A Quick Guide To Building Effective Websites


What does it take to build effective websites?

Here I have compiled a short list of key components that covers layout, navigation, content, links, load time, screen resolution and browser compatibility. These should all be taken into consideration before building and create effective websites. Practicing and applying these elements will make your website a little more visually appealing, a whole lot more user-friendlier, and encourage repeat traffic.

Layout

Having a clean and neat layout is important for your visitors to be able to move around the site efficiently. Keep in mind that in most cases your visitors are on your site for specific information so it’s vital that they can easily find what they are looking for. Some of the most effective websites have clean layouts and making your layout clean and easy to use can be harder than what it actually seems. If you are having problems with layout, i would recommend using a template. Templates are plentiful and easy to find by doing a simple search on the search engines.

Navigation

Building Effective websites have easy to use navigation. Your navigation should be easy to find, descriptive and logical. The ideal position for main links should either be at the top of your page or across the left or right side, as this is usually where most people will try look for it. I would recommend that navigational links stand out from the rest of the text on the page. This can be achieved by underlining or using a different color. It helps a lot in the sense of allowing your visitors to easily distinguish between your main normal content and links. For effective websites I would also recommend having a sitemap available, not only for the visitors of your website but also for the search engine robots that crawl and index your site.

Content

I’m pretty sure that just about everyone has heard the phrase “content is king” and well, it’s true for the most part. Building Effective Websites need unique and valuable content. This helps a great deal with your search engine rankings, helps visitors to your site find what they are looking for and encourages them to come back again. The content of effective websites contains relevant keywords that pertain to that specific website. Do not over stuff your keywords as this can be seen as a black hat SEO tactic. I would suggest that each page contain a 3.1% main keyword density and 2.5% secondary keyword density.

Links

Correctly used links serve a very valuable and important function for effective websites. Links tell the visitors where they need to go to find the information they are looking for. Effective websites also contain keywords in their links, also known as anchor text optimization. This helps a lot with SEO and is practiced by some of the most effective websites on the internet. It is also good practice to take some of your key phrases or words in your content and make them links to other parts within your website.

Load time

Effective websites have reasonable loading times. It definitely should take no more than a few short seconds for a website to load. There are a wide variety of ways to speed up your website. A few of these would include optimizing your images for the web, putting all CSS and Javascript into external files, applying Gzip compression and avoiding dynamic page creations. I would also recommend using a website optimization analysis tool to see which areas of your website needs attention in terms of loading speeds.

Screen resolutions & Browser compatibility

This is a important requirement for effective websites. It is vital to design your websites to work on multiple screen resolutions. My personal philosophy is that it should fit comfortably in a 800×600 resolution. Also, your website should look the same when using different browsers. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape, and Safari all read websites a little different. I recommend testing your websites in all major browsers to ensure consistency on all of these platforms. This can be difficult, especially under Internet Explorer and the best way to minimize problems is to ensure that all XHTML and CSS codes are standards compliant.