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4 Tips to a More Visitor-Friendly Website

I remember my very first website. I thought it was the most
amazing thing ever created; it had Flash, Javascript, an
animated graphic I designed all on my own, plus various
bits of 'artwork' placed at strategic locations throughout
the site. Plus it used frames, something I thought would
ease navigation for my visitors. What an astonishing
display of talent!

Now when I look back on that first website, I'm forced to
come to an inescapable conclusion:

It sucked.

You see, like so many beginners, I had succumbed to the
lure of 'technology'. Instead of designing my site
according to what my *visitors* wanted, I designed it
around what *I* wanted to show off.

Don't make these common website blunders! Visitors come
to your site for a reason - make it easy for them to get
what they want. Here are a few tips ...

__1. Don't Use Flash Frivolously.

Flash movies are all the rage these days. Sure, it's new
and cool and can do all sorts of neat things - but just
because you CAN use it doesn't mean you SHOULD.

This is particularly true of content-rich websites.
Visitors come to your site looking for information, not
for an in-your-face Flash movie. Annoy them and it only
takes a simple click of the mouse before they're gone

Flash requires users to download a plug-in, if they don't
already have it. It can chew up your machine's resources
and make it darn near impossible to get out - even a 'Skip
Intro' link is hard to click on if your computer is too
involved with Flash! And it takes too long to load. Not
everyone has a high-speed modem!

Of course there are legitimate reasons to use Flash. For
example, graphic artists or web designers who sell their
Flash talents will want to showcase it. If you use it
make sure you give people the OPTION of viewing it or
not. A couple of suggestions are:

* Put two links on your entry page: one to view the site
using Flash, the other to view it without Flash.

* Move your Flash movies deeper within your site. If
your visitor wants to view them, they can simply click
on a link.

__2. Use Graphics Sparingly.

The *right* picture can say a thousand words. But don't
use graphics for the sake of using them; unless they
convey something specific and relevant to your site then
you might as well leave them off.

How many times have you come across an agonizingly slow
site, filled with images dancing, whirling, bouncing,
and beckoning to you from the screen? It's irritating
to say the least.

If you have to display a lot of graphics on one page,
make them into thumbnails. Visitors can click on the
image they want to see in order to view the full-sized

Also be sure you compress your images to make them as
small as possible, and specify the image WIDTH and
HEIGHT in your HTML tag.

__3. Forget the Frames.

A lot of people like the look of frames. However, search
engines cannot read them properly and improperly designed
frames can leave your visitor 'trapped'. You can bet
they'll never be back if you try to force them to stay! has a nice little tutorial on how to get
the 'Frames look' without actually using them. Read it
at .

__4. Keep it Simple - and Use Common Sense.

The simpler and cleaner your HTML, the more likely it will
display exactly as you intended on different browsers.

* Limit the number of fonts and colors you use. Pick a
color scheme and stick to it.

* Keep your navigation consistent from page to page.

* If you use Javascript or VBScript, provide another way
of viewing your information. Not all browsers support

* Use tables to properly layout your site. Don't force
your visitors to use the dreaded horizontal scroll bar
to read your information! Tables can also add white
space to your site for easier readability.

* Spell-check! A site filed with speling errs is veery
heard to reed.

* At a minimum, check your site with the two most popular
browsers, Internet Explorer and Netscape.

Creating a web page is easy. Creating a *good* web page,
however, takes a little more thought. Offer a content-rich
site that's a pleasure to visit and your visitors will keep
coming back!

About the Author
Angela is the editor of Online Business Basics, a
newsletter for eBusiness beginners. OBB features ongoing
tutorials on how to build a profitable Internet business
*without* spending a lot of money. Subscribe today and
get '101 High-Profit Businesses You Can Start on the
Internet' absolutely free! For details, visit