Web Design and Development: The Right Tools for the Right Job

 


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As any webmaster knows, designing and developing a website can be a daunting proposition. There are millions of websites out there to compete with, and whether your site's purpose is to promote your business, inform, or entertain; web design is an important consideration if you want traffic. It's tough to attract visitors and even tougher to keep them on your website once they arrive.

Fortunately, there are many tools out there for webmasters to make the tasks of design and development easier. Wading through the sea of web tools can also be a time-consuming process. In designing your website, you should be aware of all the components that go into successful development and how to use them to your best advantage.

The first step, other than developing great informative content for your visitors, is to put everything together in an attractive, user-friendly format. If you need a little help in manipulating HTML coding or CSS (cascade styling sheets), you might visit www.xhtmlandcss.com for advice and tutorials regarding these components. CSS in particular is an invaluable tool for webmasters; these are the programs that control the set of styles for your fonts, tables and many other attributes of your website. The ability to manipulate CSS allows you to customize sites such as web forums and blogs and create a website that stands out and gets noticed. You can also amplify the attractiveness and user-friendly attributes of your websites with e-mail and forum signature generation tools from www.needasig.com and brighten your format with free smilies from www.thesmilies.com. Internet users love extras, and adding customizable interactions such as signatures and smilies will help keep visitors coming back.

Once your site is developed, you must then undertake the task of optimizing your website for search engines. There are many ways to do this. One is to use relevant keywords throughout your content and page tags-without overusing them-that will help visitors find your website when they're looking for information. Using a keyword generator such as the free tool at www.keywordmine.com is an easy way to find plenty of relevant keywords and phrases. When incorporating keywords into your content, you should make sure the text reads well. The practice of keyword stuffing to boost search engine ranks not only endangers your listings with search engines, it also turns visitors off to your website and will keep them from coming back.

Another component of website optimization is getting your website listed with search engines. If search engines can't find your website, neither can visitors! After you have created great content with relevant keywords and lots of user-friendly extras, you should then begin the process of getting your website out there for people to find. You can submit your website URL and descriptions manually. Major search engines such as Google, MSN and Yahoo include links to their submission process for manual submission. However, these links can be difficult to find. You may want to consider using a search engine submission service to submit to several search engines at once; there are many good, free submission services that cover multiple search engines. It is important to remember that submitting your website once is not enough to get it noticed on the Internet radar. You should carry out the submission process on a regular basis. However, you also must realize that submitting your website too often can get your URL banned from some search engines. It is a good practice to submit to search engines every 30 days.

Beyond search engines, you should also list your website in as many relevant directories as you can find to increase your site's exposure. Strive to find directories that don't require linkbacks to your website for listings, because reciprocal links carry far less weight with search engines than strictly inbound links. One excellent directory service that doesn't require linkbacks can be found at www.submiturlhere.com . You can find many directories for your website; just make sure they are relevant to your content.

If you have multiple websites or long website URLs, another great tool for you to use is URL redirection. You can get a short, easy to remember and easy to post URL for your website that will sit well with search engines and make it simpler for you to advertise your websites on forums and in e-mail messages and signatures. Free URL redirection tools are available at www.smoothredirect.com. Once you have more experience with URL direction, or if you are already an experienced webmaster looking for more ways to optimize your website, you should consider making use of tools like URL cloaking, path forwarding and frame killers. The website www.kingofurl.com offers free advanced redirection tools without those annoying, visitor-detracting banner ads you want to avoid.

Tracking visitors to your website is another important aspect of running a successful site. You should install a web counter that is invisible to visitors, but allows you to find out where your traffic is coming from so you can concentrate your promotion in effective areas. For example, a good web counter will not only tell you how many hits your website receives, but whether they are new or returning visitors and how they found your website, whether through a directory, a search engine, or an e-mail promotion. You can find free web counters with excellent tracking tools at www.webstatservice.com for your website.

There are many components that figure in to web design and development. Today's webmaster is fortunate indeed to be able to find free tools for optimization and integration. Make your website interesting, interactive, and accessible to search engines through submissions and directories, and the visitors will come. While you're designing and developing your site, be sure to bookmark comprehensive web tool repositories such as www.webmasters-cavern.com for easy access to great information. The more you know about web design and development, the easier you will be able to navigate the complexities of the Internet and find cyber-success for your business, informative or entertaining website. Making use of free web tools is a great way to get ahead of the competition!

Praveen owns a number of successful websites including Webmasters Cavern, The Smilies, Submit URL here, and many others.

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