12 Essential Web Site Design Tips

Written by Justine Curtis, Enable UK

Web site usability and presentation is perhapsrepparttar most important factor in any web design. This isrepparttar 147537 driving factor that gives your visitors a positive, professional impression of your company and keeps them coming back to your website. This issue focuses onrepparttar 147538 “12 Essential Web Site Design Tips” that anyone wishing to promote their products or services onrepparttar 147539 Internet should benefit from.

1. What’srepparttar 147540 purpose? The most fundamental thing to do before designing your web site is to define its purpose. Do you want to sell products directly to your customer through your web site, or collect contact details to develop future relationships? A lot of this will depend onrepparttar 147541 products or services you sell, those with a larger price tag will require more relationship building than those that would count as an “impulse” purchase. People also use web sites to research products as well as purchase them so a company selling fridges for example may not be able to sell them through their web site (people don’t often buy fridges online!) but they may well be able to direct them to their nearest store whererepparttar 147542 item they are interested in is in stock.

Identifyrepparttar 147543 purpose of your web site and make sure allrepparttar 147544 actions you askrepparttar 147545 customer to take leads them torepparttar 147546 final outcome you have identified.

2. Definerepparttar 147547 structure Once you have decidedrepparttar 147548 final outcome you want to achieve, whether it’s a sale, an enquiry, etc. work out a logical progression throughrepparttar 147549 process your customer would need to go through and structure your web site around it. Giverepparttar 147550 customerrepparttar 147551 information they will be looking for and help them find it easily and quickly. If you offer a large range of products, use a search facility, if your products carry a detailed specification, add a “click for spec” button which links to further information on an additional page, this way you will not slow those who are ready to buy, but offerrepparttar 147552 additional info required by those still undecided.

Above all, keeprepparttar 147553 structure and progression as simple and logical as possible.

3. Decide on an overall design layout. Most web sites have navigation downrepparttar 147554 left hand ofrepparttar 147555 page,repparttar 147556 company logo graphic acrossrepparttar 147557 top andrepparttar 147558 content ofrepparttar 147559 page below and torepparttar 147560 right. Another common layout is to have bothrepparttar 147561 logo and navigation menu alongrepparttar 147562 top ofrepparttar 147563 page andrepparttar 147564 page content acrossrepparttar 147565 page beneath it. As these arerepparttar 147566 most familiar layouts to users, it would be wise to stick with them asrepparttar 147567 last thing you want to do is make your web site confusing to your customers.

Avoid too many moving graphics, as they are distracting, avoid large logo-only entrance pages (click here to enter site…) as they only delayrepparttar 147568 user and avoid anything “cute” that may undermine your professional look.

4. Be careful with colours. Use contrasting colours for your text, black or blue on a white background is ideal. Don’t forget to checkrepparttar 147569 colours of your text links both before and after they’ve been visited, you don’t want them to disappear. Patterned backgrounds look dated and unprofessional and make your text harder to read, try to avoid them. If you have them, use your corporate colours in your logos, buttons, etc. and keeprepparttar 147570 overall colour scheme inoffensive, clean and simple.

5. Be consistent. Put your links or buttons in a prominent place and keep them inrepparttar 147571 same place on every page. Make sure your colours, navigation, typeface and text size are consistent on every page. Make surerepparttar 147572 user knows which page they are currently viewing and provide direct links torepparttar 147573 contact and home page on every page of your web site.

6. Don’t get creative with your typeface. Make sure that your text is easy to read. It’s very tempting to use an unusual typeface but your customers will appreciate text that’s easy onrepparttar 147574 eye. They want to read your information and not be challenged in doing so. Also remember, when it comes to overall design layout, white space is beautiful. Break up your text into short paragraphs, bullet points, etc. For more detailed advice on designing a professional web site that will achieve high search engine listings and increase customer conversion rates, download our ebook “Start atrepparttar 147575 Beginning”. Click here for an excerpt: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_2.html

Interactive Content – Blogs, Forums and Feedback – what does your web site need?

Written by Justine Curtis, Enable UK

Both search engines and customers love fresh, updated information. Nothing promotes a business online better than staying in touch with prospects. The more interactiverepparttar continued contact,repparttar 147536 betterrepparttar 147537 relationship that is built with a potential client. But there’s no need to groan atrepparttar 147538 thought of having to work hard at adding new content to your web site, it's not as complicated as you might think.

For more information about how to get interactive with your customers, take a look at our guide “Building Online Relationships” available here: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_4.html

The business principle of continued contact and online relationship building has given rise torepparttar 147539 popularity of online business blogs, forums and feedback opportunities. Interactive online communication definerepparttar 147540 web site owners as experts inrepparttar 147541 eyes of visitors, and serve as a promotional vehicle for other products and services thatrepparttar 147542 business seeks to sell. Continued, interactive contact can bring many benefits, such as:

·You'll find out what type of content visitors want to see at your web site. This will attract your visitors to revisit and readrepparttar 147543 content.

·You'll find out how to improve existing products or services. This will attract new customers to buy from your business.

·You'll find out which products or services your customers would like to see you sell inrepparttar 147544 future. This will increase your back end product sales.

·You'll find out how to improve your customer service. This will cut down on customer complaints and how to better resolve problems.

·You'll find out how to improve your sales letters or adverts. This will increase your sales, traffic or subscribers.

·You'll find out how to design your web site to fit your visitors’ needs and wants. This will increaserepparttar 147545 time your visitors spend on your web site.

·You'll find out what kind of non-related products or services your customers would buy. This will help your business easily move into a different market.

·You'll find out how to better price your products. This will help you sell your products or services at a price that will pullrepparttar 147546 most orders.

·You'll find outrepparttar 147547 interests of your potential customers. This will inform you where to market and promote your products.

Getting Started So where do you start? Do you need a blog, a forum, or a feedback form? All have different uses and your selection will depend onrepparttar 147548 needs of your particular business and your limitation with regard to time and/or budget. Below are some ofrepparttar 147549 options and some ideas for adding interactive and fresh content to your web site.

For more information about how to establish and maintain online relationships with your viewers and customers, get a copy of our guide “Building Online Relationships” available here: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_4.html

Weblogs or Blogs A blog is basically a series of posts that appear byrepparttar 147550 date posted like an online journal. Setup is minimal andrepparttar 147551 interface is easy to learn- if you can use a word processing package, you can write a blog! Services like Moveable Type and Blogger make it incredibly easy for anyone to publish onrepparttar 147552 web.

Blogs can be integrated seamlessly into your site so that they haverepparttar 147553 same look and feel. You can use a blog to publish an events calendar or comment on developments and news from your industry. A blog can be strictly professional, announcing special offers or new product info or it can be casual and create a "personality" for your company.

What can a blog do for your business? Think about what your customers want to know.

To add interactivity, several blog programs come with a "comment" ability built in. This allows general users to create an account and post their comments to your blog. This is something to be careful of as you can get negative comments along withrepparttar 147554 positive.

Forums While online forums are popular andrepparttar 147555 perfect method of relationship building, starting a forum and maintaining one can be challenging, especially inrepparttar 147556 beginning when members can be few and far between. The challenge for most new forum owners is to get beyondrepparttar 147557 initial start up phase and move onto a phase whererepparttar 147558 forum members themselves promoterepparttar 147559 forum simply by posting.

Forums have become a common feature in many websites. With good free scripts available, and paid scripts being relatively cheap, it seems that every new website has its own forum(s).

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