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Web Development and Web Design basics

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1. Design Your Website For Multiple Browsers.

It’s a good practice to design your website for use by the widest possible audience. The Web is multi-platform, and non-browser specific. It should not matter whether people use IE, Opera, Lynx, WebTV, Mobile Telephones, or PDAs. There is new technology for mobile websites on the horizon. The recently announced “.mobi” address will provide better optimization for websites designed exclusively for mobile web browsing.

2. Spell-Check Your Website. This may seem obvious but prior to posting your newly developed site, it is a good idea to run the site through a comprehensive spell check. Nothing can distract from your credibility more than misspelled words. If you promote your business as a leader in your industry, this is absolutely a must.

3. Use Advanced Search-Engine Technology.

Once your website is developed, promote your the site by adding your Web address to search engine indices and subject directories.

4. Use Flash Wisely.

Flash is an excellent technology that allows you to your website to use graphics that sell your product or service. However, improperly designed Flash websites can distract visitors and become an annoyance. Further, be aware that some Flash websites do not properly display in every browser.

5. Exchange Web-Links

The exchange of web-links is one of the most productive ways to promote your website. Choose wisely when deciding link-ratios.

Targeting the correct keywords and the correct AMOUNT of keywords should be done carefully.

6. Write articles and press releases.

A little-known fact about website browsing is that your visitors want to read news and tips more than reading marketing hype. A good way to tell a small company from a medium to large enterprise is to review their press releases. Smaller companies generally do not have professional marketing expertise and do not realize the value of press releases or white papers on their website. It is good practice to include press releases and articles on your website. Moreover, a good number of articles and news releases with your website as footer is a promotional tool. Submit them to high-ranking sites in order to market your site. The most effective way you can demonstrate your unique expertise is through communication. The primary way to communicate online is through writing. It stands to reason, therefore, that if people read what you have written and are impressed, they're going to expect that you know what you're talking about. The one thing that everyone is hungry for online is great quality content – not just words, but words that tell people something they didn't know before.

7. Focus On Content AND Design.

Most website development organizations focus more on what the website actually looks like and not on the content. Content can make or break a website. It is a good practice to not only develop a visually appealing website but take the time to develop content that both educates and sells to your prospects.

8. Avoid making your website an electronic brochure.

If you have marketing collaterals, minimize the marketing hype on your website, and instead, educate your clients.

9. Develop website content in a professional manner.

Use correct English and grammar to get your message across.

10. Use industry relevant terminology

Use industry relevant terminology on your website to increase search engine rankings.

11. Make Your Site Easy To Use.

Some websites are designed ineffectively so that navigation is difficult. If it is difficult to find information on your site, users are not going to waste time trying to figure it out. Organize your content in a logical, easy to use manner.

a. Content / Copy
Every page on your site should be focused on as narrow a topic as possible. If you have, for example, 8 different products that you sell, you don’t want to discuss all 8 in detail on a single page. Instead, give each product its own page. This way, your page about Green Widgets will have a better chance to be found when someone searches for [green widgets].

Write accurate, relevant page titles. Just as each page should have unique content, each page should also have a unique title element. It should describe the page content as concisely as possible. Your page about Green Widgets, for example, might have nothing more than Green Widgets from XYZ Widgets as the page title.

Don’t worry about the “keywords” meta tag; do worry about the “description” meta tag. While there are a couple search engines that will look at the keywords meta tag, its impact is incredibly minimal and you can skip using it altogether. Instead, devote your attention to writing strong and unique “description” meta tags for every page on your site. The content in the “description” meta tag will often appear as the snippet of text below your listing in the SERPs, so a well-written description can persuade searchers to click your link.

Keep adding fresh content on a regular basis. A frequently-updated site won’t necessarily rank higher in the SERPs, but the more often you add good content to your site (articles, newsletters, announcements, blog posts, etc.), the more often the crawlers will visit your site. The benefit, then, is that when you add a new product or service, the crawlers will find and index the page(s) sooner — no waiting weeks or months for the new product to be found in the SERPs. search engine results page, the Web page that a search engine returns with the results of its search.

Write for your users first and foremost, but don’t forget that search engines are “reading” your site, too. When writing for the web, your content has to be understandable to the people visiting your site. At the same time, you want to be sure to include the appropriate words and phrases that will match what people are searching for at Google, Yahoo, etc. Just don’t overdo it and repeat the same word or phrase five times in paragraph! There’s no magic formula or perfect “keyword density” — write for your users so the pages are readable, but be sure to include the right search terms as you write.

b. Streaming Video
The main advantage of videos is their ability to instill curiosity in a person. An apt demonstration of this ability is when people are seen stopping at display windows of stores that have television displays in them. When you see a moving picture, you are immediately interested in what it is all about and what will happen next. Even if you don't stop in front of the display, you will spare a glance or two. The uncanny part is this, in the instant that you see people gathered in front of something you haven't seen yet, you will take time to look to satisfy your curiosity. However, if that display happens to be in your own neighborhood, you will gradually get accustomed to it and begin to ignore it.

This is the strength of internet marketing through streaming videos. It immediately grabs attention. The only thing that you as an advertiser have to do is to make the video interesting enough that it maintains or improves on that initial level of interest. When the video is old enough to become common place, you replace it with a new one. Unlike pop-ups or spam messages or newsletters, they cannot become an annoyance because the first thing it does is to grab the consumer's attention and curiosity.

With the use of videos, the consumer gets a clear picture of what your product or idea is all about. This is an added bonus to the attention grabbing feature of using videos for your marketing or advertising campaigns. When a consumer knows what you and your product are all about, they can begin to trust you. After all, having the trust of your customer's is better than the bottom line. A trusting customer is one who will patronize all your product lines. As good as your advertising video is, it is still the quality of your product that matters in the end. If you take the informal bulletin board style approach to delivering web content where all you talk about is yourself and your credentials then don't be surprised if the only response you receive is unclearness from your consumers.

Web Design
Program your pages for multiple types of Web browsers, across the widest possible audience. The World Wide Web is a multi-platform, non-browser specific medium. It should not matter whether people browse your Web pages using Explorer, Netscape, Firefox, or Opera. Each browser should render your web pages without problems. If a web page is designed properly, anyone using text-to-voice or Braille displays, can easily listen to and review your work.

Run your web pages through some sort of “validator” to test their compliance with common HTML (HyperText Markup Language) specifications. Modify pages until they validate. Most compliant pages have a better chance of being rendered correctly by the various web browsers.

Condense textual content to fit the time and attention constraints of today's busy Web users.

Use small (byte-wise) graphics so they load more quickly in graphics-capable browsers. It is not necessarily advisable to use GIFs for everything. It's more important to make the right choice between JPEG and a palette-based format. Avoid blindly choosing GIF and then trying to rescue yourself from the resulting problems.

Test, test, test... Every visitor will see your pages differently. Test your pages with as many browsers and platforms as you can. For example, run pages through a browser like Lynx to see how the "text-only" world sees your documents. Note that search engines are, in effect, text-only browsers. Make documents Lynx-friendly. Try different preferences, color and font settings, and window sizes. Always check how pages look with higher/lower monitor brightness settings.

For the future, to add presentational effects and Web page style, validate documents at the HTML 4.0 level (for the cleanest possible markup), so pages contain little or no HTML 3.2 presentational markup or proprietary stylistic hacks, and use the World Wide Web Consortium's Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) language to add stylistic effects to your pages.

Final thoughts…
Don’t forget to Spell-check and proof-read your documents. You’d be surprised at how often it’s overlooked.

Establish a routine for locating and fixing broken internal and external Web site links.

Include contact information and a copyright notice.

Sign It!

If your Web site URL or email address will change occasionally, consider using a service that provides email forwarding and URL redirection.

Submit your Website address to an appropriate newsgroup for a critical peer review.

Newsgroups

Promote your Web site by adding your Web address to search engine indices and subject directories. To ensure that people can easily find your Web site, it may be necessary to modify your pages to take best advantage of current search technologies.
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