Internet Marketing: Weave A Winning Web (PART II)

This second installment covers considerations while building your navigation plan for your website, including things to use and other items you should avoid.

Weave A Winning Web (PART II)

Last month we discussed the importance of clean, uncluttered webs for making an excellent first impression. This month we will consider the “nuts and bolts” of quality layout and navigation to keep visitors on your site once they arrive.

Creating a navigationally sound site with an effective layout will produce a website that works by drawing your visitors in and providing them with easy-to-access information. The following are the things you should consider to plan perfect pages and enjoy web success:

Things You Should Consider When Building Your Website

  • Navigation should be intuitive. It should be a natural, easily predicted progression of information that “flows” throughout your site and makes logical connections between pages.
    • Do not build a website until you know what pages you are going to have and how they will relate.
    • Your most important pages should be near the top of your navigation
    • tree, no more than one click from the index page.
    • From a security perspective more people are blocking self-extracting programs, flash, active X and similar products and running their browsers with plain text. How would your site look under those conditions? Want to find out? Just CLICK HERE and type in your URL.
    • Does your navigation work well under the “anybrowser” test? It should. If you use a flash navigation panel, be sure to offer a plain text version for people who block such things, and for those using browsers that don’t “see” flash graphics.
  • Eliminate horizontal scrolling and reduce vertical scrolling. Website visitors don’t like to scroll to read text.
    • Visitors should NEVER have to maneuver side-to-side to see your content. The frustration of dragging the scroll bar back and forth to read text is asking too much.
    • You can avoid most instances requiring horizontal scrolling if your site layout includes considerations such as the most popular browser settings and the most popular resolutions.
    • Your web designer can lead the way on this topic, but if you are doing your own design, you should test your site with different resolutions.
  • Use Hyperlinks. To keep your pages simple and easy to scan, use hyperlinks to offer your visitors the option of learning more about a particular term or reference.
    • Hyperlinks can be jumps within your own site or to other reference
      sites.
    • Intra-site links will help you design a site with all the information visitors need in a short, concise format. Effective use of intra-site hyperlinks will eliminate long, cumbersome pages that require extensive scrolling.
    • Using hyperlinks means your text is customized for the individual reader.
      If they already know or understand a concept that is hyperlinked, they can continue reading. If they don’t, they can get more information with a
      single click of the mouse.
    • Visitors consider sites utilizing exterior hyperlinks for reference information and examples more credible and trustworthy than sites referencing only their own materials.
    • If you do jump outside, be sure to do so in a new browser window. You don’t want to accidentally drive them away from your site by replacing your website with another site in the open browser window.
    • Be sure your links are perfect. CLICK HERE to test them for free (one or five pages at a time).
    • Do you want to know what sites may be linking to your own? CLICK HERE to find out. Note: this site may cause several annoying pop-ups and you must scroll down to access the link popularity check tool.

There are a tremendous number of things to consider when creating a website, but preplanning will save you time, money, and frustration.

Next month we will discuss the things you should avoid when building your website and why some flashy web tricks can leave visitors less than impressed.

© Copyright 2003 by Angela Allen Parker of Wicked Wordcraft

This article first appeared in the May 2003 “Word Magic” column at www.epowernews.com.

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