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10 Rules for Building a Website

Tuesday, April 16, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Go Daddy
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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 list).

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 experience.

2. Keep Your Navigation Consistent

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 "order now!”

4. Include Sign-up Forms

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.

5. Keep 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 Images

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 reach you.

8. Build a Sitemap

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 Images

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 possible.

Interesting Fact: dpi stands for "dots per inch”. While 72 dpi is the standard for Web images, the standard for print images is 300 dpi.

10. Make Friends with Google

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, LLC. All rights reserved.
Originally published here. Used with permission.

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