Top 10 Website Do’s

There are many tips and tricks to making a good website.  In the next couple of posts we’re going to touch on things to focus on and avoid when designing a great website.

Here are 10, in no particular order – they’re all important – that I am often surprised many people do not pay attention to:

  1. Use major (but not too many) keywords in the title bar & use your meta tags to get your keywords and description out to search engines – and put them on every page!  You can, and should, use different title and meta tags on each page that relate directly to the content of that page.  Meta tags are tags that you put in the “head” section of your source code that list your keywords and give a brief description of your web-page for search engines to use.
  2. Content is King!  Ensure your content is very keyword-rich, but still reads naturally, don’t over-do the keywords, and only supply content that is necessary.  If things get too wordy people won’t read it.
  3. Make sure your website is easy to navigate.  Main navigation should be static & make sure you have a site map.  Any additional navigation that changes depending on content should be in a consistent place with a consistent look.  This not only keeps your customers from getting frustrated but helps search engines navigate your page and makes your page accessible for those using assistance devices.
  4. Make sure that your website is visually appealing.  It doesn’t matter how easy to navigate, content rich and useful a page is if it’s ugly.  If someone doesn’t like the look of a page they’re not going to take the content seriously.  Along that note, ensure you design your site appropriately.  If you’re a serious corporate company use serious, professional colours not bright crazy colours and childish graphics or clip art!
  5. Make sure that your most important information is “above the fold” (people don’t have to scroll to see it); particularly pay attention to the top left section.  People’s eyes tend to travel along the top of the page quickly (where most navigation bars are) then start top left and work their way down.
  6. Title your pictures and graphics well and make sure to put “alt” text (what you get when you mouse-over an image) that describes it well and is as keyword rich as possible.  Search engines like this and the descriptions help people who have images turned off or are using assistance devices to view your page.
  7. Design your website to be 800×600 friendly.  If someone has to use the right to left scroll bar continually that can be annoying.  Yes, many if not most people do have larger resolutions but you also have people that prefer the larger-looking resolution, have an older computer, or have a new laptop that has a small screen.
  8. Create a custom 404 (Page not found) page.  This helps with consistency and can give better alternatives to users than a standard blank screen.  This can allow you to provide link options that lead back to main pages and keep your customers on your site.
  9. Have contact information, location and business hours listed on your site and easy to find.  How frustrating is it to look at a great site for say, a restaurant, be all excited about going but then not be able to find where they’re located, what their hours are or a way to contact them to find out?  Don’t leave your customers guessing!
  10. Have a simple domain name. www.abccompany.com is better than www.abc-company-inc.com.  Easier to remember and less to type – and easy to guess.  Many people will skip search engines for finding you and type your name straight into the title bar.

Keep these items in mind when designing your site and you will have much better success!  When in doubt, contact a professional!

This entry was posted by Anna Kouwenberg on Monday, September 27th, 2010 at 7:00 am and is filed under Web Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.