While millions of people run some sort of website, only a few – it’s estimated at only 1 to 2% – are really successful in accomplishing what they want on the Net. The main reason for this is the lack of well defined goals and the necessary focus to achieve them. A great plan goes a long way. Part of a good plan is web design. Successful website design lets your visitors focus on the most important part of your website: the content.
Whatever the content is, sales pages or valuable information, great website design makes your visitors feel comfortable taking notice of your content. Because it’s your content that has to do the job, whether selling, generating leads, picking up subscribers or whatever it is that you want your visitors to do. That is your MWR, your Most Wanted Response!
Therefore, the first and most important factor of website design is to get your content indexed and listed in the search engines. No listings means no free traffic. You can still buy it, but at what cost? Better to use search engine optimized website design.
So, how do you do that? Below are 10 rules for successful website design.
1. Use a search engine optimized template. Using a great template makes your life easier because all your pages will have the same lay-out which makes adding and updating websites a breeze. Templates will save you tons of time maintaining your websites.
2. Use Meta Tags. I know, the keyword meta tag isn’t that important any more. But the Title tag IS! In fact, it’s the most important meta tag and so many websites don’t use it. Search engines use the title tag to see what your page is all about and list it in their result pages.Also, they use your description tag as added information. It’s a great way to entice searchers to click on your webpage when they find it.
3. Use CSS. With CSS, abreviation for Cascading Style Sheets, you can control the style and layout of multiple web pages all at once. In other words, your website layout and style design is defined in one place and one place only. Change your css file and your complete website will be updated.
4. Delete all the crap and focus on your content. Flash and (java)scripts are funny, but very often they don’t serve a purpose. Instead, they fill up your visitors’ computer memory and make them run slow. Dump it. Using as little code as possible is the best way to guarantee good search engine positioning.
5. Have simple and clear navigation. You have to provide a simple and very straightforward navigation menu so that even a young child will know how to use it. Stay away from complicated Flash based menus or multi-tiered dropdown menus. If your visitors don’t know how to navigate, they will leave your site.
6. Reduce the number of images on your website. Yes, I know a picture can say more than a thousand words, but many pictures don’t. They make your site load very slowly and more often than not they are very unnecessary. And, if you have an image that says more than a thousand words, make sure you optimize it to a minimum file size and offer a larger version as an option.
7. Use a sitemap. Site maps are a great way to take search engine robots by the hand and show them all the pages of your site and also help them understand what each page is about, which means it makes your site more search engine friendly and helps get a higher ranking.
8. Write crisp HTML that will validate. When they arrive at your site search engine robots only see a bunch of HTML codes. No fancy images, no colored text, nothing of that kind. So to make search engines understand what your website is about and show them that it deserves to have a high ranking, you need to speak to them in their own language: crisp HTML coding that will validate!
Don’t use deprecated HTML coding, make sure your website complies to w3 org web standards and make sure it is cross-browser compatible.
9. Write one page for one keyphrase and use the keyphrase as the page name. Divide your site into major blocks, ordered by themes, and start building new pages and subsections in those blocks. Without doubt you have researched the keywords and keyphrases you want to get listed for. Now, use them as the name of these blocks and individual pages at your website. Use synonyms inside the pages, so the search engines will get a good idea what your website is all about.
10. Keep your content limited to 500 pixels. For optimal reading convenience, a width of 500 pixels is recommended with a font size of 11 or 12 pixels. It’s the easiest way for our eyes to read the text. Use dark text on a light background.
About The Author
Article by Case Stevens – CaseStevens.com
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