|Part of the
You Can Learn Web Success Techniques series.
By Ken Brown
Updated: December 10, 2004
This is a three part article on Web Site Design.
Web Site Design
Web Site Design - Page 2
Web Site Design - Page 3
Web Site Design Hints, Tips and Rules -- Continued Page 2
4. Make it Search Engine Compatible
In today's competitive environment you have to make your pages Search Engine
worthy. Each page has to be able to stand by itself as a page of information.
When it does contain information of interest then help your potential users
find it easily.
Standard way to make it search engine friendly is to add the three major meta
tags. Title, keyword and description meta tags are considered the big three.
Though not all the search engines use all three tags, most use some combination
of the meta tags and the actual content on the page.
As long as you are taking the time to design your page for most effectiveness,
why not take a couple of more minutes to add in the search engine portion of
the design. Make sure you have the title meta tag with a descriptive title that
repeats the main points covered in your content.
The description meta tag should provide a little sales pitch for the article.
Use verbs and keywords that describe the content, but also go a little way to
sell the article for people looking for the information you provide. Some of
the search engines provide a short synopsis of the article and that synopsis
comes from your description meta tag.
The keyword meta tag should show all the terms a potential searcher might use
to find your web page. The important point to add is those same words and
groups of words (few people only search on one word) should also be in your
article at least once and ideally multiple times.
The content should repeat the keywords and provide information in an exciting,
informative manner. Make use of the key words but don't overdo it. Your
keywords have to be in context to be most effective for search engine usage.
5. User Friendly Fonts
Use friendly fonts. Does that mean you put a smiley face at the end of each
sentence? Nope. What it does mean is make it easy on your readers. Some people
with bad eyesight can't read fonts when they get too small. Some people don't
like fonts with serifs and others don't like fonts without serifs.
I have seen pages written in all lowercase characters. Don't do this. Studies
have shown that the part that extends above the lowercase letters is what makes
it easy to read our language. So use upper / lower case as appropriate in your
The artsy fonts can be difficult to read also. If you must use them, just make
them your headlines. That way you can get the look you want without irritating
your users. There will be times when it is appropriate to use a gothic type
font for a lead into your Dungeons and Dragons site. Be willing to change it if
6. Easy Navigation Through the Web Site
How easy will it be to get around in your site? Are the menus where they need
to be? Do they logically lead to more information? Is there a site map that
allows users to find all articles at once? Do your users have to be able to
master the mouse and mouse over and click at just the right point to get deeper
into your website?
Make your menu names relevant to the content. Be clear not obscure in your
naming patterns. If you are a realtor and you have pages of new homes for sale
use a menu name like "homes for sale" not new listings. Some people not in your
industry may not know what the term "new listings" means. Can you afford to
lose even one buyer because of miscommunication?
I highly recommend having a sitemap page where you list every page on your
website with a link to that page. For some people that helps them get a lay of
the land so to speak and then directs them to the page they seek. This will
also encourage you to name each page with a name relevant to the content. Use
some structure and control of your sitemap page so users can navigate within
that page easily.
Use mouseover menu items with caution. These are menus that pop up when your
items pop out when the mouse is waved over that point. Even though I have coded
hundreds of mouse over menus, sometimes I go to sites and the menus don't lead
me to believe they have the information I need. They lose a user because it
isn't clear to me on a quick glance.
I am not one to wave my mouse over every point on the page to see what might be
hidden. I glance at the menu items looking for a hint the page contains what I
seek and if I don't find it then I am off to another site. This kind of leads
into the next topic, "do your users have to be web savvy."
Keys To Web Page Design -- Part 3