|April 7, 2003
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|5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Website
When designing your website, remember
to avoid useless and confusing features, however cool they may seem to be. Usually, keeping
things simple and consistent are the best way to go.
Here are five easy ways to improve your website and make it more appealing to your
Put your logo on every
page of your site, and in the same location.
Usually, the best place to put it is in the upper left corner of the page. Remember to make your logo clickable, linking to
the main page of your site (an exception is the logo of the main page itself, since you
are already there). The benefit of
doing so is that if your visitors get lost they can always come back to a familiar
Don t use a splash
screen. Splash screens are seen in
many websites before they give you access to the main page.
They are usually slow-loading Flash animations that only delay and frustrate users. Remember, when your users want animation,
they can turn on the TV. When they go to your
website, they usually want information, and they want it fast. Some sites that use splash screens now provide a
Skip the Introduction link, which most users click anyway, further validating
the uselessness of flash screens.
Avoid using heavy
pictures. They unnecessarily delay
the page upload process. It is OK to use
graphics, but they have to be optimized
for the web. Use only .gif and .jpg
formats. If the pictures are too heavy,
try using some of the on-line graphic optimizing tools. They can reduce the weight of your pictures by
more than 50% with no noticeable decrease in quality.
Another thing you can do is to use thumbnails (clickable miniature versions of a
picture). If a user is interested in the
picture, he can click on the thumbnail and wait until the full size picture is displayed.
Try not to use animated
banners or fancy icons. Just because
you can is not a good reason to load up your site with neon-colored, flashing-and-popping,
Vegas-style graphics. They usually take
away from the content of your site and distract users.
Plus, it has been demonstrated that less and less users click on banners every day.
Dont make your pages too
dont like to read from a
screen. Instead, try to use the advantages of
hyperlinks to present a summary of the topic or article, with a link to the full article
in another page (similar to what newspapers do in their main page, with the added benefit
for web users that it is easier to click on a link than to turn a page). If what you have to say is too long, break the
discussion in several parts, each of them with a link to where your visitor can continue
the goal is to give your visitors fast access to your information, through an interface
(website) that is visually appealing and easy to use.
For more tips on how to design an effective
website, you may want to check out the acclaimed web design course, Web Design Mastery
by Shelley Lowery.
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Mario Sanchez publishes The Internet Digest (http://www.theinternetdigest.net)
a website and newsletter that gives you useful advice on web design and Internet
marketing, one free tip at a time.
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