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Is Your Website "Killing" Your Online Business?
by Michael Hopkins

The design of your website is crucial to the
success of your online business.

People have gotten wise to Internet amateurism
and a poor looking website will turn many visitors
off buying. Similarly, a site that lacks focus and
tries to be too many things to too many people
will not have visitors scrambling to hand over
their credit-card details.

In short, if your website is to succeed, it must inspire
visitor confidence, be clear about its purpose and give
off a general air of success.

Fortunately, you don't need specialist training in
web design to create an effective and professional
website. Just keep it SIMPLE and keep it FOCUSED
and you'll make life easier for both yourself and
your visitors.

Here are 27 things you can do that will give your
website a credibility boost:

1. Aim to capture your visitors' interest as soon
as they arrive on your page. It's important that
you let them know IMMEDIATELY what they'll find
on your site and what they gain by being there.
Try to come up with an opening headline that will
capture the attention of those people you're trying
to reach.

2. Be consistent in your design. Each page should
have the same fonts (text style), the same navigation
links, the same general layout, the same color
scheme, etc.

3. Choose your colors carefully. Don't put inappropriate
colors together. I read an article recently that suggests
that designers should look at the colors they're putting
together on their web page and ask themselves if they
would put wallpaper with that color scheme in their

4. Use a plain color background (i.e. no fancy textures
or designs). Make sure your text contrasts STRONGLY
with your background color -- black text on a white
background is the best combination.

5. Optimize your pages to download quickly. Avoid
using excessively large images (both in terms of
memory size and actual on-screen size). Images
which are too large will slow the download time of
your page, often look bad and are usually unnecessary.

6. Don't make your pages any longer than they need
to be. Pages that scroll down forever can be tiresome
and, unless they're well written, keeping your visitor's
interest is difficult. Be sure that you NEED everything
on the page. It's worth critically examining the
contents of a page, sentence by sentence, and ask
yourself which stuff is really necessary and which
stuff can be done without.

7. Don't be afraid of empty space. Don't clutter up
your page with loads of 'stuff'. If it's not essential
leave it out. You can draw attention to the important
things by giving them space to breath rather than
making them big or loud.

8. Be sure to put a link to your home page on every
page of your site. Links marked 'Back' are no good
to people who've arrived directly onto one of your
pages from a search engine.

9. Include your contact information (company name,
address, link to contact page and perhaps even
tel./fax. numbers) at the bottom of each page of your
site. This will save visitors having to search for it,
and it will reassure them that you're a real and
credible business.

10. Don't put a graphic counter on your page. People
will not buy from a site that has something like
"Visitors since 1998: 00001471" in a glaring graphic
at the bottom of the page. Just don't do it. You'll
have all the statistics you need about your visitors
from your webhost (or third-party stats services
like sitemeter.com).

11. Don't clutter your home page with banners, ads,
and unnecessary graphics. Less is definitely more in
website design. If you want to place ads on you site
keep it to a minimum - especially on your home page
(maximum 2 banners - preferably none). These only
take up valuable download time and distract your
visitors from your central product(s).

12. Make sure your site works well with the main
browsers and screen resolutions. Verify that you've
no broken or outdated links.

13. Check and double-check your spelling and your
grammar. Mistakes on this front will kill a sale
quicker than you can say "How do you spell disastor?".

14. Don't even consider putting background music on
your site. Nothing sends visitors running away faster
than a woeful, repetitive midi file tinkling away in
the background.

15. Avoid overusing gadgets - again if you don't
need it and your visitors have nothing to gain from
it, leave it out. There are very few gadgets that
impress nowadays. If you want to impress your
visitors give them clear information on clearly
laid-out pages that download quickly.

16. Your navigation bar should contain links to the
MAIN pages of your site only. Links to additional
sub-pages can be made from those main pages.
Try to ensure that nothing on your site is farther
than three clicks away from your home page.

17. If you're using graphics for your main navigation
links, you should consider including text links also
(at the bottom of the page, for example). This will
be appreciated by visitors who can't (or don't want
to) download graphics. Also, Search Engine
can only follow text links, so if you only have graphic
links they will not be able to get to the other pages
of your site.

18. Don't put 'under construction' signs on a page.
If it's not finished don't make it accessible.

19. Keep Your Links Honest. Don't put a link that
says "Click here for a free gift" that actually sends
your visitor to another site that is offering nothing
for free.

20. Use CAPITAL LETTERS sparingly to highlight
important words.

21. Don't put large blocks of text in BOLD. You
should use bold text sparingly, for emphasis or
for headings.

22. Avoid UNDERLINING text on your page.
People will think it's a link (that isn't working).

23. If you have links incorporated in your text,
make sure they're visible. The best way to get
your links noticed is to use the standard
blue-underlined link look.

24. Avoid the use of frames (i.e. when the screen
is broken into two or more parts). These add a
whole heap of complications that you can do without.

25. Avoid using one of those 'Click here to enter'
entry pages. They're a waste of your visitor's time.

26. Get others (who have some experience with
surfing the Internet) to check out your site. Did
they find it easy to understand? Did they find it
appealing to the eye? Did they get lost or find
themselves stumbling into a dead end? Would they
feel confident buying from a site like yours?
Leave a message at webmaster forums asking fellow
website designers to give a look at your site and
make comments.

27. Concentrate on keeping things as simple as
possible -- both for yourself AND for your visitors.


Michael Hopkins is a Successful Web Marketer and Owner of BizzyDays Ebook Publications. Visit Now to Download Original Ebooks for Free at: http://www.bizzydays.com
This Article First Appeared in Michael's Newsletter, Ebook Times. To subscribe visit: http://www.ebooktimes.com

NOTE: You're free to republish this article on your website, in
your newsletter, in your e-book or in other publications
provided that you include the 'About the author' information (above)


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