Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Who Is Your Audience?


Understanding the type of people who visit your site is a very important task because you can use that information to enhance your site to suit them. As a result, you will gain more loyal returning visitors that come back again and again for more.

What is the age level and what kind of knowledge does your audience have? A layman might linger around a general site on gardening, but a professional botanist might turn his nose at the very same site. Similarly, a regular person will leave a site filled with astronomy abstracts but a well educated university graduate will find that site interesting.

Take your audience's emotional state into consideration when building your site. If a very irritated visitor searches for a solution and comes across your site, you will want to make sure you offer the solution right up front and sell or promote your product to him second. In this way, the visitor will put his trust in you for offering the solution to his problems and is more likely to buy your product when you offer it to him after that.

When you design the layout for your site, you have to take into account the characteristics of your audience. Are they old or young people? Are they looking for trends or are they just looking for information served without any icing on the cake? For example, introducing a new, exciting game with a simple, straightforward black text against white background page will definitely turn prospects away. Make sure your design suits your site's general theme.

Try to sprinkle colloquial language in your sites sparingly where you see fit and you will create a sense that your audience is on common ground with you. This in turn builds a trusting relationship between you and your audience, which will come in useful should you want to market a product to your audience.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Is It Easy to Create our own Website? What is HTML?


Creating a website is not so much a feat, if we compare it to the education of other technical skills. Most people tend to give up and pack their bags as soon as they hear the word “programming” and “technical”. They think it`s too much of a hassle to actually learn a whole computer “language”. HTML, the most basic computer language in building websites, is actually pretty simple to understand, as long as we have the interest in learning new things.


What is HTML?

HTML is the acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language. For learning purposes, just think of it as a language that the computer understands. For example, as humans, we were taught different languages; i.e. HTML as a language, is mostly and specifically used to create a website. The web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, will then decipher and interpret the code or rather, language(HTML), and display it in a way we can understand it, just like in a basic webpage.


Coding.

Coding the HTML language might be a bit tough for some people, so we can actually purchase programmes, such as Macromedia Dreamweaver, or even Microsoft Frontpage. These programmes are solely created to help individuals in designing professional webpages/websites.

Furthermore, one could also gain access to online web-builders, website builders that are inbuilt and can be directly controlled from the net. There are many different and specific builders online.

Books and magazines contain guides that can help in offering tutorials and ways to put up our own websites. Even online tutorials are credible, as in the modern world, information technology is the best and most cost efficient way in retaining knowledge, especially in this particular field.

So, you could start and build one right away. If you enjoy coding, it might even become a favourable past-time.

Monday, October 15, 2012

When Is the Right Time to Redesign?


If you run a website, chances are you often wonder whether it is the right time to do a total redesign of the layout of your website. Here are some points to consider:

Are you thinking of a redesign just for the sake of it? If you answered yes to that question, it is not yet the right time to do a redesign. Remember, a design serves a specific purpose. If you are not sure whether to do an overhaul of your site, keep in mind that your current design might have a specific purpose that you might not know about. You will lose that function if you do a redesign.

On the other hand, if your website has had the same website design since 1990, perhaps it is high time to do a redesign. The last thing you would ever want to happen to your site is when visitors leave your site without taking a look at your content just because the design is old fashioned. If this is your case, here are some points to ponder before doing a redesign.

Redesigning your website is like performing plastic surgery on it. Your website loses its current identity (for the better or worse) and your regular visitors might not recognise your new design at first glance. You risk losing them just because they thought they landed on the wrong page. Hence, it is very  important that you retain a characteristic feature from your old layout. Perhaps it is the logo of your site; perhaps it is the same text style for the title for your site.

To play it safe, put a poll on your site to let your visitors do the talking. If they think it is necessary for the website to have a fresh look, give it to them!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Should I Create a Website? Do I Need One?


People always want to follow the latest thing, be it in fashion, sports, that kind of thing. Websites have become a necessity to almost everyone. Companies, businesses, individuals, even young adults have created personal websites with their respective purposes, be it for profit, or for entertainment.

What one must consider, however, before creating a website, are the factors in which must be put to thought before doing so, such as the cost, maintenance, use, web host and so forth.

Firstly, associating with the cost, we must always try to find an affordable host, not spending too much, nor too little. A cheap host does not exactly symbolize a credible reliability rating, but we must always look for value for money deals. Also, regarding the efficiency and server/web host reliability, there are many cases of web hosts not providing the service they had assured other people, some had even shut down and were nowhere to be seen. Keep this note in mind, as if you would like a long-lasting website, this would be the first thing to look for.

Next, would hiring a professional be affordable? Is it the best option? For simple websites, we could always pick up the coding, or even use programs, as it is relatively simple. However, when it comes to more complex coding, and when you want it to do a tad more than just providing information, hiring help in doing so would be the best way. Not only in terms of design, but security is also a key factor in assuring a quality website. If the website also acts as a portal for businesses, security would definitely be the issue here.

So, having considered the things to do before building a website, do we actually NEED one? If creating one would boost sales or promote positive implications to oneself, then by all means, go ahead and do what’s best. Yet again, planning is the key to success, in everything we do.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Web Design Elements You Should Avoid Having on Your Site


As a web designer, you should design your websites to give your visitors the greatest ease of use, the best impression and most important of all a welcoming experience. It doesn't matter if you had the greatest product in the whole world -- if your website is poorly done you won't be able to sell even one copy of it because visitors will be driven off your website by the lousy design.

When I'm talking about a "good design", I'm not only talking about a good graphical design. A professional web design will be able to point out that there are many components which contribute to a good website design -- accessibility design, interface or layout design, user experience design and of course the most straightforward, which is graphic design.

Hence, I have highlighted some features of the worst web designs I've come across. Hopefully, you will be able to compare that against your own site as a checklist and if anything on your site fits the criteria, you should know it's high time to take serious action!

1) Background music

Unless you are running a site which promotes a band, a CD or anything related to music, I would really advise you to stay away from putting looping background music onto your site. It might sound pleasant to you at first, but imagine if you ran a big site with hundreds of pages and everytime a visitor browses to another page on your site, the background music starts playing again. If I were your visitor, I'd just turn off my speakers or leave your site. Moreover, they just add to the visitors burden when viewing your site -- users on dial up connections will have to wait longer just to view your site as it is meant to be viewed.

2) Extra large/small text size

As I said, there is more to web design than purely graphics -- user accessibility is one big part of it too! You should design the text on your site to be legible and reasonably sized to enable your visitors to read it without straining their eyes. No matter how good the content of your website or your sales copy is, if it's illegible you won't be selling anything!

3) Popup windows

Popup windows are so blatantly used to display advertisements that in my mind, 90% of popup windows are not worth my attention so I just close them on instinct everytime each one manages to pass through my popup blocker (yes, I do have one like many users out there!) and, well, pops up on my screen. Imagine if you had a very important message to convey and you put it in a popup window that gets killed most of the time it appears on a visitor's screen. Your website loses its function immediately!

In concluding this article, let me remind you that as a webmaster your job is to make sure your website does what it's meant to do effectively. Don't let some minor mistakes stop your site from functioning optimally!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ways To Improve Sales Through Your Website


Anyone who has been marketing online knows that the lifeblood of a business is the traffic of a site. More visitors equal more sales. However, here are some ways that you can tweak your sites with to improve sales without the need to get more visitors.

The first method is to weave in your personal touch in your sales message. Nobody wants to be sold to by a total stranger, but many people will buy what their close friends recommend to them. If you can convince your audience that you are a personal friend who has their best interest at heart, they will be convinced to buy your products. Remember to speak to an individual in your salesletter, not to your whole audience.

The second method is to publish testimonials and comments from your customers. A good idea would be to publish both good and bad comments; that way prospects will be really convinced that these testimonials are real. When prospects see testimonials on your website, they will have the confidence to buy from you because human beings follow the herd mentality; when others have bought and proven it authentic, they will jump on the bandwagon and buy too.

Use visual representations for the problems and solutions that your product offers. Not everyone will read your text copy from the head to the tail, but most people will pay attention to images on your website.

Offer quality bonuses to accompany the product. When you offer bonuses that complement your product, your prospects will feel it's a very good deal and it would be stupid to miss it. Be sure to state the monetary value of your bonuses so that people will be even more compelled to grab your good bargain.

Lastly, ask for the sale! Many people entice their prospects with the benefits of their product, sell to them with stories of how it has solved many problems, even offered killer bonuses but forget to ask for the sale. Give a clear instruction on how to buy your product (e.g. "click the button to buy now!").

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Key to Better Websites


Introduction

Importance of the latter :

One of the primary implications of a well-organized / good website, is to keep your visitors in the website. A website is definitely created for a purpose, unless intended for personal use, which is the minority. For example, a portfolio website would want to be visited and it’s content viewed. For companies and internet businesses, your website certainly aims to provide product information, to make sales, or somewhat similar. However, most individuals undoubtly prefer visually captivating designs, so on and so forth. It is undeniable that this causes no harm, but one must put himself/herself in other people’s shoes, as to understand how a visitor to the website might think, do and react.

1 )  Navigation

As I said, a web designer has to learn how to think the way your visitors think.

Situation A : Website with good navigation ( 2-3 hyperlinks to target page ), well planned  in terms of placement, and design.

Situation B : Website with poor navigation ( takes forever for the visitor to reach his/her target page ), hard-to-read navigation fonts and poor placement of the navigation buttons/bar.

In Situation A, a visitor will always want to be able to access his/her target page. For example, the individual comes across your website, and is interested in the product sold, but wants to find more information. He/she finds the navigation with no trouble, and enters the particular product information page.

As for Situation B, a visitor stumbles into the website, and would also like to find out more information about the product. Unfortunately, due to bad placement and fanciful font-types, the visitor takes forever, or even fails to find the navigation bar. Even when he/she does so, links to the product information are nowhere to be found, (example : home > about > products > product image > etc…[a few more clicks] > product information ).

Analysis : In both situations, wouldn’t a website with characteristics similar to the Situation A be more rewarding ergo better?