14-06-2011 | A simple guide for creating a professional website

The first point you should consider is understanding what information your website should contain. In most cases your website should have at least the following basic structure:

Home page – An introduction to your business, services and / or products
About page - An overview of your business, future vision
Services / Product page – An overview of your services / products
Contact page – Provide all your business contact information, address, email, telephone, fax

There are many other web pages which you can add to your website but these pages will be determined by the type of business you own. Below are examples of other pages you may require for your website:

Resources page – A resource page can be used to structure information in to categories, this information can then be downloaded by website users. You can also charge a fee for users which want to obtain this information. In most cases free download information is a very useful method of driving web traffic to your website. The resources can be in different formats such as a word document, pdf document, video clip, audio clip, graphic file, power point presentation, there are many formats which can be used to deliver information to your website users. Informative download information is a great way to advertise
your business, especially if the information your provide is free, this is also know as viral marketing.

Image gallery page – An image gallery page is a good way to visually present your business, for example if you are a property developer you may want to show before and after images of a property development or if your are a photographer you may want to compile a gallery of images in to categories which would provide a good method of demonstrating your work.

Payment processing page – A basic payment processing page can be a useful mechanism for accepting payments from your clients. More advanced payment processing is know as ecommerce. There are many payment processing providers such as PayPal or Google checkout. In most cases these payment processing providers will only charge a fee if a payment is made. Most banking payment processing has a monthly fee so you should consider and research which is the most cost
effective for your business.

The above pages listed are only a few example of how you can create more interacting on your website. A good way to find out what else you can achieve is to simply look at what your competitors are doing.

Listed below are some of the most common requirements for an effective website:

Meta Tag Data – meta tag data is used by search engines to find and correctly catalog your website. It is very important that the meta tag data you add to your website is relevant to your business. There are three main types of meta tag data:

Title Tag – The title tag is important for website design search engine optimisation. The title tag is used to form a part of a search engine result. It is important to keep your title tag short but also try to list the most common keywords in your web page title tag. Each web page on your website can contain a different title tag.

Keyword Tag – The keyword tag contains words or phrases that potential visitors will use in search engines to find your business website. The main text on your website should also contain these keywords. Each page on your website should focus on a specific keyword and the text information on this page should reflect against this chosen keyword.

Description Tag – The description tag is normally placed under your title tag and should contain a short description about your business. This is an opportunity for you to sell your products and services to your potential clients. Search engines use the description tag to form a basic description of your business in search results. It is advisable to keep your description tag short and straight to the point. Get your message about your business within the first two lines of description text.

Fonts – Keep your fonts (text type) simple. I would recommend Verdana or Arial font types. These fonts are easy and clear to read. Avoid fancy fonts which are difficult to read as this will only distract a user from the key information you are emphasising.

Colours – Use high contrast colour combinations on your website, for example if your background is a light colour use a dark colour for the text. I would recommend an off white colour for the background and a dark grey (all most black) colour for the text.

Compress your images – When adding images to your website it is advisable to compress the images using a graphic application. Your images should be set to 72dpi (dots per inch) for displaying on a computer monitor, high resolutions on a website pages will not affect the quality of the image being displayed. You should save your images using , .jpg or .gif format which are the most common format used when adding images to your website. .jpg images are suitable for complex images and .gif are suitable for simple banner of title images.

Designing your website template – In most cases it is advisable to design your website for 15” monitor which use an 800 x 600 screen resolution. Although you may have a large screen monitor, many of your website visitors may have a smaller screen size, by creating a website based on a smaller resolution you will be giving all your website users access to a website which can be viewed on any monitor size. In some cases you may require more space for your website so I higher resolution design will be required, this is OK but you should always consider the end user (website visitor) before making this decision. It is also possible to create a website which dynamically changes size based on the monitor size of the user but you normally loose a lot of control over the content layout when creating such a solution.

The above comments are only the basic considerations you should make before developing a website. Below I have listed some informative websites where you can obtain more information. A good web development company will provide free consultancy at the initial stages of developing your website.

Green Shoots Media offer free consultation on all website design and development - please Contact Us for more information.

Author : Pankaj Shah - Webmaster