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Web Design Home Page - March 2008


Web design Sunshine Coast

Smart web design of your home page for your geographical region eg. Sunshine Coast.
Clearly show your website's purpose. Look on your business as an outsider would; gaining that vital first impression.

Who are you? What do you offer? Include a punchy tagline summarising what your business does and what visitors can gain from staying on your website and utilising your products, services or information. Rather than single word descriptions, use clear, concise language and short descriptions to communicate the purpose of your website. More on web design research.

Include meaningful titles and headings
Ensure that your page title (the text that appears in the bar at the very top of your Internet browser window) and headings on your homepage are meaningful. As well as providing first-time visitors with information, your page title will be 'read' by search engines for keywords and keyword phrases.

Be brand consistent.

Keep your company brand in mind when considering your homepage design. Stay true to your brand's existing colours, style and tone. A great way to incorporate your brand into your website's design is by including a favicon. These little page icons can be based around your brand (see 12website.com's 1 favicon) and will appear in a browser's URL bar, next to the site's name in your bookmarks and beside the site's page title in a tabbed browser. Talk to 12website's web designers about creating a favicon for your website. More on web design brand.

Ensure easy, user-friendly navigation
A good navigation structure is essential to help visitors to your site find what they're looking for - and prevent potential customers leaving in frustration. Your homepage must provide a clear starting point from which your site can be explored. Your homepage should offer an entry point to all the main parts of your website. These sections can contain links to deeper pages, but be sure to identify the key parts of your business activities to link to from your homepage. It's also a good idea to keep your navigation structure the same throughout your site - for instance, a left-hand navigation with links to key sections of your site. More on web site links from 2004. Those basic rules still apply!

Search
If your site is large, try adding a search box (allowing at least 25 characters) so that users can behave the way they would when searching for information through a search engine.

Make your homepage link and keyword rich

Content for your homepage should be filled with highly-searched keywords that are central to your company's products or services. Search engines will use your homepage content to determine the relevance of your site to certain keyword searches, so do your keyword research and include popular search words and phrases within the written content of your homepage. Links to sections within your site should be centred around these keyword phrases: link to a keyword phrase such as 'kitchen design services' rather than 'click here'.

Web Page Bounce Rate Statistics

You may have heard the term 'bounce rate' bandied about by Web marketers, but do you know what to make of bounce rate statistics for your own website?

A bounce is when a visitor views just one page on your site before leaving, or when a visitor stays on your website for just a short time (usually less than five seconds). The bounce rate is the number of bounces as a proportion of the total number of visitors to your site. Bounce rates can be calculated for each page of your site too, and compared with the average bounce rate for the entire site.

What can I use my bounce rate statistics for?
Bounce rate statistics are often overlooked, but they can offer you an insight into visitor behaviour and point to ways in which you can retain visitors more effectively or increase the length of time visitors browse your site. With 12website's web statistics tool you can:

* Compare bounce rates for each of your main traffic sources - Are some sources of traffic providing a higher quality of site visitor than others?
* Measure bounce rates for your advertising campaigns - A short visit is usually not a successful visit in terms of conversion to a lead or sale. Are all of your targeted keywords relevant? High visibility for irrelevant terms will result in a high bounce rate.
* Check bounce rates for your top performing pages - Are some pages great at attracting visitors but not-so-great at keeping them there? Find room for improvement in your calls to action and check that your pages are optimized for relevant keywords.

What is a 'good' bounce rate?
A bounce rate under 20% is excellent, although often difficult to achieve. Generally, try to aim for a bounce rate of between 21% and 35%.

Find out more about bounce rates from 12website.com. For all of our websites we provide comprehensive statistics. More on web design statistics from April 2005.


How Screen Resolution Affects User Viewing my Website

Screen resolution should be a key consideration when designing any website-it does, after all, affect how visitors can view and navigate your site. Screen resolution is the number of pixels that fit into the screen space (for instance 1024x768 means 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically).

Looking at site statistics for 12website.com, we see that nearly half our visitors view the site at 1024x768 (45.06%) screen resolution, with a distant second and third place going to 1280x800 (15.51%), 1280x1024 (14.27%) and 800x600 (7.65%) screen sizes. The remainder of our users are scattered across a range of lesser-used screen resolutions.

When deciding which screen resolution to design for, keep your site's users in mind and try to ensure your site will perform well for the majority of visitors:

* Optimise your website for 1024x768 resolution - This is the most commonly used screen size-but check your own site statistics or target user group for the preferred screen resolution. You can do this by making sure all key information can be seen without scrolling, as well as ensuring text size is readable and the format of your content is correct (for example columns, photographs and captions).
* A liquid layout is best - This will stretch to the user's window size, rather than being frozen at the same size regardless of browser window size.
* Test your site in a number of different browsers (including different versions of each browser) and at all screen sizes. When using Windows, you can change the screen resolution on your PC without having to restart your computer - simply go to Control Panel and select Appearance and Themes.

Get the opinion of a 12website's web designer to find out how to make your website more viewer-friendly.

Recognising (or Recognizing) the Importance of Keywords

Keywords are vital to the optimisation (or optimization!) of your site. Incorporating the most commonly searched terms and phrases in your site's content, page title and meta information will help your website achieve good search engine rankings and help searchers find your site more easily.

A good keyword strategy will consider misspelled search terms and keywords that can be spelled in a number of ways, such as geographically different UK and US spellings. These terms, while highly searched, may not be used on many sites and could therefore give you a competitive edge.

Do your keyword research: for instance, a large number of Australian & New Zealand users search for 'optimization' as well as 'optimisation', so by using only the UK version of this word, you'll be missing out on those searchers who use the US spelling.

Remember though, what will your visitors think if there is an inconsistency in your site's written content? Integrating a variety of spellings of the same word (or misspelled words) into your copy may appear careless and could affect the way potential customers view your products or services. Talk to a 12website.com Search Engine Optimisation professional to learn more. More on web design keywords.

Contact us to find out more - Sunshine Coast 0407 589 420.

Read our full article on the pitfalls of using flash animations - web design flash?

Disclaimer

12website.com has prepared the supplied information as a voluntary service to the online community. The information is necessarily web design and small business in nature and is not intended to be relied upon other than as general background material. This should not be used as specific advice, recommendations or guidance, and specialist assistance should be sought by anyone in need of such help. 12website.com accepts no liability under any circumstances for any loss, expense, damages or costs whether direct or indirect (including loss of profits / damage to business) which may be incurred by any person as a result of relying on or using in whole or in part any of the supplied information.

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