11 Ways to Make Your Website More Effective
Over the past few years 4 Guys has worked with dozens of clients and created thousands of Web pages. In that time we've seen clients make a lot of mistakes during the
process of building their sites. This has cost them a lot of money. Reducing common mistakes helps save design time as well as frustration, both of which will save you money.
Here are ten recommendations that will save you money:
Write your content first
Know your target audience
Use Both Upper & Lower Case - In the Internet world, typing in all upper case is the SAME AS YELLING! All caps text is very difficult to read and is next to impossible to convert into useable text. If you send your document in all caps, someone will have to completely re-type it. By making sure you don't accidentally leave the caps locks key on, you'll save yourself (and your designer) a lot of headaches (and money). In MS Word, use Shift+F3 to toggle between the (3) cases. Easy. No need to re-type.
Perform Spelling/Grammar Check - Spelling and grammar errors always seem to find their way into a finished Web site no matter how hard you try to eliminate them. The best way to reduce them is to use your word processor to find them as you're writing. Microsoft Word has a nice feature, which checks the spelling and grammar as you write. By getting the correct copy in your site at the beginning, you can save lots of time (and money) making corrections later.
E-mail: Not the Only Way to Transfer Content - Sending pictures and text by email is an economical and speedy way to get materials to your designer (saving time and money). Unfortunately, many times people forget that what they're sending needs to be both uploaded and downloaded. Try to keep your email attachments small so they can be sent easily. If they can't be easily reduced, use a program like PKZip to compress them or notify your designer that a large file is on its way. Another way to send large files is with an FTP program, such as SmartFTP or Transmit.
Use Descriptive File Names - Nothing is worse than receiving a batch of files and having no idea what's contained in them. It makes sense to give descriptive names to your files. "Copy for the third page of the newsletter section.doc" is much easier to understand than "cpynws3.doc" and doesn't take much extra time to do (saves, well, you know).
Use the Right Resolution on Electronic Pictures - It's easy to send pictures via email with the advent of digital cameras and inexpensive scanners. Generally speaking, your pictures for the Web and computers only need to be 75 pixels per inch in resolution and should be saved in the jpg format. Ask your designer for more details.
Remember: The Web is Different Than Print - Many people do not realize that creating a page for the Web is entirely different than creating a page for printing. Nothing for the Web is "camera ready" so your designer cannot just scan it in and post it. The Web just doesn't work that way. Text needs to be typed in and pictures need to be scanned. Having this done when sending to your designer will save you both time and money.
Target Your Audience, Not Yourself - Remember that people who visit your site are interested in only one thing - "What's in it for me?" They don't care about your family, pets, degrees or anything else until you satisfy their needs first. Once you've helped them, then they might want to know more about you or your company. So, don't spend most of your budget on pages, which are only important to you.
Assume Your Designer Doesn't Know Anything - Don't make the assumption that your designer knows anything about you or your business. If you're sending a listing and label it "Mustang," does that mean it's the town name, a subdivision, the street address, the model name or the County? When in doubt, always provide more information than not enough. A guessing game can only turn into more time and money spent, needlessly.
Let Your Designers Design - If you've chosen your designer correctly, let them do their job. There is a real danger in having too many cooks in the kitchen. Things can get confusing - and costly - very quickly. The overall quality of your site will most likely suffer. Certainly you should be involved in the process and help guide the overall direction of your site; just make sure that you listen to your designer. Changes are very expensive to make in order to fix a bad design and errors.
If you follow these simple tips, I guarantee you will save yourself time, money and frustration when you build your Web site. Just remember, when you have a question about how to
best do something, ask your designer. Most likely they have the solution.
For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.