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Old 30th January 2007, 12:06 PM   #1
JrocksInaBox
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Default The Website Do's And Don'ts For Business Owners

Here are some basic Do's and Doníts for business owners looking to put together a website. You techies will roll your eyes to this, but some of you could use a little refresher too. Remember Design, Usability, Accessibility and Content all are equally important when building your business' site. If you find that your current site hits some of the don'ts it may be time for an upgrade.


The Do's:

Do proof read and spell check every page on your site. Have a friend or employee check your work and make sure all errors are gone. Nothing will hurt your credibility more than having misspelled word.

Do make your site legible and easy to read. Stick to system fonts that are installed on almost every single computer already. (Arial, Tahoma, Courier.. etc.) Make sure the text color contrasts well enough with the background to make it easy to read.

Do make the site easy to use. Focus on easy navigation around your site, a user shouldn't have to guess where they're going to next.

Do use high quality professional stock images for your site. They're cheap, usually just a dollar or two, try istockphoto.com.

Do update the site often with current news, specials and events. If it's not current, remove it right away or place it in the archive section.

Do develop the site around your potential clients needs. Not yours! Provide the content they're seeking and make sure it's easy to access. An example would be having a contact link in the top right corner, or the bottom left corner of the page. Link it to a page that provides a phone number, email address, and physical address.

Do use coordinating and complimentary colors - colorschemer.com/online.html will help those design challenged folks pick appropriate colors. Experiment with different color schemes and keep it constant throughout the site.

Do hire a professional. There are tons that can work around your budget, build it in half the time, and make it look twice as good.



The Don'ts:

Don't build the site using tables. Stick with valid CSS. If you don't know what this is, you shouldn't be building the site yourself. Tables load more slowly and hurt search engine optimization.

Don't use a free template (or one that came with FrontPage /Dreamweaver).

Don't include music (Only on rare occasions. Make sure it can be turned off. Not everyone enjoys listening to smooth jazz.)

Don't overcrowd the page with text.

Don't use mouse trail effects. Do you really think a potential client will enjoy the pink sparkling trail left behind his mouse when he navigates your site? Maybe, if the year is 1997.

Don't leave pages under construction. If the site isn't 100% ready for web, don't put it up.

Don't have broken links on your site.

Don't build the site how you would like it. Remember, your customer comes first; it needs to be built around their needs.

Don't use a splash/landing or intro page unless you're directing clients to a site in their native language. All this does is waste valuable time before a visitor actually gets to your site.

Don't use cursive fonts.

Don't use animated .gifs

Don't make a site out of all images. This goes for your navigation bar too. Think about visitors to the site using screen readers. They will have no way of reading your content or navigating to the various pages. (Using alt text can help ease the pain a little.) A search engine crawls your site in the same fashion. It can't read images. Using images for your navigation is only going to result in poor search engine placement and missed sales.





The most important thing to keep in mind is to remember you're building the site for your clients. Some sites can benefit from using flash and music because of who their clientele might be. But for most businesses, you're better off keeping your site clean cut and professional. Good Luck!


Last edited by JrocksInaBox; 30th January 2007 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 30th January 2007, 05:29 PM   #2
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I can't stress enough how important it is to proof read your site so that you avoid spelling errors. It makes your site look unprofessional.

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Old 27th February 2007, 03:36 PM   #3
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Thanks for posting this one.

It's a great help.

Hope to read another interesting article from you ag0ain Jkrocks

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Old 27th February 2007, 08:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JrocksInaBox View Post
Don't build the site using tables. Stick with valid CSS. If you don't know what this is, you shouldn't be building the site yourself. Tables load more slowly and hurt search engine optimization.
Really, in the big scheme of things, I am not sure how much tables have an impact on either speed of load or seo. I know this is contrary to the popular opinion. I think one can write simple code to show that the difference in load time between css and table is negligible. As for SEO affect of tables, a SE has is able to easily break down a table to its structure without any problem.

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Old 27th February 2007, 10:13 PM   #5
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Khalidh, I agree about tables.

The term CSS is used loosely and can mean two things. An external style sheet, a good idea - and CSS positioning in theory a good idea.

CSS positioning has the approval of the "gurus". However it can be a real pain and often there are many more hacks needed to make it look the same in different browsers, than are required for tables. Plus even small updates, (we are certainly encouraged to keep updating) generally require repositioning of other parts of the rest of the page. I use both, depending on the site - but would say that CSS positioning takes me longer to optimize and update. Search engines have long since learned how to read tables, so they are not the disadvantage that they once were.

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Old 28th February 2007, 09:27 AM   #6
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Search engines have long since learned how to read tables, so they are not the disadvantage that they once were.
I don't ever remember a time when tables were an issue with search engines. I think an advantage of CSS positioning is that you can place your most important info at the beginning end of the page regardless of its position on the page. Since search engines read a page from beginning and end, and tend to place importance there that is the only reason I think CSS can be an advantage versus tables.

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Old 28th February 2007, 11:37 PM   #7
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Search engines have long since learned how to read tables, so they are not the disadvantage that they once were.
I was being somewhat rhetorical. In my mind I was back in the days of Archie and Veronica... and Gopher. Perhaps I am the only current (junior) member who has used card compilers. Since I am a garbage typist most of my programs did not work, but I was really good at error codes.

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I think an advantage of CSS positioning is that you can place your most important info at the beginning end of the page regardless of its position on the page.
Using CSS to get important info at the beginning of the code I agree. However, getting the pages to look the same in all browsers is something I certainly have a real struggle with. I think CSS will be brilliant in versions 4 or 5, or maybe we could get browsers standardized for pixels etc.

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Old 1st March 2007, 12:00 AM   #8
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lol, yep I wasn't considering Gopher days. A bit before my time and seo.

When you refer to card compilers is that the same as punch cards? Just curious, as I've heard of but not very familiar.

Quote:
getting the pages to look the same in all browsers is something I certainly have a real struggle with.
And everyone else ... its a hassle. Although I understand the seo benefits of positioning of the code, I stick with tables.

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Old 1st March 2007, 12:09 AM   #9
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Hey - I've just become a full member!! Fame and fortune to follow??

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When you refer to card compilers is that the same as punch cards?
Yes. You put the punch cards in the compiler, pressed the button and then got the error message.

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Old 1st March 2007, 11:26 AM   #10
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Those of you saying CSS makes a site more difficult to maintain are most likely not using it correctly. Display problems are generally with the browsers, not with the CSS itself.

The problem with using tables:

* mixes presentational data in with your content.
-This makes the file sizes of your pages unnecessarily large, as users must download this presentational data for each page they visit.
* This makes redesigns of existing sites and content extremely labor intensive (and expensive).
* It also makes it extremely hard (and expensive) to maintain visual consistency throughout a site.
* Table-based pages are also much less accessible to users with disabilities and viewers using cell phones and PDAs to access the Web.

Modern browsers are much better at rendering Web standards and we don't need to use these archaic methods any more.

Instead of nesting tables within tables and filling empty cells with spacer GIFs, we can use much simpler markup and CSS to lay out beautiful sites that are faster to load, easier to redesign, and more accessible to everyone. By using structural markup in our HTML documents and Cascading Style Sheets to lay out our pages, we can keep the actual content of our pages separated from the way they are presented.

I took some of the highlights from this explanation:

http://www.hotdesign.com/seybold/index.html

They do a great job explaining why tables are a no no for everyday design.

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