Small Business Websites
Create a Professional Niche Website
Written by Charles Mburugu for Gaebler Ventures
Web design is a crucial aspect of niche marketing. If you want to be recognized as a professional in your niche, you should reflect a professional image to your website visitors. Whether you like it or not, the truth is first impressions matter and no less on the internet. How do you go about creating a professional-looking website?
Your website is the only thing visitors can use to assess you and your product.
Give a wrong impression, make it difficult for them to get information they seek and it is likely that they will leave your site and never come back. To avoid such a situation, there are some web design tips you can follow to give your niche website a professional image.
Keep your web design straight forward and simple with clear lines and an appropriate color scheme. Avoid distractions such as animated gifs, flash presentation and audio which load as the page opens.
Design for a 800x600 pixels screen resolution, with a page width of not more than 760 pixels, so visitors to your site don't have to scroll side to side to read the content.
Reduce your graphics to one or two small ones and optimize them to load fast. You can find several free tools for optimizing graphics on the internet. Always include "alt" tags to every image, with a clear description. This helps those that browse with graphics turned off and those with sight problems and who rely on text readers, know what the image is.
Work at having your pages load within eight to ten seconds on a 56K modem. You could do this by maintaining your page size at 10K or less.
Make use of CSS
CSS means Cascading Style Sheets. CSS helps define the appearance of your site with different style elements like size and color, font size, hyperlinks and backgrounds. Linking your HTML pages to a CSS reduces the quantity of code on your pages and speeds up load time.
Ensure that your key navigation links appear in the same position on each page so that visitors don't have to search around for them. Visitors should also know at a glance where exactly they are on your site, so incorporate "You are here" links at the bottom and top of each page.
Have a Site Map on your site listing the title of every page with a brief description and a link back to the appropriate page. This will not only help visitors to your site find their way around, but will also encourage search engine spiders to crawl your entire site.
Avoid fancy font styles and dark backgrounds. If you have a lot of material to read on your website, it is better to have a white background with black text as that is easier to read. Verdana, Times Roman and Arial are the commonly used fonts and are easy to read. Keep in mind that not everyone has perfect vision, so make sure your font size is large enough to be read comfortably.
Test your design with several browsers such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Firefox, Opera, Netscape and Safari.
Cover only one subject per page so that your message is communicated easily. Make sure all the content in your site is appropriate to the niche market being targeted.
Charles Mburugu writes for us from his home in Nairobi. He has a graduate degree in Business Management from Kenya Institute of Management. He is interested in writing about branding, CSR and intellectual property.
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