Five things you should have before approaching
a Web Designer

    • Have general information about your company ready for the designer to review. A simple mission statement may work so that they can
      get a feel for what you offer.
    • Have a general idea of the type of site you want. Should it be an informational type brochure site or an e-commerce shop? What features will it need? A blog or a photo gallery perhaps?
      How many pages will your site have (ie, Home, About Us, etc.)?
    • Have at least 3 websites ready to show that you like or that offer the same features you would like your site to have. These can be related
      to your industry or not.
    • State what the main goal of this project will be. Would you like to increase sales? Or, attract new leads? What would make your website successful? Your designer will need to know what to shoot for.
    • Have a budget in mind for your project and state it. If you are really not sure what it may be, do say so. But, if you do have one in mind, it's better to state it upfront. This will really help the designer determine what can be done within your budget and help offer solutions for
      your project. source: By Jennifer Kyrnin, About.com < top >

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    Plan Your Business Site Before You Start Building

    A site plan will help you create a business website that meets your needs and the needs of your customers. By taking the time at the beginning to draft a plan, you can avoid pitfalls and make sure you have the content needed to get your site off the ground.
    Your site plan should include:

      • The Site Purpose
        What is the point of this website? And how is it going to fulfill that purpose better than any other site on the Web?
      • The Site Goals
        SMART goals can help you take a mediocre site and make it great.
        Once you know the goals of the site, you can plan around them.
      • The Customers
        Who is going to read this website? Try to be as specific as you can regarding your target audience. Include details like: age, hobbies,
        income, job title(s), and so on. You might envision different people coming to different parts of your site - that's fine. But know who the audience is that you want to attract. And if your site is already live, you should include data on the audience that you currently have.
      • The Content
        What will be on the site? Will the content change regularly? Will you focus on selling products with product pages or focus on providing information through articles? Is your content going to be mostly text or images or multimedia? Do you have the content already created or do you still
        need to get it?
      • The Design
        What colors will your site be? Remember that design aesthetic varies across different demographics. So if you're planning a website for cutting edge designers, it will have a different look than one designed for stay-at-home dads (except maybe those stay-at-home dads that are also cutting edge designers...). The design includes things like graphic elements, colors, fonts, and typography. The more you plan ahead of time, the easier the design phase will be.
      • The Timeline
        Once you have the rest of the pieces of the plan together, you should decide on a schedule. Don't forget to include time for testing, revision, and user feedback.
      • Write Down Your Plan
        I find that when I start planning a project, it can get very messy very quickly, so if you plan on having lots of ways to capture your ideas you'll be in better shape. Planning sessions can quickly become brainstorming sessions as well. This is good, but don't let the brainstorming get in the way of getting a solid plan in place for the site. If you find you still want to brainstorm more, then put that into the plan.
        source: By Jennifer Kyrnin, About.com < top >

       

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      Top 10 Tips to a Great Web Page

      Make Your Site Valuable to Your Readers
      There aren't any magic pills to create a great Web page that everyone will visit again and again, but if you follow these ten tips your site will be more popular and easier for people to read.

      1. Know your audience, and keep them in mind when you write.
      If your Web pages are frequented by people with slower modems then designing a page that looks best over a T1 is not a successful strategy.

      2. Keep your pages short.
      If you minimize the scrolling, chances are, your readers will get your message. A good screen size is 640 pixels wide by 480 tall.

      3. Use tables of contents.
      According to Jakob Nielsen only 10% of users will scroll beyond the first screen of text. If that first screen has a table of contents viewers will click on the links to the explanatory text.

      4. Keep images small.
      Large images annoy people. If it takes too long to download, many people will never see it, as they will have browsed somewhere.

      5. Use Web colors.
      The browser-safe color palette will ensure that most people will see your page and images in the colors you intended.

      6.Avoid lots of text.
      People don't read the Web, they skim it.

      7. Check your spelling.
      Use a spell checker, either in your editor or on-line.

      8. Keep links current.
      Check your links often to make sure they are still valid. Using a link checker speeds up pages with many links.

      9. Annotate your links.
      If a page is good enough to link to, then it's good enough to explain
      why you like it.

      10. Put contact information on your pages.

      The Web is interactive and dynamic, and you should welcome comments on your pages. Also, if there is a broken link or other problem, your readers can let you know, easily. source: By Jennifer Kyrnin, About.com < top >

       

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      10 Tips for Good Web Writing

      If you follow this advice, people will read your Web pages

      Content

      1. Write relevant content
        It may be tempting to write about your brother's dog, but if it doesn't relate to your site or page topic, leave it out. Web readers want information, and unless the page is information about said dog, they really won't care, even if it is a good metaphor for what you're trying to say.
      2. Put conclusions at the beginning
        Think of an inverted pyramid when you write. Get to the point in the first paragraph, then expand upon it.
      3. Write only one idea per paragraph
        Web pages need to be concise and to-the-point. People don't read Web pages, they scan them, so having short, meaty paragraphs is better than long rambling ones.
      4. Use action words
        Tell your readers what to do. Avoid the passive voice. Keep the flow of your pages moving.
      5. Use lists instead of paragraphs
        Lists are easier to scan than paragraphs, especially if you keep them short.
      6. Limit list items to 7 words
        Studies have shown that people can only reliably remember 7-10 things at a time. By keeping your list items short, it helps your readers remember them.
      7. Write short sentences
        Sentences should be as concise as you can make them. Use only the words you need to get the essential information across.
      8. Include internal sub-headings
        Sub-headings make the text more scannable. Your readers will move to the section of the document that is most useful for them, and internal cues make it easier for them to do this.
      9. Make your links part of the copy
        Links are another way Web readers scan pages. They stand out from normal text, and provide more cues as to what the page is about.
      10. Always Proofread your work
        Typos and spelling errors will send people away from your pages. Make sure you proofread everything you post to the Web.
        source: By Jennifer Kyrnin, About.com < top >

       

 
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