Having an online presence does not require the technical know how it has in the past. There are many computer software applications and online Web tools that have simplified the process of creating and managing a blog or Website. Website success does require a willingness to add new content and sometimes make updates to existing pages. The only thing absolutely required is a Website hosting account and preferably a personal domain name. With little time you can make a useful and informative contribution to the World Wide Web.
Reasons for creating the Website or blog include:
» to start an online business
» create a personal place on the Internet
» share expertise in a certain area
» run a non-profit organization
» express your views about something
» to make money online
Website building programs have already done the most difficult programming for you. Many times, all you have to do is use the wizard that's built into the program and insert the information that you want in the website. Typically, a Web site created using a wizard from one of these packages will be as easy to do as working in word processing software.
Website builders come in two flavors. The desktop version, actually Website design software, allows you to create pages and upload them to your computer at your convenience. The most popular design software is Dreamweaver by Adobe and Expression Web (formerly FrontPage) from Microsoft. The other type of Website builders are browser-based that use online tools only. Many hosting providers offer browser based Web builders. Popular applications are Wordpress and Drupal. These content management systems allow colleagues to collaborate on website content. Both software and online site builders include an assortment of free Website templates.
Below are some basic Website tips:
1) If your Website is more than 5 pages, include a site map. If more than 15 pages, add a search feature to ensure your visitors can easily find what they’re looking for. Google provides a free search box and site map.
2) Include an easy to use navigation system. Place it near the top of every page in the same place. It's also a good idea to include a navigation bar at the bottom of each page to save your visitors from having to scroll back to the top. It's ok if the bottom navigation bar only links to the most important Web pages.
3) In every page, include a Home or Home Page image link or text link that takes visitors to the main welcome area of your Web site. This is important because people may come to your Web site from a search engine and will not land directly on your welcome page.
4) Seriously consider an About page. People are generally curious about you or a company is. Provide some history.
5) When linking to external Websites, always have the links open in a new window. That way your visitors can easily return to your site.
6) Ensure that Web page text is highly visible and contrasts well to the background color.
7) Use an identical color scheme and a similar design template throughout the Website.
8) While it's standard to have a vertical scrollbar to move up and down on a web page, avoid a horizontal (along the bottom) scrollbar if at all possible.
Nowadays, most home and work screens typically measure 1024 wide by 768 high (1024x768 pixels) and these visitors typically view in a maximized window. When adjusting for a browser scrollbar, typically fewer than 44 pixels wide, Website content should be kept under 980 pixels.
There are still people using a screen width of 800 which leaves about 760 pixels to work with in the main viewing area. Therefore, it's best to keep main writings at 760 pixels or less to avoid left and right scrolling to read. The remaining 220 pixels to the left or right can be used for extra content, such as videos, or for advertising placements.
9) Use a CSS (cascading style sheet) file to tell browser software what fonts to use, what size to make fonts, what colors to use on the page, etc. Proper CSS usage will allow an entire Web site to be changed style wise with just modifying one CSS file, saving you a huge amount of time.
Things to avoid if you want a well functioning, professional looking Website include:
1. Stay away from Flash intro pages that require a click to enter Website content. Many visitors will not click through and most search engines will not crawl the home page.
2. Do not use more than one pop up or pop under box per page.
3. Do not have music play automatically. Allow your customer to play music only if they choose.
4. Avoid free hit counters which say something like “you are 27th visitor.” A low visitor count will reflect badly on a Website.
5. Stay away from date and time stamps unless website content is updated almost daily
6. Busy backgrounds distract from Website content.
7. Avoid animation such as spinning graphics. Animation is fine to have advertising stand out.