Friday, 7 October 2011

10 Tips to Create a Usable Website

1) Make it Client-centered

In order to have a successful website you need to focus on your client's needs.
Your site must be rewarding for the visitor to get them to come back.
Navigation should be easy and intuitive, and the most valuable information readily available at their fingertips.

People on the web today are being swamped with information, give it to them without causing pain and they will be back.

2) Start now and grow

It's never to soon to get your site on the web.
Get your site out there as soon as you can, even if it means a Coming Soon page to announce your new  site.
You need to place your most important information on the web as soon as you could so that search engines start indexing your pages.

A good web site is never finished anyway.

3) Preview regularly scheduled updates

It's a good idea to preview upcoming topics, or if you are selling products to discuss upcoming deals that you will have as well as the ones at the moment.
This is a trick from other media franchises like Theatre, TV, and magazines so why not use it.
If a visitor doesn't see what they want right away, your updates may entice them to something else to come back to.

4) Cross-link with other sites

Get your website link on as many other pages as possible by linking your site with related sites.
Links to other sites make your site more valuable because your visitors will know that you are a source for fresh, valuable, related sites from all over the Web.

5) Submit it to indexers and directories

Contact every Web indexer and make sure they've got your URL.
If you want your site to receive maximum exposure, use the title and the first 100 words for keywords and a description that will be picked up by Web search engines.
Don't waste your valuable title space on something generic like, "Welcome to our Home Page," be specific.

6) Use professional programmers and designers

Investing in a professional website developer may be some of the best money you ever invest.
Don't clutter up your home screen with a wall of text about your business's philosophy.
There is a place for that later on in the site.
What really brings interest to your site is links, links and more links that deliver valuable information.

7) Testing the site

Test the site for use with all types of browsers and computers.
Check it out using different settings (toolbars and directory buttons on and off); try it at different hours; use different modems (try slow and fast); different browsers (Netscape for Windows, Microsoft Explorer and Macintosh, for example); and different screen resolutions.
Your site may look very different on an older, slower PC compared to a new top-of-the-line one.
Periodically, try clicking on the links you have on your web site to make sure they are still connected to working sites.

8) Include multiple contact links

What a waste of your time and resources if a visitor decides to contact you directly and can't locate the necessary information.
People want direct, personal contact and cyberspace hasn't changed that.
In fact, a personal touch on your site may heighten people's interest.
Your site should contain frequent and obvious links that point visitors to business contact information within your organization—e­mail, fax, snail mail address and phone numbers, if appropriate.
If yours is a family web site, however, personal information is not recommended, except for your e­mail address.

9) Go easy on the graphics

Thousands of web sites truly are works of art by master graphic artists.
However, during peak business hours, bandwidth limitations might make it impossible for some people to access your site.
Keeping the size of the graphics down is important.
The use of too many graphics can slow load time and send frustrated readers out of your site.
It is important to create a balance of text to graphic information.
Make sure that your graphics provide a message and make navigation easier.
If the graphic isn't there to convey a message, then it usually doesn't belong on your web site.

10) Help visitors stay oriented

Every page on your site should includes links that return to your home page, the previous page or to another page. If visitors get side-tracked while browsing your site, you want them to quickly be able to return to something familiar or move forward to something that will bring them value.

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