here is an 'Oldie but a Goodie' from Seth Godin himself on the fundamentals of building a website that works. It was written in 2005 but the advise is timeless and free! click on the image to download.
i read this again after years and its surprising how we all tend to ignore basic common sense.
thanks again Seth!
Function over form is key! If you need proof have a look at google.com; it is a search engine and there is nothing else on that page to distract the user.
Don’t let your web designer sell you things you don’t need; your site should be representative of your business and not a show-case for your web designers skills! After having persuaded your prospects to click through to your website it is criminal to lose them subsequently due to poor website design. So here are some useful tips to remember when dealing with website designers.
> clarify or provide info
> click through to another page
> fill out a form
> make a purchase
> contact you via email, form or phone
> to download a file
> to subscribe (e.g. newsletter)
If you already have a website and would like a Free Analysis Of Your Website, simply Contact Us and we'll email a report to you within 48 hours.
Other Useful Links:
User interface design
Web safe fonts
Doing your own website would have been unthinkable a few years ago, but the new online applications are so simple that anyone familiar with MS word can create their own professional looking website. But before proceeding please refer to our article on the 5 Things You Should Do Before Hiring A Website Developer.
There are a considerable number of DIY website design applications out there and we have tried most of them and shortlisted the ones below. They all offer multiple packages with varying feature sets, support and services so its near impossible to do a comparison. They all offer a free version or a free to try version, so the best thing to do is to subscribe to all of them and see which one you like best. Here is a quick review to get you started.
Online Website Design & Development Applications
Features: Free Version | No Email | Templates | Tutorials | Blog | Support
Features: Free to Try | Emails | Templates | Tutorial | Blog | Support
Features: Free To Try | No Emails | Templates | Tutorials | Blog | Support | Resume Feature
Features: Free To try | Emails | Templates | Tutorials | Blog | Support
Features: Free Version | No Email | Templates | Tutorials | Blog | Support
Features: Free To Try | No Email | Templates | Tutorials | Blog | Support
As you'll notice some of them don't host emails, but they have excellent guidance to explain how to manage that, so don't let that bother you at all. Most of them also offer shopping cart features too, incase you intend to set up an e-comm website.
With all these solutions, your website is developed and hosted on their servers, so be sure to ask them if they allow you to export the site incase you want to change the service provider later on. Also ask them if you can export the site yourself.
Mobile Browser compliance
Something that you have to take into consideration is Mobile browsing, which is growing rapidly and is expected to overtake desktop browsing by 2013. None of the above websites of the solutions providers listed above are mobile compliant, but its still well worth asking them about it.
How is mobile browsing different?
Well mobile browsing means adapting the website to fit the screens of handheld to minimise the scrolling, especially horizontal scrolling. This site is mobile compliant, so if you visit it from a mobile device, it'll automatically reformat the content to fit a smaller screen. If you'd like to test it, type the url (www.siteu2.com) into your phone's browser.
Website Templates & Other Graphic Designs
All the web-development applications listed above have hundreds of
customizable templates and they are great if you are on a low budget. If you have some money to splurge, most of these companies will custom build a website template for you. Another option you might want to consider is 99Designs, where you set a price you are willing to pay and a whole bunch of designers submit their designs. The higher your price, the more designers participate. This is better than an agency because you get to engage more designers instead of being limited to the few in the agency.
Flickr is the best resource for free images, but you need to know the how the licenses work, so first refer to the Flickr Creative Commons. Wylio is a great tool for quickly finding free pictures on Flickr.
Much of the free images are not available for commercial use, yes - that means your website too. Besides, you'll probably want better quality photos and there are several sites for this and here is our shortlist:
> Animation Factory
You have more choice of high quality images with the paid services. The free Flick images are great for things like blogs and if you intend on writing regular blogs we suggest you subscribe to Wylio's paid service, which is infinitely cheaper than using the paid images.
If you are building a personal site then it is advisable to write up the content in your own language, but if you are building a commercial website and you don't have a good copywriter then you are better off outsourcing it, and Elance is an excellent cost-effective resource for that. Elance gives you access to a network of skilled freelancers worldwide for research, copywriting, graphic design and much more. Many website design agencies use Elance, the difference is that over time they know the better ones.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Onsite SEO ensures that your website is search engine friendly, and Offsite SEO is how you drive traffic to your website. Since this article is about website development, here is what you need to know about Onsite Search Engine Optimisation.
Your feedback encourages us to write similar helpful articles, so do let us know what you think.
When you hire a web agency you are paying for their time and there are several things you can do to save money and time. And then there are things you must do yourself.
1. Domain Registration
If you haven't done so already, please go and register the domain yourself. Whoever has access to this controls your presence on the internet, so do not pass this job to someone else. Domain registration is a simple and easy process and the popular registrars are:
Most registrars will try and sell you hosting with the registration. Avoid this, unless you know the functional and technical requirements of your website. If you don't, then this should only be done after discussions with your selected web developer. Some web developers offer hosting service, but be sure you compare rates.
2. Branding Basics
If you need a logo, most web design companies can develop this for you, but it can be expensive. Alternatively you can source this through online freelancers at Elance. Another way is to crowd-source designers through sites like 99designs; the advantage is that you set the price you are prepared to pay and you get the benefit of dozens of designers working on it. The more you are prepared to pay the more designers work on it.
If you don't have a tagline, get one sorted through an ad agency; most web development agencies don't provide this service. You may want to run a competition within your company
3. Content Basics
Content is King and this is where you should spend most of your time.
First decide on how many pages you think you need, this may change later and that's OK. Since, you know your business best, write up that content yourself. If you lack the copywriting skill-set you can outsource this through Elance as well. Of course, your web developer can do this for you, but its more than likely that they'll outsource it themselves.
Avoid Flash on the home page or on any page your visitors are not expecting it. Flash has its place, like presentations; having said that bear in mind that iphones & ipads don't support flash.
Procure the media you intend to use on the website, be it photos, audio, video, etc,. Your web developer can do this for you, but it'll increase costs, simply because selecting and right media takes time and that costs money. You'll ultimately have to make the selections, so you may as well do it yourself.
4. Bookmark your Competitors
Your competitor sities are excellent sources of inspiration on how to and how not to do things. They are also a good benchmark for your web development agency. Bookmark at least 5.
5. Bookmark Other Websites
We have all come across many well designed sites, so book mark the ones you like. Involve your staff in this exercise as well, it will save you a lot of time and money with the agency.
We’d like to hear form you on this article, so please do leave a comment.
i am a marketer by profession and this blog is my way of sharing my knowledge and experience. please re-share whatever you find useful.
connect to me @ Google