The Birth of a Successful Internet Business: Part Six of Ten -- Designing Your Website

 


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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 also relate.

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.

Your Storefront

The main page of your website is your storefront. It should load quickly and provide your visitors with a complete overview of everything your website offers.

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.

Load Time

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 including:

=> Large graphics
=> Too many graphics
=> Animated graphics
=> Too many banners
=> Special Effects
=> Large pages

Optimization

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 information. http://www.gifworks.com/

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.

Tables

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.

Screen Resolutions

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.

Colors

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.

Web Browsers

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.

Internet Explorer
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.asp

Netscape Navigator
http://home.netscape.com/computing/download/index.html

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. http://www.anybrowser.com

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 Design Mastery" (www.webdesignmastery.com ) and “eBook Starter - Give Your eBooks the look and feel of a REAL book" (www.ebookstarter.com )

Visit www.Web-Source.net to sign up for a complimentary subscription to eTips and receive a copy of Shelley's 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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