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Articles on Web Design & Graphic Design »1 2 « BACK

Making your Web Site work for you - not against you

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5. Keep it Simple
Your own, meaningful domain name hosted on a quality web server will help to bring in visitors. Aiming for a short, memorable and meaningful domain name with as few components as possible.
'www.mycompany.com' is preferable to ' www.freeserversforeveryone.com/~mycompany' for many, many reasons.

6. Host Well
Having your site hosted on a reliable, quality web server will increase the speed that your pages are served, increase the reliability of the service, and make sure that when visitors try to get to your pages, the pages are there, and soon. The small cost of hosting your web presence properly will be repaid by the increased traffic and subsequent increase in customers.

7. Be Dynamic
Make sure that the site stays up to date, relevant and current. If your site changes regularly and always has something new to offer, you are more likely to get repeat visitors. It is repeat visitors who are more likely to spend their money with you. Make sure what you have is accessible and available to them - give something away to your visitors, even if it's just things you couldn't sell anyway, like hints, tips and pieces of relevant advice. Freebies make people come back.

8. What Goes Around, Comes Around
Get the word out by simple exchanges of links with other Web sites. What goes around, comes around, after all.

If you can find people out there in a similar market sector, or an associated one, consider swapping links with them. If your customers can also become their customers, and vice versa, you both win. Look for directories and online magazines related to anything you do, and swap links with them.

9. Promote via email
One popular way of promoting yourself and your services, and making a name for yourself as someone useful is to create a newsletter (always an opt-in rather than a mass-mail unsolicited mailshot) in which you can give interested parties and would-be customers information of use to them. Make sure that each and every newsletter you send out includes details on how to unsubscribe.

10. Keep things available

Three more keywords to bear in mind: Compatibility, accessibility and speed.

Make sure they all check out. A poor performance in any one will keep a slice of the market away from you. Visitors should be able to comfortably read your site and its content on whatever they happen to be using - whether it's a super fast office link or the shared slow pipe down at the library public access terminals, your pages should be viewable, and quickly.

If it doesn't work comfortably and attractively in a broad range of browsers from version 4 onwards at the very least, it needs a rework. Many people have no choice which plug-ins and add-ons they have, so the increasingly popular Flash inserts won't necessarily hit everyone.

Remember that your visitors are your customers, and that you are there for them - don't imagine that you are in a position to dictate to them how and where they can view your content, or to make them install new software before they can visit your site, unless you really do want to pick and choose your customers, and turn some away.

If you try and exclude them in this way, the chances are that a high number will just say, 'Forget it. I'll go elsewhere' rather than 'Ok, I'll go get the new browser and then come back.'

Conclusion
Making your Web site a success is a many sided task - some of it is work up front in design and development; some of it is ongoing, never-ending, not until retirement commitment.

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