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Having A User Friendly Website
by: Jean Sutherland
Let's look at what your user wants to see at your website.
1. No Flash
For many who visit your website time is money for you and for them. The last thing people need to see is a slow loading flash front page. Unless your flash page is very unique and interesting enough that it will hold their attention I suggest you loose it. For people on dialup, and yes there are many around the world, a flash page is a download nightmare for them.
2. Page Load Time
There is nothing worse than going to a website and waiting more than 15 seconds for that page to load. Many of your visitors don't have the time to wait for a web page to load and nor should they. Timewise, many people will go on to something else if your page is slow to load. Ten years ago 15 seconds and more might have been acceptable but in this day and age of high speed internet this is highly unacceptable. Check this free site for help with load time for your website. Dcotor HTML http://www.doctor-html.com
Do you hate it when your gonto a site for information and finding missing graphics. Worse than missing graphics are graphics that do not at least have an ALT tag which would at least give your visitor some idea of what the graphic was about. When you have ALT tags it also allows search engines to recognize all the content on your site. Make sure to use good keywords and use them often on your page, as it will help you rank higher in the search engines. Use the free link verification program at XENU http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html to ensure that all your graphics are loading.
4. Links Not Working
One of my major pet peeves is visiting a site and clicking on a link and finding it does not work. This is one of the fastest ways to loose a potential customer. Broken links are something you should be checking on a daily basis. This is your bread and butter and you can not afford to loose even one potential customer. Again, XENU at http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html is an excellent free program to help you keep your website in tip top shape. Also note, search engines do not like missing links and you risk your ranking with them if your site is not up to snuff. Xenu will give you a comprehensive report that shows all broken links and their corresponding pages.
5. Making Your Index Page As Small As Possible
The old saying that time is money is never more true than when someone visits your first page. Getting it to load quickly is one of your main objectives. This mean you need to run your page through an HTML optimizer. Doctor HTML http://www.doctor-html.com, a free website, can be invaluable to you when it comes to shrinking your page. Your site will still look the same but will take less time to load.
6. HTML Validation
Validating your HTML will help your visitors to have no problems while visiting your website. With valid HTML, browsers will function correctly at your site and with future browser updates people will have a smooth transition. Tidy GUI is a great free program for fixing errors and reducing the size of you page. It can be downloaded at http://www.emailpromotions.net/download/TidyGUI.exe
7. Reduce The Size Of Your Graphics
The size of the graphics on your site, and these graphics not loading quickly, can be one of the major reasons for your page to load slowly and for your visitors to leave. Always shrink the size of your images and watch how much faster your website will load. Spinwave http://www.spinwave.com/crunchers.html is a free online cruncher that can offer a maximum compression of approximately 30%.
8. Your Visitors Browser
Not everyone uses Internet Explorer and that leaves you with the problem of making sure that visitors to your site, using Netscape, Mozilla and others, all see the same thing. Unless you ensure compatibility then different browsers are going to display things differently than what you designed or what you see. With some browsers some people may not be able to see anything on your site. To check your website on different browsers visit Web Page Backward Compatibility Viewer at http://www.delorie.com/web/wpbcv.html
9. Contacting You
No website owner can afford to take its customers for granted. When they need to get in touch with you in order to ask questions, it is imperative that you have easy to find contact information. Nothing is more frustrating than having to search a site to find how to reach you. Your visitors are your livelyhood...keep it simple for your customers. It makes for a great relationship with your visitors.
10. Spell Check
Last but not least, check your spelling. No one likes to read a page filled with spelling errors. Most HTML software offers this simple service and it should always be the last thing your check before you upload your page.
About The Author
Jean Sutherland has successfully run her own ezine for over 5 years now and has a subscriber base of 35,000. Her ezine revolve around people doing business online and beside offering free software, it also provides traffic marketing tips, informative business articles, free ebooks and computer tips for those trying to work online. http://www.emailpromotions.net.
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