Webmaster Articles > 50 Surefire Web Design Tips Page 2
Tips on Writing for the Web
- Write in laymans terms so that everybody can understand your content,
unless youre running a technical site for technical people.
- Reading from a screen is painful: use 50% less words than you would
use on print.
- If a page is too long, break it into several pages and link to them.
- Dont use font sizes smaller than 10pt. for the body of your page.
Specify your fonts in percentage terms instead of pixels, to let users
set their own size preferences using their browsers text view options.
- Use a spell checker. Spelling mistakes are embarrassing and hurt credibility.
Tips to Know Your Customers
- Ask for feedback: include a feedback form in your Contact Us page.
- Publish an ezine and include a subscription form in your homepage. Give
your customers valuable information and encourage them to contact you.
- Include polls and other tools to gather market intelligence.
Tips on Linking
- Make your links descriptive. They should indicate what the user will
be linking to, as opposed to just saying "click here".
- Dont underline anything that is not a link.
- Underline your links and use a consistent color for them across your
site (preferably blue).
- Use a different color for visited links, so that your visitors know
where theyve been (preferably purple or a more subdued tone of the
unvisited links color).
- When linking to a non-HTML file, such as Excel, Word or Acrobat, make
it evident, by including a small icon next to the link.
- Dont link to "under construction" pages.
- Make sure that your links work and that you dont have broken links.
There are free online tools that can help you with this.
- If you use graphic links, dont forget to use the ALT attribute.
The ALT attribute should describe what are you linking to.
Tips on how to use graphics
- Optimize your graphics. Use only .gif and .jpg formats. Make your image
files as small as possible while maintaining acceptable quality. Use a
free online graphics optimization tool.
- Use thumbnails (miniature versions of a picture) and make them clickable
to the actual size picture.
- Avoid graphics that look like ads. People ignore them.
- Use the ALT attribute on pictures, even the image is not a link. It
helps users with disabilities and people who have turned off graphics.
Tips to optimize your site for the search engines:
- Create short, descriptive page titles, to entice search engine users
to click on your links.
- Create a site map containing all your pages, and link to it directly
from your homepage. Search engine robots will follow the link to your
site map and will most likely add all your pages to the index.
- Decide what the two or three main keywords are for each page (the words
you believe search engine users will type to find your page) and repeat
them often in your page title, description meta tag and page body.
- Create a Links page and call it Resources. In it, place links to those
sites that have agreed to place a reciprocal link to your page. The more
inbound links you have from quality sites with a topic related to your
site, the better your site will rank with the search engines.
Search engines heavily favor text and will crawl and index your site faster.
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Mario Sanchez publishes The Internet Digest,
an online collection of web design and Internet marketing articles and resources.