Design - Plan - Create - Check - Submit - Position - Promote


After careful planning, you should have developed some good ideas for what each page of your web site should include. Use your word processor to write the content for each of your web pages. If you wish to continue on with this "do it yourself" approach, our feedback page contains a number of good links for on line HTML resources, or you may want to hire a professional designer to help you at this time. Either way, the following key points should be considered as you convert your ideas into Internet languages.

  1. Develop a Theme. All of your pages should have a consistent appearance. As you develop the theme for your pages, keep the following in mind:
    • Dark backgrounds will often make your pages hard to read and difficult to print.
    • Avoid blinking text and animated graphics wherever possible. They do nothing but pull your customer's attention away from the message you are trying to convey.
    • Write everything down. When you add to your site a month or two down the road, you will need to know the fonts you used in your graphics and the tools you used for special effects.
  2. Home Page. Chances are that your customer arrived at your home page from a list of 20 or so competitors that was displayed by a search engine. I hate to use old cliches, but you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
    • A lot of visitors don't even wait for the first page to load, when they don't see anything useful in 10 or 20 seconds, they just go away.
    • I've seen figures indicating that click-throughs from the first page of a site to deeper levels can range as low as 35-45%.
    • Your home page should be short, your message should appear to snap on the screen, and the message must be strong and precise.
    • A good home page lets the reader know immediately what the site is about.
    • Don't try to describe everything on one page.
  3. Graphics -- Graphics should be used to decorate your pages, not dominate them
    • Make them only as big as they need to be. When you reduce the dimensions by 10% you reduce the file size by 19%.
    • Try to re-use the same images on multiple pages.
    • Specify the height and width for all your images.
    • Use ALT tags for all your images.
  4. Navigate -- build empty navigation framework
    • Minimize clicks to useful material.
    • Navigation should appear on every page. Don't force your visitors to return to your home page each time or they will soon loose interest in your site.
  5. Test your design
    • Most web surfers do not keep pace with the latest technologies.
    • At a minimum, test your site with the current and previous versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox.
    • If possible, test your site with other browsers and older version of Internet Explorer and Firefox.
  6. Sorry about the following self serving advice, but . . .
    • Make sure your site displays properly on a variety of browser settings from 1280 x 1024 down to 800 x 600 and lower.
    • Print all of your pages and make sure the right edge is not chopped off at the default Internet Explorer printer settings.

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Harford County Chamber of Commerce