Here are three website design basics. Get these right and you will be well on the way to building a website that will look good, that will attract visitors, keep them there and keep them coming back.
1) Site look and feel. This is the first thing your visitor notices when they arrive at your site. It’s all about the first impression – and, of course, first impressions count, and you only get one chance to make them. Look and feel is just that – the overall, first-glance of your site, the graphics, thelayout and the navigation options. Best advice – keep it clean and simple. Don’t make it look too ‘busy’ with loads of flashing graphics or clashing colours. Don’t be afraid to leave plenty of white space. When it comes to your site’s look and feel, remember less is more!
2) Search Engine Optimization. You may have built a great-looking website, but if nobody sees it then you have wasted your time. You need to drive traffic to your site, and preferably for free – and that’s where search engine Optimization, or SEO, comes in. Optimizing your webpages means writing them so that you focus on one particular keyword or phrase. The search engines want to give their users exact matches for the terms they are searching on, and you will make it easier for them to find your content if it focuses on one particular keyword or phrase. Don’t overdo it though. The ‘must dos’ are:
• Include your keyword in the title of the article
• Include it in the first paragraph, and ideally in the first line.
• Sprinkle it throughout the article, but only where you can include it without it sounding awkward. It’s generally considered that your keyword should occur somewhere between 0.5% and 3% of the total article word count.
3) Website Content. Whatever the purpose of your website, it should have content. In other words, information relevant to the website’s theme that your visitors will find interesting to read. If your site is simply full of adverts or links, your visitors aren’t going to hang around for long. This ‘quick-in-and-out’ behaviour will be noticed by the search engines and will negatively affect your rankings. The search engines will also ‘crawl’ your site more often if you regularly add content to it.
There are four ways you can add content to your website:
• Write it yourself – by far the best way.
• Get someone else to write it for you – use one of the article writing services available.
• Publish articles from the article directories.
• Place a relevant RSS news feed on your website.
Make the time to browse the internet and have a look at other websites, especially ones in your niche. What do you like or dislike about them? What are your first impressions? Would you want to stay on the site and explore further, or do you want to click away? If you do this enough, you will soon get a solid idea about what works and what doesn’t, which you can then apply to your own sites.