The second thing you must have on your web site is an opt-in form. No visitor to your site should be allowed to leave without the option of leaving their email address. You rarely get two chances with a visitor, so make your opt-in form prominent and offer some freebie to induce them to sign up. This can be a newsletter, a free ebook or perhaps even 5 or 7 part course. Courses are good since you can prove yourself to be an expert in your field.
However, once you have at least a first name and email address, you can keep in touch and send special offers of products that can provide you with an income. You will notice that all of the successful internet marketers have an opt-in form, either directly on their web site, or as a pop-up that appears while you are visiting their site.
Thirdly, it is of great advantage to you have a page saying something about you. Every web site should have an “About Me” page, so that visitors can read about whom your are, where you live and what you have achieved in the past. You can include a photograph of you, and even of your family. People feel a bit more secure doing business with someone who appears to have nothing to hide.
Fourth is contact information. These things that you must have on your web site are presented in order of importance, since what might be the most important to one person could be the least to another. Contact information is essential. You should provide at least a contact email programmed to an autoresponder that informs the sender of the email that their mail has been received and will responded to within at least 24 hours.
A telephone number and postal address, while not essential, lets your visitors know that you are accessible, and don’t mind others knowing your phone number and address.
The fifth essential design item is a simple navigation system. Your main navigation should be on your home page, but this should not provide links to every page in your site. Your home page navigation should take visitors to your main theme pages, which themselves should have further links to lesser pages.
For example, your home page on a writing site could link to calligraphy, which itself could then lead to various calligraphy-related pages, then each sub-page to articles. Additionally to this you could sign up for Google Adsense and place an ‘Adsense for Search’ box on your home page. This provides a Google web search box that can also be used for a site search on up to three of your websites. Alternatively, you can use site search software available on the internet.
If you include these five web design basics, your site will be more successful than without them.
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