Top Ten Web Site Design Tips – Develop an Effective Internet Property

Top Ten Web Site Design Tips site design tools directory >>> Web design over the years has run the gambit from an incredibly simple, solely information oriented medium, to today’s high level multimedia destinations. For the ecommerce site reliant upon both the acquisition and long term maintenance of its visitor base, the best approach lies somewhere in the middle. The following list of suggestions should help you find that hallowed mix of speed, simplicity, and interest generation. 1. Clarity Counts The home page of an internet business must always be considered the operation’s storefront. In its development, one must ensure that this high traffic zone clearly indicates the site’s intent, and if applicable, its product lines. Let your visitors know exactly what you offer, in a fashion that is efficient, and appealing. Failing to communicate clearly and effectively in this location will result in many of your potential customers simply hitting the back button, and moving on effortlessly to one of your competitors. 2. Speed Counts Anyone familiar with the online experience understands the value of an efficiently designed, and quickly loaded site. Although this awareness is virtually universal, many site owners/designers fall victim to the desire to present as much information and graphical demonstration as possible to their visitors, in the hope that this level of coverage will convert into additional product sales. This approach may in fact result in their downfall. Site download times vary significantly across the web, and up and coming high-speed technologies such as cable and DSL indicate a future of far greater flexibility in this area. Today’s online customer does not share in that flexible approach. The majority of web users continue to use a standard modem connection, with the 28.8 modem continuing as the most prevalent. With this fact in mind, it is clear that a graphics laden site will result in download times that far exceed the patience factor of many potential customers. Studies indicate that the most effective properties boast home page download speeds of no greater than 10 seconds with a 28.8 modem. Drift too far beyond that number, and you risk the loss of a good percentage of your operation’s potential sales base. 3. Let Them Contact You Establishing a web presence that places the visitor within their comfort zone, enabling a sense of trust that can result in a purchase, is a multi-faceted process. One of the most important first steps in presenting your organization as one worthy of the visitor’s business, is the clear communication of a means of contacting you, or your customer service representatives. The most effective form of contact from the perspective of the online purchaser is without question the 1-800 number. Second on the list is the establishment of a customer service oriented email address. The most recent offering in the world of internet business is live online customer service via Java based chat windows. Regardless of your selected medium(s), ensure that their availability is clearly spelled out on every page of your site. Contact information hidden away for only the most determined searcher to find will only result in reduced visitor trust, and less potential for profit. 4. Navigation – Make it Obvious The current catch phrase in the design of web site navigation tools is "intuitive", or ensuring that site visitors can find their way around the site, in its entirety, with little or no thought process necessary. The goal is to ensure simplicity, guiding visitors to their desired destination via tools and scripts that flow seamlessly, creating customer comfort, greater product exposure through extended visits, and an improved potential for revisits and recommendations. Creating ease of navigation within your property is inevitably dependant upon the nature of that property. What may seem clear to the designer of the site, who has an inherent understanding of the nature of the site, may seem pure confusion to the newcomer. Step back often, take a look at the property through the eyes of your visitors, ensuring that you can easily see the pathway to each area of value to the guest, and equally important, a return pathway that is clearly visible. Analyze your traffic regularly for a better understanding of what is, and is not working for your visitors. 5. Provide Information to Your Guest Online properties whose intent is the showcase, and ultimately the sale of specific products often fail to address the visitors need for information on that product. Delivering specific content that answers the questions of the consumer in full will result in a far higher buy rate thant the operation that simply presents the product for sale. Content organization and presentation is key. If unable to find the the information they seek easily, they will very quickly decide to search it out elsewhere. Keep site information efficient, well laid out, and above all grammatically correct. 6. Provide Value to Your Guest Site add-ons such as a search tool for highly information based sites, or live customer service for products that generate a number of client inquiries, can play a large role in property success. Choosing to offer every tool available simply because it is out there serves only to clutter and confuse. Select your add-ons with your visitor’s wants in mind, and place them carefully based upon primary and secondary needs. Primary add-ons should be located where immediately visible upon site entry. Secondary interests can be placed in areas that require scrolling, or page changes. 7. Speak in Their Language The art of developing a successful internet business relies heavily upon the operator’s ability to make their potential clients feel at home. One means of doing this is to speak in their language. When developing your content, write as if you are communicating with your customers face to face. If your customer base tends to communicate in simple terms, then present your information simply. If you are targeting a more technical group, then speak technically. Speaking their language avoids potential alienation of clients that can develop when we present beyond their ability, or willingness, to understand. 8. Provide Options for Payment Internet purchases continue to grow from year to year, but this does not indicate that there is a complete acceptance of the medium. Negative press surrounding the security of online business transactions has resulted in a wariness amongst purchasers that continues to this day. Dealing with this issue means providing your clients as many purchase points as feasible. Credit cards, though the most popular means of online payment, continue to be viewed by some internet shoppers as "risky". Incorporating options such as order via a toll free number, print and fax forms, and alternative online payment processes like Pay Pal will ensure your client comfort. 9. Clearly Indicate Site Policies Deciding to develop, and incorporate clearly stated site policies regarding such issues as personal information use, product guarantees and returns, and shipping guidelines, can go a long way towards placing a potential buyer at ease with their purchase. Take the time to assemble your organizational approach to these issues and post those intentions for interested clients in appropriate locations. For example, privacy policies should always be clearly visible, or accessible, from any medium for data collection, such as during mailing list sign-up, or at shopping cart checkout points. 10. Tell Them Who, What, and Where Defining the nature, product line, and geographical location of your organization for your clientelle serves to address the issue of trust, by assuring your visitors that you are a real company, worthy of reliance, and not some fly by night snake oil salesman waiting for the opportunity to abuse their financial information. Successfully develop that sense of trust, and you grow a loyalty within your customer base that can serve only to enhance your business popularity, and overall online success. 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