1. KEEP IT SIMPLE
While Java and Shockwave animations may look neat, they rarely increase your marketing results. More often than not, they will distract your visitors from your marketing message, or even crash your visitors' computers.
Many of your visitors won't have necessary plug-ins needed to view these animations.
Perhaps in a few years Internet technology will make use of these animation techniques more accessible to your visitors. Until then, you are much better off keeping your Web site simple and focusing on your marketing strategy and your content.
2. MAKE IT EASY TO READ
If content is king, then easy reading is queen. If trying to read information on your Web site is difficult in any way, majority of your visitors will leave and not come back.
Don't put your words on dark or black backgrounds--the Star Wars effect. It's very difficult to read.
Don't put your words on patterned backgrounds, even if pattern is very simple. Anything behind your words will be distracting and make your copy difficult to read.
Use black or very dark text on plain white backgrounds for bulk of your text on your Web site. People are used to reading black type on white paper.
Don't use fancy fonts. Many of your visitors have limited or different fonts on their computers. Their computer will then simply replace your fancy font with something totally different. You'll never know what your visitors are seeing with substitute fonts.
Use Times Roman, Helvetica or Arial for your fonts because these fonts are available on everyone's computer. By sticking to these basic fonts you will be safe in assuming that your visitors are seeing what you created.
Use ALL CAPS very sparingly. It's okay to use all caps for a short headline or subhead here and there, but don't overdo it. ALL CAPS is like yelling or DECLARING WAR!! You especially don't want to set an entire paragraph in all caps or you will definitely repel your visitors.
Create a consistent format for your fonts. Use one font and size for your major page titles, one for your subheads, and one for body text of your articles.
Create standard and consistent links. Links should be blue and underlined whenever possible. Be careful not to underline other phrases that are not links, because your visitors will think they are links and get very frustrated clicking on them.
Keep it simple. Keep it consistent.
3. KEEP YOUR LINE LENGTHS SHORT FOR EASY READING
Pick up your local newspaper or a national magazine and look at articles printed in them. Notice how narrow columns are. They are designed like that for a purpose.
Narrow copy is much easier for people to read than long lines. For one, people can absorb a very short line of copy much more easily than a long one that they must break down mentally into smaller segments.
Plus, when your copy lines are long, people often have a more difficult time finding beginning of next line.
If you keep your copy lines short, no more than 85 characters, you will make it much easier for your visitors to read your articles.
Long lines repel. Short lines attract.
4. KEEP YOUR PARAGRAPHS SHORT
Nothing is more repellant to a Web surfer than a solid block of text that is 20-40 lines long. Ugh! It's like reading a legal document.
If you want your readers to keep reading your copy, then you have to make it as easy and as inviting as possible for them.
Keep your lines short, and keep your paragraphs to 5-6 lines each. The shorter, better.
5. USE SUB-HEADS TO BREAK UP YOUR PARAGRAPHS
You can also make your copy more appealing to your visitors, by breaking up your paragraphs with bold sub- heads that describe next section. It relieves monotony, plus it helps them to understand what is coming up next.
You can also use bulleted lists to make it easy to see listed points.
6. MAKE YOUR PAGES LOAD FAST
Your visitors aren't going to wait forever for your neat animation or graphics to load. Keep your graphics small and use them sparingly. The faster your Web page loads fewer visitors you will lose. You want to keep your loading time under 20 seconds. Focus on content not graphics.
7. TELL YOUR VISITORS WHAT TO DO
Too many Web site owners mistakenly believe that everyone surfing Web is an Internet expert. They are not. They don't know much about navigation, or Java, or forms, etc.