Web Design for the No-Talent ArtistWritten by Jeff Clark
Not everyone can hit a 90 mile per hour fast ball 400 feet. That's why there are so few major league baseball players. Most everyone enjoyed art class while in school, but we also realized there was probably only one in each classroom who actually had a talent for drawing. So too with web design. We can't all be like brilliant Willie Otto (http://reticulum.net/wso/), but that shouldn't limit our ability to present a credible web offering that serves our purposes, and attracts attention. If your graphic art talent is limited to stick figures and cartoon landscapes, this article may just be for you. Know Your Limitations
Honestly judge your own abilities. No one knows better than you level of artistic talent you possess. Operate within limits. If you can't draw two straight lines, stick to computer generated graphics. If you don't know difference between a pixel and a palette, perhaps you're better off with text effects. If art is important to your web site's business, consider hiring a professional, or borrowing from free graphics sites, but always give credit where due. Never Try to Baptize a Cat
. . . or develop your web graphics with Adobe Photoshop if you have but two hours of training. The result will be same; lots of fur and blood. If you've never used any kind of graphics editor before, I recommend Adobe's ImageStyler or Jasc's Paint Shop Pro. They each have a very short learning curve, a number of creative built-in special effects, and make your first-time images look better than average. Neither are very expensive, and ImageStyler operates on both Windows and Macintosh platforms. Familiarize yourself with dingbats, and no, I'm not talking about Edith Bunker. Don't know what those are? They are little pieces of iconized art that a talented illustrator has developed and turned into a font. There are thousands of them available for download on Internet for free, or a small shareware fee. Type letter A, and right before your eyes you have a beautiful coat of arms or smiley face. They come in all shapes and sizes; look like buttons or arrows or caricatures; and make your job so much easier. Plan Ahead
This is equally important to most gifted professional or rank amateur. Even if you can't draw or render, you can visualize. Spend a lot of pre-computer time conjuring images in your head. Make feeble attempts to transform those images to paper so you'll remember what you had in mind. You may not be able to draw, but at least you have an imagination.
You CAN get over 50,000 hits to your web site every month!Written by Linda Rocco
Naturally, you ask "how?". You might think this is a lot of hype, but its not. My Ecommerce web site gets well over that number of hits every month and I don't even purchase banner space anywhere on Internet. So, how do I do it. It's simple. Search Engine Submissions
I'm sure you've seen numerous companies claiming that by submitting your site to 1000+ search engines, that you will get tons more traffic to your web site. Is this true? Maybe. But wait, you just said that success of gummylump.com was due to search engine submissions. Right. Let me explain.
You can submit your web site to 1000 search engines a day, every single day for next year and never get a good ranking in any of them. How come? There is a lot of work to be done before you submit your site. I like to think of it as 3 Steps. 1. HEAD content of page 2. Image Tags 3. Site Content
First, you need to know how Search Engine submissions work. Generally you go to Search Engine (ie. Excite) and add your site. Once you do that Excite send a robot or spider (a little search program) to your web site to scour it and see what it's all about. The robot or spider also travels through every link on your site and scours those pages as well. Once it has collected all its data, it reports back to Excite where information gets indexed or filed according to its content. Then indexed web sites show up in a particular order depending of keyword(s) searched. Although every Search Engine has its own method of determining ranking of web sites, information below is bound to help you enormously in your fight to be at top.
In all three of these steps most important thing to think about is keywords. Keywords can be words or phrases. They are words or phrases that people will search for in order to find a site of your topic. So, in this example we are using a pet store. Therefore some words or phrases people would use to find a pet store would be "pet", "pet store", "pet shop", "pet supplies", "pets". In addition, people might search for specific products or brands. So, more keywords would be "IAMS", "Science Diet", and "catnip". Once you have a good sense of most important keywords for your web site, you're ready to start changing some of HTML code and content (text and images that show up in your web site).
1. The HTML of your index page is especially important. There is a section called . This section is extremely important to spruce up before submitting your site to a search engine. Before a client sees me for help, his HTML typically looks like this: Joe's Pet Supplies
But, when I'm finished with it, it might look something like this: Pet supplies and pet toys. Joe's Pet Store. pet supplies, pet shop, pet products, pets This is just an example. There are rules about length of any one of above tags. For example, meta description tag should be less than 200 characters (characters include spaces). The title tag should be less than 50 characters. The meta keywords tag can be up to 1000 characters. So, in example above I would have added many more words and phrases for a real client.
Once you've set up HEAD section of your index page, it's time to tackle Image Tags in your document. All of your Images should be named and have ALT tags as well. This is something that many web designers overlook. Keeping your keywords (and phrases) in mind, check all of your images to make sure that they have these 2 important elements. This simple step will help you enormously with your search engine submissions. If you use an editor such as Dreamweaver, you can just open your index page and click on an image. In Properties Inspector, you'll see opportunity to give image a name and an ALT tag. Keywords, keywords, keywords. So, in our Pet Store example if image was logo for store, a good Image name would be "pet_store_logo". A good ALT tag would be "pet store logo" or "Pet supplies, pet toys, pet food, pet shop". The ALT tag only shows up in PC's when mouse hovers over image, so as long as ALT tag is relevant to picture you'll be fine. In Mac's ALT tag will be seen before picture loads.