Website Design 101
The Importance of Download Speed
Google includes download speed in its ranking system - the faster websites get the jump on the slower ones.
Research shows that customers' fingers start to move over the mouse button after 8.6 seconds of loading a web page. If you have broadband, don't assume your customers have it.
Keep graphics to a minimum. Don't add gratuitous graphics or gizmos, particularly on the home page.
Headers are often the worst offenders - huge lumps of functionless eye candy. Keep the headers small and functional.
Our headers download within 3 seconds and include such things as searchable text, email links etc. Keep the size of photos small if you have many.
A Short Website Content Tutorial
'Content is King' - a cliche, but it is the entire reason for the website. Razzle dazzle has a short shelf life.
Do you spend only a few seconds on a web page? Do you get frustrated when a web page takes time to download? Of course you do - so why would you expect the customers to your own website to be any different? They want to know:
- Who you are;
- What you do;
- Where you are;
- How much it costs (maybe);
- What can I do on this website? . . .
. . . in short order on the home page.
Talk to Your Audience
Decide who your target audience is and write for that audience. Eliminate any verbose passages, remove unnecessary adjectives. On the home page, state in clear simple English what it is you do and make sure to include plenty of keyphrases.
Keep the tone informal. If you are in a specialist area, think of including a glossary - don't include acronyms and jargon in the website if there is a chance that the readers will not understand it.
The Basic Structure
A typical business website will have the following basic structure:
- Home page with a simple but comprehensive description of your products or services. The content has to be very carefully thought out for this page.
- About page with details about the business, where it is, length of operation.
- Products/Services pages.
- Latest News page with topical items.
- Contact page with form.
'A picture tells a thousand words' - very true. A poor picture will tell customers to expect a shoddy website - content an' all. Irrelevant and unnecessary pictures slow the page down and confuse customers. Huge, slow graphics tell customers you don't care they are on a dialup.
A website composed solely of vivid colours tells customers that you have no idea how to construct a proper palette. We like to use subtle colours that are easy on the eye so we can use small amounts of vivid colour to draw the visitor's eye to items of interest.
Many local websites use avant garde colour combinations that may be attractive but pay no attention to customers who may be old with defective eyesight or those that may be colour blind.
Navigation goes with page layout and the website palette to ensure that the website delivers a 'pleasurable visitor experience'. A poor navigation scheme, even with a website of a few pages can confuse and frustrate customers and they won't return.
Warthog uses pure HTML that is not only very fast and cross browser compliant but also lets customers know where they have been and where they have yet to go. We combine this with cascading style sheets to create complex drop down-fold out menus if necessary.
Monitoring your Website
Most website owners, even those who rely on their websites for business have no idea how many customers they have to their websites, their most popular pages, where their customers came from - or very importantly - what search terms customers used to find them and therefore what search terms they should think about reinforcing. Amongst other things, your stats will tell you:
- Number of customers
- Number of customers that visited more than once
- Where they came from
- Most popular and least popular pages
- Which page most customers entered the site at
- Search words and phrases used to find you
- ... and many more
Use your Control Panel
Websites hosted by Warthog come with a browser based 'Control Panel' that enables website owners to monitor their websites. They can see the website traffic, their disc usage, set up emails. The popular Cpanel comes with dozens of tools and the ability to install many scripts directly from the server.
If the ranking has dropped, it may be a glitch with the search engine, the host or the competition has wised up. Although there will be a standard fluctuation over time, any serious and prolonged drop needs to be remedied.
Our website hosting plan will alert you to significant changes to your website's ranking.