically available templates for website design, whether they are from sources like OSWD or those that are found individually and used for WordPress blogs. When experts look at thousands of websites and notice that 10 or 20 feature the exact the same design, there is simply no way you’ll appear innovative, regardless of how innovative the idea or content being presented.

- Is the content “appealing?”
Here’s another tricky one. Content is typically appealing only to specific groups. Some of us are interested in benefits, others are interested in features. How does a designer satisfy both goals? Images assist greatly in developing “appeal.” If you know the audience, you’ll be able to find an image that reflects their demographic.

- Is the website “easy-to-use?”
There’s nothing more discouraging than website features that don’t work. Actually, scratch that – in fact there is. It’s the complicated, endless stream of navigation that turns off users (who will never return) more than it is broken links. The reason is that Web experts, just like consumers, are forgiving – but only to a certain point. Fail to explain how something works on the site or force detailed registration to access information and you’ll elicit some negative feelings with your potential customers. You need to identify your audience and give them what they want with as few clicks and hassles as possible.

- Does the website “meet it’s own goals?”
This is perhaps the most important point to consider when assessing a website. Often Web professional think more is better when, in reality, less is more. Not forcing users to make multiple decisions will benefit your bottom line. Have 10 goals for your website’s landing page? Cut it down to three and the conversion rate on all will be much better and earnings much higher. Don’t make users think – they won’t, they’ll just leave.

Making user friendly Online forms

An online form allows prospects to take a variety of actions: contact you, subscribe to your e-zine, request information and, of course, order something. A form is a communication tool for them and a marketing tool for you. You need an online form to collect contact information and to get permission to communicate with prospects. Otherwise, once they leave your site, they could be gone forever.

An online form itself isn’t effective marketing, however. In fact, if you’re committing the following mistakes, yours could be costing you customers.

  • Requiring unnecessary information : Do you really need prospects to provide personal information such as a company title, phone number, mailing address and registration of a login name and password? If not, remove these fields or label them as optional.
  • Restricting open fields : Ever type so many characters that a field ended before you finished? Expand the length of your fields to account for long names, e-mail addresses and other information you require.
  • Forcing repeat work : If your forms are not completed correctly, are prospects forced to start over? They won’t. Be sure to retain the information already entered while pointing out the area that needs attention.

Don’t just fix your forms; optimize them. Try these time-tested tips to make your forms better marketing tools:

  • Include your contact information. Give prospects the option to call you instead of, or in addition to, completing your online form.
  • Offer your e-zine. While they’re already contacting you, invite them to subscribe to your newsletter.
  • Ask how they found your site. This optional question could give you insightful marketing information without putting off prospects.

Your online forms get prospects to make initial contact with you. Make this process painless because your online forms won’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

File Formats in Web Graphics

You currently can use only three image file formats in the Web Site Design: GIF, JPG, and PNG. These formats all compress images to create smaller files. Knowing which file format to use for which type of images is important. If you choose the wrong file type, your image will not compress or appear as you expect. Color depth (described in the “Color Basics” section of this chapter) is a factor in image file format as well. Of the three Web-based image file formats, JPG supports 24-bit color, GIF supports 8-bit color, and PNG supports both 8-bit and 24-bit color. The file format’s color depth controls the number of colors that can be displayed.

GIF
The Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is San Francisco Web design for online delivery of graphics. GIF uses a lossless compression technique, meaning that no color information is discarded when the image is compressed.
The color depth of GIF is 8-bit, allowing a palette of no more than 256 colors. In fact, the fewer colors you use, the greater the compression, which results in smaller file size. The GIF file format excels at compressing and displaying flat color areas, making it the logical choice for line art and color graphics. Because of its limited color depth, GIF is not the best file format for photographs or more complex graphics that have gradations of color, such as shadows and feathering.

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Benefits of Google sitemap

Google Sitemaps enables Webmasters to Directly Alert Google to Changes and Additions on a Website and that’s just one of 7 Benefits.

Telling search engines about new pages or new websites use to be what the submission process was all about. But major search engines stopped using that process a long time ago.

Google has for a long time depended on external links from pages they already know about in order to find new websites.

For webmasters and website owners Google Sitemaps is the most important development since RSS or Blog and Ping, to hit the Internet.

Using RSS and Blog and Ping enabled webmasters to alert the search engines to new additions to their web pages even though that was not the primary purpose of these systems.

If you’ve ever waited weeks or months to get your web pages found and indexed you’ll know how excited we webmasters get when someone discovers a new way to get your web pages found quicker.

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