We have all heard that there's no use having best site in world if you don't promote it, and submit it to search engines.
Well opposite is also true. There is no point in promoting your site unless it is well designed and going to trap your visitors.
With over 125,000 home-based online businesses starting each week, internet surfers have such a choice and have to wade through a sea of information to find what they want - and they are more likely to be trapped by a professional looking site than one that looks homemade.
Now a professional looking site does not have to be filled with latest technology, graphics and Java applets which take up space and time to download, however it does need to take account of a few website design aspects overlooked by many homebuilt sites.
1) The site must load fast, since not everyone has a 56K telephone line and a Pentium 400 processor, especially outside US. The most common mistake made here is not optimizing graphics, and any image over 30KB is probably too large.
2) Websites look different on different browsers (not only between Internet Explorer and Netscape, but also between different versions of these browsers) and different platforms (PC and Mac). What may look great on one browser may look unprofessional on another.
The statistics at http://www.thecounter.com you show you that a wide variety of browsers and platforms are used. The February 2000, stats show 48% of users use IE5, 28% use IE4, 17% use NN, and a minority use other browsers. One more interesting statistic is that around 20% of browsers have Java disabled. At http://www.anybrowser.com/siteviewer.htm you can see what your site looks like in different browsers.
3) Websites also look different on screens with different resolutions. A website designed on a 640x480 screen will look different on a 1024x768 screen.
4) Some companies with large networks restrict downloads from internet (to protect their intranets), so any technology such as Flash which needs plugins, might not be visible to some company employees.
5) It is very important to understand what TITLE and META tags do, since these play a very important part in your website ranking on search engines. It is surprising how many websites have no TITLE or META tags. More information on these tags can be found at http://www.TheWebsEye.com/search_engine_basics.htm.