The Delicate Art of Copy and Layout for the WebWritten by Michele Haapamaki
The look and layout of text and graphics on a web site are as important as in a magazine or newspaper layout. It is dismaying to see how many companies simply throw together HTML pages with excessive amounts of scrolling (and boring) text. Web surfers will read 25-50% less on their computer than they would on a printed page, due mostly to fact that printed page resolution is some 100 times as clear. Your pages must be pleasing to (and easy on) visitor's eyes, or all your careful content writing will be in vain. With this in mind, consider following tips for dealing with unique layout and presentation problems presented by Web medium.
1) Proofread Spelling and Grammar! This is an absolute must. Proofread all your copy at least twice, and if possible have another person read through it as well. A pair of fresh eyes may often pick up on mistakes that you have missed. If you publish copy with typos and poor grammar, what kind of impression is that going to leave? (That said, hopefully you won't find any typos in this article!)
2) Make it easy to scan This is important, especially since most read users dislike reading large blocks of text. Try to break page up into key points or bullets that will allow for faster reading and make it easier to digest. Avoid overdoing bolding of text-the point of bold font is to highlight a select few points, not every second line! As a general rule, only title of article and perhaps subheadings should be bold. Likewise, avoid overuse of underlining or italics. 3) Multiple Pages Internet users are turned off by long pages that require a large amount of scrolling. If you have to post long articles or content, split it up into multiple pages. Splitting content over multiple pages also encourages user to read through smaller, manageable chunks, since they seem much less daunting. I have already mentioned that people will read less on screen than in print. In addition, studies have shown that people read 25% slower onscreen than they do on paper. This means that you should make your content at least 25% shorter than a print version-so edit!
4) Line Length and Alignment Newspapers and magazines have long realized value of short line length. That's why most articles in these publications are in columns, rather than going across entire page. However, most web pages have line lengths that are too broad for easy reading. Generally, you should have no more than 15 words on a single line, or roughly 65 characters. In addition, refrain from right or center-aligning your text. Left-alignment is both simplest and easiest-to-read.
Should you DIY your own Website?Written by Timothy R V Foster
Last summer I decided finally to create my own website, to broaden awareness of my advertising-slogan database and related search services (ADSlogans Unlimited).
Now it's up and running and I'm at last very pleased with it. It's bringing in business, just like it's supposed to. But it was a bumpy road. Let me share some learning with you.
Time required Creating your own website takes time - a month or two from 'go'. That's elapsed time, not 250 hours of labor. It's for reading manuals, learning new software, planning, making choices, not being able to move forward until someone returns a phone call, as well as building it. Keeping it going and updated takes at least another 5 hours a week.
Planning mandatory Scheme out as much of your site as you can before you start putting it together. Every hour of real planning time will save you at least one day undoing mistakes and rethinking things later.
Money needed Budget $500-$1000, assuming you already have an Internet-ready computer. This covers registration fees, reference books, software and rinky dinks like having to hire a programming maven to polish up an interactive component you just can't get to work on your own.
How do you want your site to look and feel? As you surf web, ask yourself: "Does this site really knock me out? Is there something I could emulate? Is this kind of look I want?" If yes, bookmark it and make a file of preferences. Then you'll have some benchmarks to work with. But before you begin, ask yourself these questions:
What is site's purpose? Mine was to: * Raise awareness of my work * Provide a reason to call/e-mail clients and prospects * Be a basis for publicity * Open door to new business * Be easily searched for and FOUND, using obvious key words, by all main search engines (AOL, Alta Vista, Hot-Bot, Excite, Lycos, etc) * Provide a mechanism for doing business and ordering my books * Identify and locate allies and competitors * Link to and from allies (adds to credibility) * Enable satisfied customers to show off their knowledge by introducing their colleagues to my services via website * Encourage feedback on my work * Encourage frequent return visits to build confidence in what I do