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15. Building Your Online Business Website Part 5
Here is Why Creating and Keeping Your Web Content Up To Date Is So Important:
Creating and Keeping Your Web Content Up To Date/Content is King! Market On The Net: You might have the best product or service to offer in its class, but it wouldn't do your business much good if your prospective customers do not know of your existence. In this day and age, where technology rul...

10. Work From Home Or Not Work From Home
Should You Work From Home Or Not Work From Home? Consider These First.:
Starting a home-based business or taking the decision to work out of your home is not one that you can take lightly or quickly. This decision needs to be thought through, considered for practical and legal aspects and in tune with your personality. No doubt a lot of people make a good living worki...

06. Crunch Time, Self Evaluation, Should You?
Should You Start An Online Business? Things To Reconsider Before You Do:
You have finally decided to take the inevitable plunge and go in for an online business to begin a new career. It is great to take this step by applying your life's experiences and your passion for doing what you always wanted to do. Frankly, your subconscious mind and aptitude considered all pros...

16. Plan to Maintain Your Web Site for the Long Haul
Discussion On The Importance of Maintaining Your Web Site for the Long Haul:
Once a web site is up and running it is important for you to understand the significance of maintaining it on a regular basis. Experts recommend that the information and style of your web site should be updated often so as to keep your visitors interested. It is also important that your web site i...

Small Biz Tip Category: Web Site Mgmt.
 
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"Good Website Design Practices - Keep Visitors Coming Back"


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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Your website is where your business resides. It's like the front entrance to the headquarters of an offline company. Hence, it is important to practise good design principles to make sure your site reaches out to the maximum number of visitors and appeals to as many people as possible.

Make sure your navigation menu is prominent and clear for your website. The navigation menu should be uncluttered and concise so that visitors know how to navigate around your website without confusion.

Reduce the number of images on your website. They make your site load very slowly and more often than not they are unnecessary. If you think any image is essential on your site, make sure you optimize them using image editing programs so that they have a minimum file size.

Keep your text paragraphs at a reasonable length. If a paragraph is too long, you should split it into separate paragraphs so that the text blocks will not be too big. This is important because a block of text that is too large will deter visitors from reading your content.

Make sure your website complies to web standards at www.w3.org and make sure they are cross-browser compatible. If your website looks great in Internet Explorer but breaks horribly in Firefox and Opera, you will lose out on a lot of prospective visitors.

Avoid using scripting languages on your site unless it is absolutely necessary. Use scripting languages to handle or manipulate data, not to create visual effects on your website. Heavy scripts will slow down the loading time of your site and even crash some browsers. Also, scripts are not supported across all browsers, so some visitors might miss important information because of that.

Use CSS to style your page content because it will save you a lot of work by styling all elements on your website in one included CSS file shared by all your pages. A simple change in this file will propagate to all your website pages even if it is thousands of pages.

5 Important Rules in Website Design

When it comes to your website, extra attention should be paid to every minute detail to make sure it performs optimally to serve its purpose. Here are five important rules of thumb to observe to make sure your website performs well.

1) Do not use splash pages

Splash pages are the first pages you see when you arrive at a website. They normally have a very beautiful image with words like "welcome" or "click here to enter". In fact, they are just that -- pretty vases with no real purpose. Do not let your visitors have a reason to click on the "back" button! Give them the value of your site up front without the splash page.

2) Do Not Use Excessive Banner Advertisements

Even the least net savvy people have trained themselves to ignore banner advertisements so you will be wasting valuable website real estate. Instead, provide more valuable content and weave relevant affiliate links into your content, and let your visitors feel that they want to buy instead of being pushed to buy.

3) Have A Simple And Clear Navigation Menu

You have to provide a simple and very straightforward navigation menu so that even a young child will know how to use it. Stay away from complicated Flash based menus or multi-tiered drop down menus. If your visitors don't know how to navigate, they will leave your site.

4) Have A Clear Indication Of Where The User Is

When visitors are deeply engrossed in browsing your site, you will want to make sure they know which part of the site they are in at that moment. That way, they will be able to browse relevant information or navigate to any section of the site easily. Don't confuse your visitors because confusion means "abandon ship"!

5) Avoid Using Audio On Your Site

If your visitor is going to stay a long time at your site, reading your content, you will want to make sure they're not annoyed by some audio looping on and on, on your website. If you insist on adding audio, make sure they have some control over it -- volume or muting controls would work fine.

5 Ways to Keep Visitors Coming Back

A lot of successful websites depend on returning visitors to account for a major part of their traffic. Returning visitors are easier to convert into paying customers because the more often they return to a site, the more trust they have in that site. The credibility issue just melts away. Hence, keep your visitors coming back to your site with the following methods:

1) Start A Forum, Chat Room Or Comments Form

When you start a forum, chatroom or a comments feature, you are providing your visitors a place to voice their opinions and interact with their fellow visitors. As conversations build up, a sense of community will also follow and your visitors will come back to your site almost religiously every day.

2) Start A Web Log (Blog)

Keep an online journal, or more commonly known as a blog, on your site and keep it updated with latest news about yourself. Human beings are curious creatures and they will keep their eyes glued to the monitor if you post fresh news frequently. You will also build up your credibility as you are proving to them that there is also a real life person behind the website.

3) Carry Out Polls Or Surveys

Polls and surveys are other forms of interaction that you should definitely consider adding to your site. They provide a quick way for visitors to voice their opinions and to get involved in your website. Be sure to publish polls or surveys that are strongly relevant to the target market of your website to keep them interested to find out about the results.

4) Hold Puzzles, Quizzes And Games

Just imagine how many office workers procrastinate at work every day, and you will be able to gauge how many people will keep visiting your site if you provide a very interesting or addicting way of entertainment. You can also hold competitions to award the high score winner to keep people trying continuously to earn the prize.

5) Update Frequently With Fresh Content

Update your site frequently with fresh content so that every time your visitors come back, they will have something to read on your site. This is the most widely known and most effective method of attracting returning visitors, but this is also the least carried out one because of the laziness of webmasters. No one will want to browse a site that looks the same over ten years, so keep your site updated with fresh bites!

Provided By: Ray Plumlee
Website Address Not Provided



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