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Here we feature small office & home office (SOHO) based articles related to managing your business time, the top ten do's and don'ts of websign, ten steps to launching a web site on the cheap, 7 tips for creating a Home Office, 5 ways to a happy home business with kids and many more. Please see the menu to the left.

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Top Ten Do's and Don'ts of Websign

A well designed web site that follows good practice in terms of its technical design is much more likely to be found and indexed by the search engines and, consequently, by your potential customers. Site maintenance is much easier if the site is correctly designed. Design approaches and best practice actively help to reduce the time (and therefore cost) of maintaining your site - this is doubly true where Content Management is used to help in maintenance.

Unfortunately many sites fail in many ways to comply with these requirements. A site that takes into consideration the many ways in which a visitor may try to access the site increases greatly the chances of getting and retaining that visitor. Beside browser compatibility one must consider if the site is published for other media (i.e. WAP, Digital TV and Pocket PC's). If a site is easy to use and easy to navigate then your visitor will be comfortable and more likely to find the information they want which will.

Below you will find some our top ten Do's and Don'ts for Web Design.

Don'ts >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Do's















Don'ts

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Get Lost Think of how many times have you visited a site to and got lost along the path and have no idea how you got their or how you get back to the home page without typing in the URL again? Apply this simple rule to the structure of your site - it should never take more than three clicks to get from any one page to any other. The "Back" button should never have to used as the default navigation button.
Use Color Excessively Avoid the temptation to use multiple color backgrounds with equally colorful fonts. You may like it but the chances are there will be many more that don't! And there are a very limited number of successful combinations of colored fonts on colored backgrounds - your visitor may not be able to read your carefully crafted copy at all.
Use Music Unless your site is actually designed to appeal to be all about music resist the temptation to provide sound on your site just because you can. If you are going to provide music do so as a clickable link. Not built in as background music. Someone working in an office certainly does not want music blaring out unexpectedly!
Over Use of Frames Frames are great at making navigation simple and quick but more than three will work against this. Use two for navigation and one for content. Avoid scroll bars and borders on frames, they're highly unfashionable.
Use Links Without Regular Checks Most webmasters will check every link both within the site and external links before their site is launched. But do they check regularly when the site is up on the Web? External links should be checked every week. If your site has many links you can purchase software to check these links.
Use Browser Specific Features Avoid the temptation to use the latest in animated graphics or cursors if it means that it only works with one browser and you have to put the phrase "Best viewed with ..... browser" or if some plig-in is required to see it. You will not only turn away many would-be visitors but alienate them as well if they perceive that you don't like their favorite browser.
Copy & Paste Don't just take content from your brochures or other company literature and try to replicate it on your web site. The Web is a different medium and visitors view it differently. Think about the message you want to convey and how to convey it in a medium where content must be sparse but full of impact.
Show Your Web Site as Under Construction And don't put a date on it. If you have extensive design work to do just put up a home page with your company logo, a description of the business you are in, what sets you apart from similar businesses and contact details with a phone number. This can be done quickly, may get picked up by some of the search engines. Once this is done you can build the rest of the site over time and provide links to the additional content.
Design for
1024 X 768
Or greater. There are still many people using a screen resolution of 800 x 600 (some still in 640 x 480). To get predictable results design in 800 x 600 and the vast majority of visitors will be happy
Use a Million Colors There are only 216 "Web safe" colors that can be used that will be seen in the same way by both Windows and Mac users. This means that if you want to be sure that a visitor using a Mac and a visitor using a PC actually see the same thing you need to stick to web safe colors for your backgrounds and for the color content of graphical buttons etc.
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Do's
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KISS - Keep It Simple Silly You have 30 seconds to gain interest - maximum! Graphic files, music banners, etc. increase download times and can make navigation difficult or confusing. Simplicity is difficult! Web surfers are in general an impatient lot. If the page takes too long to load - CLICK - they're out of there!
Tell Your Visitors Who and Where You Are You will be amazed just how many corporations and organizations don't include their address or phone number anywhere on their site. Have they got something to hide? An e-mail address is not enough - if I want something now I want to pick up the phone and if your competitor provides their number and you don't, guess who I'm going to call? If your web site is easy to update then include contact names wherever possible - people want to know who it is that can help them.
Focus on Content Content is king. It must be meaningful to your target audience. It must be up to date. It must be interesting.
Make it Easy to Navigate A good site should be easy to use with everything clearly labeled. It should be easy to see where you are and get back to the site home page. Group pages in a logical way so that they are easy to use. Get someone who knows little about your business and nothing about your site to test how easy it is to find a particular piece of information.
Update Regularly Change your web site regularly to keep your regular visitors interested and coming back. The web is dynamic and ever changing - the software to manage your site must allow for ease of update.
Make Your Visitors Welcome Treat visitors to your site as guests. Welcome them - value them. Thank them for completing your response form. Thank them for ordering. Tell them you value them. Keep them on your site for as long as possible.
Use Graphics Carefully Keep graphic file sizes small for speed of download. Preferably no more than 25k per image and 125K per page. Software is available to help you reduce graphic file sizes. If you use thumbnails to link to larger images actually reduce the thumbnail image size. DO NOT simply use the height and width parameters in the image tag to reduce the displayed size.
Use Common Fonts Use commonly used fonts such as Arial and Verdana. The font a visitor sees in the browser depends on what they have installed on their machine.
Keep Pages Bite Sized Reading information on screen is not the same as reading from a book. Keep text in manageable chunks. If you have a large document that you want to publish make it downloadable instead of trying to display it online.
Check Your Copy Do make sure that you proof read everything - preferably have it read by three people who can spell and know their grammar. Spell checkers are only a partial answer as they won't pick up correct words used in inappropriately , such as "to" , "too" or "two".
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