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5 Important Rules in Website Design

When you carry out a search for 5 important rules in website design you come across irrelevancies such as splash pages and breadcrumbs. If you know what these terms mean then you know enough to avoid them! There are far better things to avoid than these - here are the real top five:

1. Avoid Flash Pages that Take Ages to Load

Many clever designers like to use complex Flash introductions to their websites that take an age to load - so long in fact, that they provide a link to click if you are sick waiting. Most people who are tired of waiting ignore the link and simply leave - so make sure your website loads up quickly into most browsers, or at least Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. If not, then find out what is wrong and fix it.

When you have gone to a great deal or trouble with your internet marketing promotions to get people visiting your website, it will be a great shame if you lose them all because your website takes too long to load. The reason why this is #1 is that you may as well not have a website if people click away before even seeing your landing page.

2. Avoid Ugly Landing Pages

Your landing page is the first page that people see when they visit your website. This will usually be your home page (your inex.html or index.php page) but could be another page if they reach your site from links that direct them to internal pages on your website.

The web graphics on that page must look attractive and professional, and catch the eye. The graphical design must keep them there for as long as it takes for them to notice what else you have on your page - and that should also catch the eye. A bland, ugly web page that fails to catch anybody's eye will fail - so avoid that.

3. Use Simple Navigation

Provide a navigation bar or column that is easy to follow. Your visitors should be able to reach any page on your website within 2 clicks. Every page on your website should have a link back to your home page, and also at least one link leading to it. Google punishes poor navigation and orphan pages (with no incoming links).

The navigation to sales pages and payment processors should be particularly simple and obvious: if you make it difficult for people to purchase, then they won't purchase! Try to allow people to click to 'Buy Now' within a maximum of 2 clicks of your home page.

4. Catch Your Visitors

This could be rule #1, although those above are intended to retain visitors long enough to reach this stage. The vast majority of people that visit your website will never visit it again. You should make an attempt to collect their email address so that you can maintain contact. You can do this in a combination of two ways:

a) A Squeeze Page: this is a page designed to collect contact details of visitors. It stresses the benefits visitors will receive by allowing you to keep in contact with them, and also offers an incentive for them to give you their first name an email address. That incentive can take the form of a free ebook, free report on your niche or even a course of several parts that can be delivered by autoresponder

b) Include a registration form on every page of your website. This can be half way down the page, at the bottom or on a side column. You can include an abbreviated description of the same incentives as offered on your squeeze page.

For example, if you offer a 10 part course in exchange for their email address to enable you to deliver it to them, you can program an autoresponder to send each part every 2-3 days from the date of them registering. You can include a sales pitch and purchase link in every second part of the course. You can also batch email your entire list with new products and special offers. Firms that fail to build an email list never do as well as those that do.

5. Use Quality Content

The content of your page should be of high quality - well written with an eye-catching title. If you grasp the concept that people will leave your site when bored, then you should be able to stop them from becoming bored. People visit your website for information, so make sure you provide them with that.

Each page on your site should be optimized for a specific keyword, and should provide good information on that keyword. If people reach your web page after carrying out a Google search for Indie music, they don't want to find themselves listening to a Louis Armstrong track on a jazz page!

Finally, the one major 'must' that has not been included is SEO - search engine optimization. Every page on your site should be optimized to satisfy the needs of the search engine algorithms or spiders - particularly Googlebot. That is the spider that includes all Google's algorithms and updates, and determines whether or not your web pages will be indexed, and if so, where they will be listed for certain keywords.

So forget the breadcrumbs (indications of where you are on a website) and the 'splash pages' (false landing pages) - these are not important. The above five plus SEO are the important rules in website design that will enable you to make the best use of your website in making money - which is, when all is said and done, its main purpose.

When we design a website we make sure to take all of the above into consideration. We discuss our clients' needs with them, and include any features they request, but these five aspects of web graphics an web design are always in our minds in addition to the all-important SEO. We will tailor your website to meet your needs, while making sure that every one of these 5 important rules in website design is included.

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