How To Build A Web Site & Develop It’s Full Potential – Part One

In a previous set of Articles published here at EzineArticles I discussed the implementation of RSS and how you could create an RSS feed for yourself.

These next few articles are going to be devoted to something a bit different. We will categorize it as Web Development and I will try and go through a case-scenario of building a web-site and everything you may need to know about doing it.

If you think that building a web-site is something simple and you can do it in one day, and you WANT THAT WEBSITE TO WORK, think again. I have worked in high-tech for many years, and the one thing these days I find incredibly funny, is all these promises that you can build a web-site in a day and be rich by next month. Realistically, that is not going to happen. Realistically, like any other business you want to succeed at this takes work and patience and luck. A great deal of work, the patience of an angel and the proverbial luck of the Irish.

First thing is first. Ignore all those emails you get that promise to make you rich in a week. Ignore any type of scheme that promises you advertisement to five hundred million web sites for $29.00. Ignore all those web pages with fanciful ebooks written by people JUST LIKE YOURSELF trying to make a buck by putting a few pages together in an Adobe PDF file. (Ask yourself this. How many people do you personally know that actually READ those ebooks? I still have not one found one person to ever admit to reading them!) Ignore anyone who tells you that they can show you the way to riches if you pay them $35.00 for their scheme. They are the ONLY ONES getting rich. Ignore it ALL. I know the temptation is great. After all what is $29.00. And of course they all promise you 30 money back guarantees. Don’t do it. Don’t think it. Don’t fall for it.

Let us complicate matters a bit more. It is simply not enough to build a web site and put it out there. I am sure most of you know that.

  • Content is KING – Don’t think that the phrase “content is king” is going to get you listed all the way on top either. Content is critical, but Google and Yahoo and MSN (the search-engine trinity) have created an incredible amount of new algorithms to decide just WHICH content is critical and which is not. CONTENT IS KING – but it must be content on your web site, NOT links to content on other web sites.
  • Linking to your web site from other web-sites is also critical.
  • KeyWords – Keywords, search terms etc.

All these are critical. But how do we get there? How do we go from an idea to the final production phase?

The one or two page web sites that contain content written by others and dropped into your web site are great if you have the ability to create say 500 subdomains and template each one. But guess what? Google has even found a way around that. You may achieve high rankings for a couple of weeks, and then you will have need of some serious meds as you watch your web rankings go to the gutter.

Before delving deeper into all these problems and many, many, dare I repeat, MANY more, realize that a truly functional business web-site these days should or may contain the following:

  1. Web Site itself
  2. Blog Connected to the Website
  3. Forum Connected to the Website
  4. Perhaps even a Wiki connected to the Website

Each of these has its up and downs. Each one of these demands work and dedication. Each one of these demands that you invest time and effort (and I will attempt to show you how to save a great deal of money as well.)

Now you have your head on right and your thoughts centered let us understand what goes into building a web site that will attract visitors, make sales, keep customers coming to you, and stay somewhere near the top of the search engine ratings. Notice I did not say the top, but near the top. Of course, you can get on the top as well. That happens to be easy. Just join AdWords and Overture and advertise. (By the way that is not a bad idea for creating initial traffic.) But in these articles we are going to avoid the funds layout proposition as much as possible.

Now, I know what many of you may be thinking. He is talking about a full-blown web site. All I want is a three page web site so that I can offer some product, maybe have some affiliates and voila everyone will buy or click on my affiliate or Google AdSense advertisements.

Maybe that will happen to you. There are some people out there that do make an incredible amount of money from Google Adsense. That is a fact. But they know how to build their web sites and they know just how to attract customers or “eyeballs” as it is called. And getting those “eyeballs” where you have on the average of less than 7 seconds to interest someone is difficult. That is right 7 seconds!

To end this first article I will simply quote an email the I received from EzineArticles itself.
In it we were told that the article entitled “Want to Try on That New Hair Style Before You Get It?
had 108,898 page views! Now if you would have asked me which article would get such page views, I would certainly have NEVER even considered an article about “hair”.

The Internet is full of surprises. ONLY because the human condition is full of surprises. Only because it reflects who we are and what our society is like. Building a web site which works is a reflection of your intuitiveness, resourcefulness and understanding just what people want and how to give it to them. It is very much like building a company.

Now if you will excuse me I am going to go write an article about how I tease my white hair and keep it from falling out.

The Important Elements of Web Design

Investing in a domain name and website can be challenging because of the competition. Many businesses are on the internet, each competing for the top results on search engines. This is why they update their sites more often and promote it to different people. The design, on the other hand, is another factor you should consider. Many people are not tech savvy so a neat design can make your visitors stay on your website for a few minutes. A great presentation is what makes them buy your products so be sure to display them properly.

Visit versus Bounce

A “visit” is when visitors stay on your website for more than thirty seconds, while a “bounce”is when visitors leave the website immediately after clicking. Search engines rank websites depending on visits, not the number of clicks. Grab the interest of your visitors so they will stay longer. People browse through websites for five seconds to see if it has what they are looking for. The design plays an important role because it allows visitors to navigate through your site. Visitors might leave if they cannot understand a complicated design.

Design

Think of original ideas that can leave good impressions to your visitors. This makes them want to visit your site more often. People like to see and experience new things because plain, typical websites bore them. Offer something distinctive through interactive designs, such as drop-down buttons, catchy images, and moving text. A unique design stands out so find a good web development company that can give ideas to improve your website. They also allow you to give ideas so the website fits your preferences.

User-Friendly

Remember that your website is for all types of visitors, from children to adults. Make sure that everything is user-friendly so everyone can navigate through its content easily. They should not encounter problems when looking for specific information. Do not go overboard when trying to create a design because having too many elements is confusing. Provide a tour on your website if you think it will be complicated for your visitors. Never assume that all your visitors are knowledgeable of new elements.

Visuals

Visitors do not have the patience to browse through a block of text. It bores them so they leave the website and look for one with good visuals. They would prefer watching a video than reading your item descriptions. Include images, audio, and videos to provide them with entertainment. A photo section of all your company events, products, and promos is a good example.

Help Support

Many people visit websites because they want something. Make sure that the website shows what you can provide. The homepage should give them an idea of what your website offers. Ask your web developers if they can add additional functions, such as online chats and mini games.

A website is important in all businesses because it allows them to reach a bigger market. Think of the design because it draws people’s attention.

Getting Web Page Headings and Titles Correct

Often overlooked is the hierarchical structure and labelling of information on a web page. The two most important of these are page titles and page headings. Research has shown that the usability of a website is significantly effected by getting these two concepts correct.

Page headings
Most website users spend most of their time scanning web pages rather than reading the information on the web page. With this in mind it is important that the web designer makes sure that headings are well-designed to facilitate the user being able to both scan and read the written material.

The web designer should constantly strive to use distinguishing and descriptive headings and also to use as many headings as necessary to facilitate the web site user finding what they are looking for. A rule of thumb for this is that it is usually better to use more rather than fewer heading.
The web designer or the web developer should also create the headings in hierarchical order and because of this it is broadly speaking best not to skip heading levels.

Designers should also make that the site headings, e.g. the html h1, h2, h3, provide strong cues that will provide orientation to the web site users and also categorise the information that is contained on the page. This will provide the end user the ability to scan quickly and locate the information that they are seeking. If the user has to stop scanning and start reading the text on the page there is a strong likelihood that they will move away from the page if the limited text they have read is not relevant to them. It should also be noted that older internet users tend to scan less than younger internet users which can cause a conflict in design requirements. However hopefully the web designer will take into account the demographics of the end user of the website.

Page Titles
Page titles differ from headings in that whilst a web page may (and should) have several headings providing for the demarcation of content, there will only be one page title. Research at various universities has established that descriptive page titles are a fundamental requirement of any website. Whilst many people do not pay attention to the page title they have actually landed on (it appears at the very top of browser in the title bar), they certainly do when they are scanning through a search engines results page, as it is the text of the page title that normally appears as a link. It is this text that also appears as the text when someone bookmarks a page. It is therefore a necessity that the web design company who is preparing the web page provides a page title that is not only meaningful, but also descriptive, unique and concise. By providing clear and concise page titles the web developer will be orientating users as they browse a list a page or even scanning a list of pages in their browser bookmarks or browsing history.

Normally is it common practice that the title of the page is the same as the top level heading of the page. The significant advantage of this is that consistency is preserved so that the user avoids being confused.

Unfortunately many people address the issues relating to page titles and page headings from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) point of view, when in reality they should be a fundamental part of the design of any page for a users benefit (which is probably why search engines pay so much attention to them!)
If you think about the content of your page and the users requirements you will be a long way along the road to designing a great website!