Just some things need to be included in every website. If you integrate these tips into your next web site project, your visitors and clients will "thank you" for it later:

1) Navigation: Keep it simple (KISS), and make sure it is consistent from page to page. No matter where you place your navigation bar — either at the top or down the side — always include a small text menu at the bottom of every page. If you are one of those people easily impressed with Flash, do not design your navigation with it. There are still some people who do not have or want the plug-in, so they will not be able to navigate your site. Besides, search engine spiders cannot read it, so will not be able to spider the individual pages of your site if the navigation is done in Flash. These are the little things all web designer should keep in mind, but many tend to forget or do not explain this important fact to the client and you run into minor issues later around.

2) Privacy Policy – (TOS): With all of the concern over privacy on the Web today, if you collect any type of information from your visitors (even if it is just an email address) you need to include a privacy policy and a terms of service (tos). Many online templates will help you to create one easily. Once made, post a link to it on every page of your site to inform your visitors.

3) Contact Information: Nothing drives me more insane, nuts, and crazy than having to search through an entire website just to send the owner an email. Post your contact information at the bottom of every page of your site, along with your email address and keep it simple.

4) Logos & Graphics: Please keep your graphics down to a reasonable size. No one wants to wait two minutes while your huge, beautiful logo loads onto the screen. If you must use many graphics to get your point across, I have one word for you: Compression. For help with Logo-Graphic Design Click HERE

5) Fonts: Remember if you stray from using the standard, font (s) that everyone has installed on their computers (such as Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman) the viewer will not see your fonts as intended. Your users’ computers will display your site in their default fonts. Stick to standards. If you must have a certain font used you will have to turn it into a graphic to maintain its look.

6) Make It Sticky: Include interactive features if possible, such as live news feeds, RSS or XML. Check out http://www.moreover.com  for some news feed topics you can paste into your site free. Use chat rooms, discussion boards, forums etc. You want to create a sense of community where people will want to return.

7) Newsletter: If you are going to have a website, you need to offer a newsletter, even if it is strictly going to be about sale items, specials or site updates. You need to start collecting a list of your visitors’ email addresses so you can keep in touch with them. Ezines help to keep your site fresh in the client’s mind and helps to establish trust and credibility. For more on how to start your own ezine see http://www.ezineuniversity.com  or consult with us we can help you.

8) Browsers: You would be amazed at how differently your website appears in different browsers. Make sure you peek at your site in Netscape, FireFox and Internet Explorer. Recent stats show IE has about 80% of the market share, but you will still want to make sure the other 20% can view your site without any problems.

9) Resolution: This is a highly debatable subject. "What resolution should I design for?" The norm these days seems to be 800X600 although there are still a small number of people limping along in 640X480. Look at your site in different resolutions to get an idea of what I am talking about. If you do not mind letting the small majority scroll right and left, I say go with 800X600 (that is what I do) and it still looks acceptable to those surfing in mega resolutions of 1024 and higher.

10) Index Page: This may seem like a given, but I must mention it anyway. On the very first page of your site (the homepage), the first paragraph should answer the "5 W’s"; telling them who you are and what you are offering. You would be amazed at the numbers of websites that leave this out; and I wonder, "What do these people do, and what’s in it for me?" You need to answer these questions and do it fast. Surfers are a very impatient group of people these days. The correct thing to do would be stop them before they click away and you loose a valuable client or visitor.

If you can remember the above 10 pointers when putting together your next website, you will create a winning site that visitors will want to return to, and not run away from in frustration.

MR.B.