|Do's and Don'ts
for the next Millenium
By Virtual Mechanics
| Designing a Web Page
is an art. Any suggestions on how to design a great looking
web page can consequently only be a subjective opinion. For
those of you that are relatively new to web page design, there
are some guides that you can follow to help make your web pages
work better. If you follow these tips, your web page may still
be as ugly as sin, but at least it will be efficient well designed
-Use Meta Tags
If you want your web site to be properly listed with the search
engines (why wouldn't you?), then you must make full and proper
use of the Meta Tags. These include using a page Title, Meta
Description and Meta Keywords. You should also try to include
similar text and keywords in the Body of your web page if appropriate.
-Simply State the Purpose of your Web Site
There have been quite a few web sites that I have left without
ever fully understanding their mission. It may be obvious to
you but don't assume that your first time visitor will know.
Although your design may constrain how you do this, the simplest
solution often is just to write it. If it matches your Meta
Description it will also help with
your Search Engine ranking.
-Use a Simple Intuitive Navigation Scheme
There is nothing more frustrating than a web site with a poor
navigation scheme. This is not the place to let your creative
juices run wild. Keep it simple and think in terms of a first
time visitor that is not familiar with your Web Site.
-Use Multiple Browsers.
What looks great in Internet Explorer could be a mess in Netscape
Navigation. It is a mistake to assume that all Browsers are
created equal. Install both Browser's on your machine and test
your web pages with both especially Netscape which is currently
the fussier about bad code.
-Test at Multiple Resolutions and Font Settings
It's easy to make a great looking Web Page at 1280x1024 and
16.8 million colors. You should see what a mess you have at
640x480 and 256 colors. You need to test at multiple resolutions
if you want your web site to look good to all your visitors.
Also be sure to test with both Large Fonts and Small Fonts selected
from the Control Panel in
Windows. It could significantly alter the layout of your page.
-Use GIF's and JPEG's appropriately.
GIF's work best with computer generated images or images with
large blocks of solid colors. JPEG's are better for real-life
images and photographs. BMP's should not be used unless you
have a good reason. They are just too large. In all cases, keep
your images as small as is appropriate for your design.
-Include Dynamic Content
A first time visitor to your web site is the hardest and most
expensive to get. Add a job board, a discussion group, syndicated
articles or whatever you find as an appropriate way to encourage
them to return.
-Get a Domain Name
A free site or a site included with your Dial-Up Service Provider
is fine for casual users. If you are serious about having an
on-line business then you must have a commercial domain. These
are ".com" names in the US, ".co.uk" or whatever country code
applies in other countries. Commercial sites will be more easily
indexed by the
search engines and will increase your credibility.
-Use a Good Host for your Web Site.
There are many professional hosting companies around. For $20
to $30 month you should not have any trouble finding one that
will provide a minimum of 60meg disk space, several GIG transfer
allowance, CGI support, visitor logs, stats, plus a host of
other professional services.
-Keep your Site Fresh
There is no such thing as a finished web site. It is a work
in progress. You are bound to find things to improve upon and
correct. You must also include new content and even occasionally
change the look and feel in order to avoid that same old stale
look that is a sign of a forgotten and neglected web site.
-Test, Test, Test
It is easy to design a Web Site that works and looks great on
your computer. The trick is to make it look good on a computer
that may be configured in some strange ancient (3 years old
or more) manor that you have never experienced. Ask friends,
relatives, acquaintances and anyone else to check it out. Post
a Web Master feedback email to have visitors to tell you about
bad links and design problems.
-Avoid using Frames
If you have a good reason to use Frames then do so. If not,
avoid them. Frames are less likely to be indexed by the search
engines, they will increase your download time and will cramp
the viewers screen.
Again, if you have a good reason to use audio then do so. If
not then avoid it. If audio really was a great way to make your
web site look cool, then everyone and their uncle would be using
it. Audi Wave files are very large while Midi files will sound
like alley cats in a fight on some systems. If you do decide
to use audio then use both
the <BGSOUND> tag and the <EMBED> tag to ensure
it will work in both IE and NN Browsers.
Not everyone has a cable modem or T1 line. Even the very best
compacted streaming video will demand a major undertaking for
your visitors. If it is appropriate for your web site be sure
that it is optional, the file size is clearly stated and any
special plugins or other requirements are clearly identified.
We all know when we get it but it is a lot harder to identify
when we send it. Windows that open automatically, Meta Refresh
tags with 0 time, Meta Tags that include competitor's product
names, may all be potential forms of Spam.
This is not an all-inclusive list. Not every web site or audience
is created the same. What is great for one may be a major problem
for another. Know your web site and know your audience and be
willing to make changes as needed. That is what makes a dynamic
Source: "IMS Web Tips" is a weekly news letter for
all web site managers regardless of experience who are looking
for detailed information on creating, maintaining and promoting
their web sites.
To subscribe send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.IMSWebTips.com
for subscription information and a list of past articles.
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