10 Rules for Building a Website
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Posted by: Go Daddy
1. Use Simple, Clean Design
While it’s tempting to put
every imaginable bell and whistle on your site, your visitors would rather you
didn’t. Remember, your goal isn’t to dazzle them with your design skills; it’s
to get them to follow through with whatever action you’re looking for (such as
calling for appointments, buying something, or signing up for your mailing
Try to pare down anything
that could slow a customer’s visit or obstruct your point. Too many social
media icons, extra images and unnecessary information can make your site seem
cluttered. Look at sites you frequent; chances are, they have a streamlined
design. If you use a clean layout, your users will thank you for the improved
2. Keep Your
Once visitors are on your
website, make sure they can easily find whatever it is they’re looking for. If
they can’t, they’re much less likely to come back.
Make sure you incorporate
the same clean-looking navigation bar in the same places and on every page of
your website. Also, be careful not to add layers upon layers of categories in
your navigation. Generally, two layers of depth are recommended.
3. Use Strong
Calls to Action
A clear, decisive call to
action helps you generate sales and capture future customers. The most
effective calls to action have a clear, explicit purpose; there’s no harm in
telling people what you want from them, such as "call us for a quote” or even
Give your customers a way
to stay in touch with you. A sign-up form helps you build a list of potential
customers for promoting your business. Entice visitors to sign up by offering
something of value in return for their email addresses, like exclusive VIP
offers, future discounts, or even expert advice.
Tip: Make sure you only contact people who have signed up
to receive your emails. Otherwise, you could be labeled as a spammer and even
face fines or legal action.
Information "Above the Fold”
In Web design, the "fold”
refers to the bottom of a customer’s window on a Web page; for visitors to see
anything "below the fold,” they have to scroll down. If the content above the
fold isn’t engaging, visitors are much less likely to bother scrolling for
more, so make sure your most captivating or valuable content isn’t buried on the
bottom of your page.
6. Invest in
Even on the Web, pictures
are worth a thousand words. If your product photos are too small, customers may
look around for better images and end up purchasing from a competitor. Even if
you’re on a tight budget, a few product shots from a professional photographer
can pay for themselves many times over.
7. Make It Easy
to Contact You
Don’t be afraid to let
customers know how to get in touch. Display your business phone number
prominently or have a dedicated Contact page in your site’s primary navigation.
Customers want to know that you’re trustworthy and that there’s a real person
behind the website.
Tip: Posting your email address online makes it more
susceptible to spam, so consider using a contact form as a way for visitors to
8. Build a
Sitemaps have a simple
name and description, but a very important purpose in terms of search engines
like Google®, Yahoo!®, and Bing®. A sitemap is just as it
sounds: a map of your site showing hierarchical relationships between pages.
Search engines use them to crawl through your site and index your pages.
If you don’t know how to
build your own sitemap, just do a quick Web search — there are plenty of
articles, tools and services that can help.
9. Resize Your
When you take a photo with
a digital camera, the image file size is huge. It may load quickly on your
computer, but they can take forever to display on your website. To make your
site faster, resize your images with your favorite photo-editing software.
Convert all of your images to 72 dpi to make sure they display as clearly as
Fact: dpi stands for "dots per inch”.
While 72 dpi is the standard for Web images, the standard for print images is
10. Make Friends
Your website won’t do you
much good if people can’t find it. Search engine optimization (SEO) makes sure
that search engines like Google and Yahoo! find your website and rank it high
in search results. Just like adding a sitemap, there are countless articles on
SEO, as well as some really good tools and services that can do the heavy
lifting for you.
Looking for more advice? Click
here to visit the Go Daddy Small Business Center.
Article copyright 2013 GoDaddy.com, LLC. All
Originally published here. Used with permission.