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Old 12th September 2006, 03:56 PM   #1
Linda
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Default Elements Of Great Websites

A list of essential elements of the website....

"Websites are designed to grab user's attention. Main page of the site should not overload the user with heavy text. Break up the text in small paragraphs. Clearly label topics in bold or italics. Try to minimize the scrolling on the first page. Create jump links from the main page "read more." Remember that most users stay on the website for less than a minute."

Catch it @ http://www.smallbusinessbrief.com/ar...nt/006355.html

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Old 3rd October 2006, 01:52 AM   #2
Kelvin
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Question Main Elements of a Great Website

Hi Linda,

Besides design features, what do you think are the required website elements?
I can think of good content, look and feel, easy navigation (part of design feature), but anything else?

What about accessibility?

Thanks!

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Old 3rd October 2006, 11:53 AM   #3
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Nice article,some very good points as always.

cheers

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Old 3rd October 2006, 11:53 AM   #4
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Id say good usability is one of the more important groups of features all websites should have. If a user cannot figure out how to use a site or if it is just too complicated, they will not waste their time.

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Old 10th October 2006, 08:24 AM   #5
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This is a thin article but highlights a few things that should be considered. I take a look at some of these points below:

Meta Keywords are Less Important than Contextual Keywords
One thing to consider is the issue of meta keywords. Google doesn't factor them in search engine results any more. You can check with Matt Cutts on this. The use of keywords should by any account be integrated into the document content, be they in the page title, introductory paragraph, main content headings or links. When selecting keywords don't try to include every major keyword for your company and stick it on every page because it may hurt your search engine results. The best thing is to decide what each page of your site is focused on and use it to feature two or three keywords prominently and contextually and your results will be better. It is in fact better from a conversions standpoint if a person gets to a deep page from a search that answers their question than a main page that tries to be all things to all people.

Leave Out the Kitchen Sink
The main page of a website should not be the catchall page. I have run into this with far too many of my clients where they want to have everything somehow featured on the main page of the site. This is neither practical or functional as people balk at too many choices and the lack of focus will potentially lower search ranking as there is no way to make one or two keywords strong when you only have a little 10 word paragraph for each section of your site.

A Collection of Single Pages not a Book
I read in modern marketer, Seth Godin's eBook, "Knock Knock" that websites should be a collection of pages, each of which have a primary function vs. a directory of interconnected pages that never get to asking your visitor what to do. What he means is that each page on a business website should offer a clear choice and of two or three options not twenty. If neither choice works they may hit the back button but for those who find a choice that they want to make they will feel that it was an easy one and that has brought them closer to their goal.

Accessibility is Usability (for the differently abled)
On Kelvin's point about accessibility, I actually believe that sites designed to be accessible fall under usability as it will be usable by most, if not all users. In addition designing sites for accessibility have search engine advantages because of the use of title, alt, and long description attributes to describe links and images. This allows for the placement of additional, helpful keywords that may be used in the site index.

Be Careful of Claims of Universal Truths
The article author also suggests that there are universalities that dictate the way people view a site. This is not correct. If you read Jakob Neilsen or Steve Krug you will understand that people view pages differently based on the type of site.

News type sites often see readers using an F or E pattern for the way they look at a site. Less zigzagging and more quick views of headlines and the first one or two sentences in the paragraph and skip to the next headline until they find what they are looking for. This doesn't mean that there aren't conventions do dictate usable design but one should be aware that it can depend on the audience and the content as well as the design.

For larger companies I would strongly suggest that usability testing be a consideration. If you follow the low cost methods in Steve Krug's book, "Don't Make Me Think!" you will be able to get much insight into the way users interact with your site. For smaller companies, you should learn what conventions to follow and measure their success or lack thereof. If a page on your site is working well, find out why and try to make other pages do that too.

Endless Discussion
I could write endlessly on what to do to make a site work but the first thing you have to do is make it. This article is not a bad start.

All the best,
Jay

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Last edited by gilmorejay; 10th October 2006 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 11th June 2007, 11:15 PM   #6
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Default 7 Essentials for a Great Website

I pulled this from Grandandtoy.com... hope it helps:


7 Essentials for a Great Website


Regardless of where you turn to design and market your website investment, there are several key essentials to keep in mind when building an effective web presence. If you want your website to generate action, think about how each component of your website will get your customer through the sales lifecycle – to capture their interest, create desire and generate action.



What are the essentials?



1. Planning



If you're going to put up a website, only do so because you feel you have something of value to offer the general public.



Prepare a mission statement : In a sentence or two, summarize exactly what you are trying to accomplish with the site.
Map it out: Outline your site in a flow chart. Draw tables, links and graphics, noting where you want to place any animations or multi-media.
What’s required: Determine the purpose of each page. A strong outline makes it easier to work with a designer. Or, if you plan on using a do-it-yourself design tool, you’ll have a great place to start.


2. Design



There is a fine line between a well designed site and an over designed site.



Attention: Consider colours and graphics that will get your target customer’s attention. What colours represent your company the best? Is your brand bold and colourful or more subdued?
Consistency: Keep a similar look and feel throughout the site.
Action: Design can help you generate leads, inquiries and land sales. Consider a flash demo of your products or services. Create an online tutorial. Use interactive surveys.
Feedback: Create a rough draft of your home page. Use tables and table backgrounds to illustrate the colour of the site, and layout images. Get feedback from friends, family, employees, customers or anyone who is willing to give it a look.


3. Clarity



Keep it simple. Your site has to be organized so that users can easily find the information they are looking for.



Use white space: Too much copy or graphics will confuse the user. Use white space to direct the eye where it needs to go.
Write to the point: Users should have an idea where to go and what to do on your site as soon as the page loads. Use one word menus, alt text for descriptions and bullet point descriptions.
Organized: Keep your links to the left, right, or top of your page, and content in the middle. If it doesn't seem like there's enough space to include a link you want, either make the space or lose the link.


4. Content



Your content is the backbone of your Website. If you’re a service or solutions oriented business, content is crucial to explain what you’re selling. But the first step, is planning your content.



Mission critical: When you start thinking about what you want to say, reflect on your mission statement. Does it relate back to the mission statement? If your mission statement is to make people laugh, don’t be serious.
Provide value: The best writing is usually the most researched. Include statistics, trends or testimonials. Anything that will make the customer want to stay longer on your website is valuable content.
Don't fill ’er up: Don't put something online just for the sake of having it. Not everybody will be interested. If a user visits your site, finds a good article, reads it and enjoys it, he/she will likely come back.
Easy on the eyes: Keep sentences short or use bullet points.
Keep it fresh : Update your site and your content regularly. Don't put something up and leave it there for months or years. Everything changes, so your content should keep up.
5. Administration



Have you ever run across a site that hasn't been updated in the past year, or has just launched and is still under construction?



Manage Your Updates: Only launch what’s ready to go up and keep your content fresh. Otherwise, you’ll end up with blank pages, broken links and confused customers. Once you start letting go of your site, so will your users.


6. Service and Support



Every person who visits your site is a potential customer. That’s why it's a good idea to insert an e-mail link somewhere highly visible on the home page.



Give them an outlet: Reach out to customers and have them reach you. Use customer surveys, online forms and make customers feel they have a voice.
At your service: Provide users with multiple ways to reach you. Take into consideration your service hours and time zones, and allow customers multiple options to inquire about products and services. Consider live support, support downloads, product spec sheets etc.


7. Marketing



Provide potential and current customers with quick and easy access to your business.



Search engine optimization: Search engines, online directories, links from other websites and e-mail marketing are an important part of ensuring that a website is found by different types of customers.
Drive traffic to your website: Consider marketing vehicles that will drive traffic to your website. When you print business cards, brochures or any other marketing materials, ensure that they have your URL, and create online promotions that will attracts prospects. This ensures the long-term success of a website investment.
Track your traffic: Have a means of measuring your marketing efforts. As the saying goes… “you can’t manage what isn’t measured”. Many hosting plans will offer traffic reporting, so you can see the results of your promotional efforts, and see trends.

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Old 12th June 2007, 07:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
If you're going to put up a website, only do so because you feel you have something of value to offer the general public.
I used to tell people the same thing but now the internet is a vital part of business. I say that if you are in business and don't have a website you are not engaged in business fully. Whether you are a corner shoe store or an accountant, you need to have representation on the web in some form or another; the scale and extent of which will depend on your marketplace. From a small single page FAQ with your contact info, hours and main marketing message to a database driven library of how tos, landing pages and direct response campaigns you need to be there. fewer and fewer people crack open the Yellow Pages turning instead to web searches and referrals for finding business.

Having a website for business is so important that if someone asks you if you have a website that you should be seriously embarrassed you don't have one. The only situation where one should wait is for financial reasons.

New business should budget for a website and existing business should be asking first what questions are our prospects asking time and again and answer those questions.

Since I got into business I have chanted that, "Websites are marketing" and respected business experts like Michael Gerber, Jay Conrad Levinson and John Jantsch have explained that Business is Marketing. Therefore, it connects that part of your business must include a website.

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Old 24th July 2007, 06:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Meta Keywords are Less Important than Contextual Keywords
I notice Blogger doesn't list meta content="keywords" or meta content="description". This doesn't harm traffic to blogs. However, many pages with identical meta description can screw up. Google does read the description and shows it in the search results.

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Old 7th August 2007, 03:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samantha View Post
Provide potential and current customers with quick and easy access to your business.
Just want to add a number eight to that list....

8. Technical optimization... Properly compressed jpegs, gifs, pngs, accessible and gracefully degradable style sheets and javscript layers... and content which is accessible to search engines...

You would be surprised at how often I leave a site because it's slow to download... My attention span is getting smaller everyday...

Technical aspects of web-design still count...

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Old 8th August 2007, 12:58 AM   #10
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This is very helpful. But for business sites, a simple design using cool colors would do. We give importance to the content.

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