Design Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these mistakes and your site will be steps ahead of your competition.

1. Not planning your site

Before you even have a website, you must have an idea, a focus. Why do you want a website? What are your plans and goals for the site? Sit down and draw out a map of possible pages and ideas for your site. Include your site’s purpose –whether it is to sell more product or make the public more aware of your issue — whatever it may be. Build your site from it’s strong foundation (your goals) and you’ll have a better, more solid site.

2. Failing to put contact information in a plainly seen location.

This could be disastrous. If a customer doesn’t see this information, they can’t contact you. You should consider a ‘Contact Us’ button or link from your Home page. Even better, make a link to your email address in your header or footer, somewhere that will show up on every page. Even if no one ever contacts you this way, just the presence of this information comforts edgy customers.

3. Broken Links

Do you enjoy clicking on a search result only to get a Page Not Found Error? No one likes them. Check your site statistics at least once a month (if not more) to make sure you don’t have bad or broken links.

4. Outdated Information

A sure turn-off to a potential customer is the presence of old information. If it’s July and your website is announcing the ‘new’ products available in February, your site just lost major credibility. Make sure your information is up-to-date. Consider adding a ‘Whats New’ button or a Business Blog.

5. Too Many Font Styles and Colors

This is a huge pet-peeve of my company. I’ve had people ask me to review their website and the first thing I notice is 4 different fonts. It looks bad, unorganized and unappealing. Different colors may attract the eye for a short time, but constant flashing or otherwise bright fonts (and graphics!) become annoying. Beware, this is a sure-fire way to scare people away from your site!

6. Orphan Pages

Every website has a hierarchy, a sort of tree that branches out from the Home Page. While most of your visitors visit you through your home page, there are times when a page further down interests someone, and they may copy that link and send it to a friend. This is where you need to pay attention. That friend may like what you have to offer, but they can’t find out how to contact you, or how to get back to your Home Page. That’s an orphan page. Every page on your site should, at a minimum, have a link back to your Home page. I would suggest adding a contact link at minimum.

7. Frames

Frames at one time were the talk of the industry. They were the original Content Management System (CMS) for your site. Nowadays they are few and far between. If you are designing a site, don’t use frames. Newer technologies such as server-side includes are much more common and accepted. Your pages look fresher and those silly bars don’t get in the way.

8. Disabling the BACK button and excessive Pop-Ups

Have you been to a website and decided that it wasn’t the information you were looking for? When you clicked the BACK button, did you suddenly get a barrage of windows (or, pop-ups) to your dismay? These things rarely actually work, and worse off, the reason you hit the BACK button is because you DIDN’T want any more information from that site. Don’t break the BACK button. There are other ways to get your user’s attention.

9. Slow loading pages

While personal and hobby sites may normally be slow, there should be no reason for your business or other professional website to be slow loading. Today’s Internet surfer won’t wait long for information from your site – there are too many others with the same thing! Make sure your pages load quickly. If the server is slow, consider a different host. If your webpages are full of applets or large graphics, consider a page/site redesign.

10. Using Leading-Edge Technology

While the Internet is all about new and fancy stuff, don’t be the first to do it. While it may ‘look cool’ to you, you ultimately need to decide if it actually enhances your user’s experience. Do the flashy cartoons make your customer more apt to buy from you? Probably not. How many of your customers have to install a Plug-In just to see your page right? Do they have to upgrade their browser to contact you? Not good. Wait until the technology is either more of a standard or gone – you’ll save face with potential and future customers.

Website Elements That Attract Visitors

Here is a quick list of components that make a website  attractive. They are listed in layers of attractiveness  beginning with the “must” haves, to “nice to haves.”

1. State the website’s purpose up front and clearly of the  site. Do this as quickly as possible. The visitor needs to  know immediately if they have landed on the right site. n They also need to know “what’s in it for me to stay here.”
If you don’t provide this, they are gone. 90% of the sites  on the Net don’t do this.

2. Give visitors the ability to search for exactly what  they are looking for, if they have something exact in  mind. A “site search feature” satisfies this best. Allow  the search feature to be prominently displayed and not  hidden away somewhere. It is best place in the navigational  system so that it shows up on every page. Sales letter only  websites are an exception to this rule. Return visitors and  visitors that have something specifically in mind, want the  option and ability to find what they want fast. So give it  to them.

3. Photos allow connection. Especially to people who  process visually. Clip art gets them to pay attention,  however, it doesn’t create much of a connection. Personal  photos connect within reason. Keep them less than three to  a page. One photo always needs to be in the top portion of  the screen on the first page. It doesn’t need to be large,  but attractive.

4. Ways to capture visitors information wherever possible.

5. Place items on the site that keep them lingering. Audio  and video are one of these, yet there are other less time  consuming and inexpensive ways to keep them entertained.

6. Articles. For solopreneur sites, your own written  articles. For other sites, articles with various authors  yet on focus.

7. Interactive elements. For example: response forms,  quizzes

8. If you use a shopping cart, it must be fluid, no  hiccups. PayPal is not a shopping cart, it’s a hiccup. All  auto responders must be well written and positive. If  someone purchased something, they need the energy of “thank  you.”

9. Give offers that are of value.

10. Clear path of where a newcomer can start if it is their  first visit.

11. Newsletter that is consistent with the 80/20 rule.  80% value and 20% marketing.

12. E-courses of value.

13. Well-written e-books: 50-75 pages, plus valuable  information (info not found anywhere else). Length doesn’t  do more than provide perceptive value. Once purchased and  the vastness is only fluff, then your credibility is shot.  Complimentary e-books meet the same requirements.

14. Give them other ways to receive more on…you if you are  the focus…or the information if that is the focus.

15. Automated referral system. If you want referrals for  your products or services, make it easy for you to get them.  Set it up so it’s as automatic as possible, and clear and  easy for someone to send you a referral. Be clear on what  aand how you want to give for that referral.

Posted in Web

Things That Make A Web Site Great

First you need original content. Content is the heart beat of any exceptional Web site. The ability to take a common subject and give it some interest and originality is a rare talent,but necessary to keep visitors coming back. Add a dash of humor, be sure to update once or twice a month and look out, you’re on your way.

Second you need, great graphics. If your graphics are properly used they can greatly enhance a web site and it’s content. However, if you overuse or they take forever to load, you will drive visitors away before they even see the content. The irony here is that just about anyone can make decent graphics and expensive programs are not required.

Third, you need a good presentation. Good Web sites do not keep the user guessing. They make their purpose immediately evident and present an easy to follow navigation system. The content and graphics blend in perfectly with the presentation and following it is a simple matter. You will never find hyperbole or confusion caused by overuse of animated graphics,Java or anything else that will serve to mask the intent and content of the site. Most importantly, a great Web site is run by a competent and knowledgeable Webmaster. One who knows how to seamlessly move the visitors to each level of the site. A great Web site is not a side show, it’s a simple (no-need-to-be flashy) library of content. It just does what it is supposed to do and leaves the hoopla behind.

Last, but not least your site needs to be both interactive and proactive. Good web sites are ones that are people conscience.While, yes, the Internet is the cutting edge of technology and
all that, remember it’s just regular people, like you and I that are using it and will make it what it is in the future. The great web sites are the ones with the developers who not only
have all the techno skills, but the people skills to boot. Think about the sites you visit over and over. What keeps you coming back. Useful content. Yes. How about that feeling of
belonging. Like someone is actually having a one on one conversation with you. The ability to provide the opportunity to express and contribute is the mark of a superior web developer
and what makes a web site one of the great ones.

Graphic Design Using Color

Color is everywhere and conveys a message even if we don’t realize it. While this message can vary by culture it pays toGraphic Design Using Color know what colors “say” in your own corner of the universe, and even what color means to your target market.

If you don’t think that color speaks just complete this sentence, “red means —- and green means -” even a child will know what red means stop and green means go. If such simple ideas work for all of a given culture or market what could it mean to the graphic design of your website, brochure, or product if you know some of this information.

First let’s start with the basics. The color wheel. We’ve all seen it. The color wheel shows the basic colors, each wheel is different in how many shades of each color is shown, but they are essentially the same.

Color harmony, colors that go together well. These will be colors that are next door to each other on the color wheel. Such as blue and green. In reference to clothes these colors match each other. Instinctively most of us know which colors go together when we dress ourselves every morning.

Color complements, colors that set each other off, they complement each other. These are colors that are opposite on the color wheel. Such as blue and orange.

Color depth, colors can recede or jump forward. Remember that some colors seem to fall back such as blue, black, dark green, and brown. Other colors will seem to step forward such as white, yellow, red, and orange. This is why if you have a bright orange background it may seem to fight with any text or images that you place on it. The orange will always seem to move forward.

Now you have the basics so let’s go further. Just because to colors go together or complement each other doesn’t mean that yo necessarily want to use them on your project. I opened this article with the meaning of colors now here is an example, keep in mind this is one example from western culture.

Color Survey: what respondents said colors mean to them.

Happy = Yellow Inexpensive = Brown
Pure = White Powerful = Red (tomato)
Good Luck = green Dependable = Blue
Good tasting = Red (tomato) High Quality = Black
Dignity = Purple Nausea = Green
Technology = Silver Deity = White
Sexiness = Red (tomato) Bad Luck = Black
Mourning = Black Favorite color = Blue
Expensive = Gold Least favorite color = Orange

So in designing your project it’s important to know what colors mean. You can now see why a black back ground with green type would be bad, beyond being nearly impossible to read, if your target market thinks that black represents mourning and green makes them sick. There are exceptions to every rule of course.

So you may want to include some research in what colors mean to your target market. Colors that would get the attention of a teen would probably annoy an older person and the colors that appeal to the older person wouldn’t get a second look from a young person.

Color may be one of the most overlooked aspects of design.

Tips To Secure Your Php Web Applications

Security is the first and foremost concern of almost every developer on this planet. As we live in the world of high-technology, this has countless benefits and some people use it in a wrong manner. Thousands of websites in all over the world get hacked on the daily basis, some of the hackers do this for fun, some for money but all are not bad because some help to find vulnerabilities.

Developing a site which is 100% secure is an impossible task for any developer no matter how experienced he is. But security is something which you cannot ignore and writing secure PHP code won’t protect your web applications. There are so many other things to consider while developing PHP web applications and some of the following tips will help you to secure it.

Start Hashing Passwords: If you want to secure your PHP web applications so always try to use hashing password. This is because hashing password is one of the best and simple techniques to store unreadable passwords in the database. Most of the developers don’t have any idea that hashes, passwords stored in the database will be useless for a hacker even if they steal them all. It is a very safe technique which is easy to learn and apply. So the next time you choose a password for your web application so always try to use hashing password.

Escape input before using in an SQL statement: Another important tip, which you should remember for securing your PHP web applications, is that you must escape user input to prevent your application from SQL injections. These injections are an attempt made by the hackers to break your security system and if your application allows SQL vulnerability so your site is in danger.

Don’t trust Java script for input validation: Most of the developer’s use Java script for input validation because it is a good idea which helps to improve the user experience but till an extent. You should never really totally on it because it is easy for the hackers to disable it. So never trust Java script complete for input validation.

Do not store unnecessary data: A big mistake done by almost every developer which creates a big risk for PHP web application is that they store unnecessary data which is easy to hack for the hackers. So always try not to store unnecessary data. This helps to prevent hackers from stealing your information and also helps to reduce the size of the database.

All these tips will definitely help you to secure your website from hackers sitting beside you. One more thing you should consider while developing a website always installs software from trusted providers. This will help to secure your web application from the wrong persons.

Website Basics

The Basics You have a flourishing business – everything is in its place. You just miss one important piece of marketing: an Internet Presence a website. Like everything in business, getting a website needs planning. Getting an effective website needs even more planning. Here are some basic things to know and plan: The WWW What is the www or the internet? Basically a network of websites from all over the world you can access via your computer for which you need an internet connection and a browser. Internet connections are available from ISPs, and most of the popular browsers are free downloads from the internet. Just like writing/typing an address on a postal envelope, you type the website address in the browser beginning with http://www. and ending with either .com, .net, .org, .biz, .nz, .uk, etc. So if you want to access the Microsoft website, you would type http://www.microsoft.com in the browser and hey, presto! You get all the information about microsoft and its products on your browser. Just click on the available links and you are on your way. Your Website Your website will be a bunch of pages all linked together via hyperlinks. You can ofcourse have a one-page website or as many pages as you like – depending on the amount of information you want to share with your visitors. Hyperlinks are text or images pointing to another page, just like the heading of this article points to my website. Your Audience As the web has grown, so has the types of people who access it and how they access it. As we say, it is impossible to please everybody. It is very difficult to design a website which will be accessible to all. Carefully choose your content and design, keeping in mind who your target audience is and what type of equipment they use. Equipment here means the computer and other hardware and also includes the software used for connecting to the internet and browsing it. The best way to reach more people is to use pure HTML, and keep the use of scripting languages like JavaScript, Java, and other plug-ins to the minimum. While this may not make your site flashy,stylish or trendy, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your site is accessible to most of the people. Afterall, that is the whole point of this exercise, right? Designing your website means knowing your audience and their requirements. Content Now that introductions are over, lets get down to the core of your website: Content. The most important aspect of any website, content is the one thing that will keep your visitors at your site and keep bringing them back. The content should depend on what you want to let your visitors know – about the company, the products, the services. Keep the content interesting, updating it often for repeat visitors. Often this can mean providing more details about different aspects in your business, like seasonal discounts, etc. Your visitors will visit your site again and again if the content is relevant, and there is something new every time they visit. Layout A well laid out website will be a successful one. Whether you design the site yourself, or outsource the task to a webdesigner like us, first layout your ideas on paper. Choose text, color and graphics carefully, they all contribute to the page load time. Starting with your Home Page, keep it fast-loading, with a good navigational structure. Try to follow the same layout for the whole website. Change the layout only for different sections and not different pages. If the navigation bar is at the top on your HomePage, keep it at the top in all the other main pages. Consistency in layout is very, very important. These are just some of the basics about building a website. There are many more, some requiring a article all about themselves. Keep visiting, as I plan to write about as many as I can. Ofcourse, you are welcome to email me your suggestions/comments about what you would like to read about in webdevelopment.

Making Good Websites that Stand Out

Websites, there’s literally billions of them out there in cyber-space. How many of them do you go to and just think this isMaking Good Websites that Stand Out boring, bland, or hard to use? It seems like too many to mention. So what makes a good website? I reckon it’s about interaction. You’ve got to make the visitor interested. You’ve got to grab their attention. Many sites use plenty of bright and shiny gimmicks to attract you, but once you make it through to the content of the site it’s just not worthy. A good site uses easy navigation, relevant content, and interactive media like comments and message boards. If you’re fortunate, whoever builds your site may even have a few tricks up their sleeves to make it really fun with sound, video, and other interactive fun stuff.

Do you want people to come to your site and then tell their friend and family about it? Do you want to have huge amounts of visitors? Do you want to succeed in making your dreams come to fruition on the Web? Make your website exciting! It might be easier said than done, but there are people around whose job it is to construct and design sites for a living. If you can afford it, go for the best. How great is it when you come across a site that has some special feature that you’ve never seen elsewhere? Isn’t it great when you find a site that relates to one of your interests that is simple and easy to get to the information you want? If you want to have people to come back again and again, you’ve got to keep updating the content to keep it fresh and interesting. Have a way for people to communicate with yourself and others who are into the same things. E.G. Forums, message boards and comments. The aim is to catch the ‘viewer’s’ interest.

A lot of sites just look like giant advertisements and you have to search for the needle in the haystack to find out what the actual site is for. I know advertising is a way of making money, but if you want your site to have an authentic, respectable atmosphere that exudes a feeling of integrity, you better be careful. People are becoming wary of this consumer driven, mindless attack at the average civilian’s wallet. Some people will automatically leave a site if a bunch of commercials pop-up on the screen. Pop-ups, don’t even make me go there…

Posted in Web

How to Assure Quality in Your Website to Boost Traffic

Quality may be defined as the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service which bear on its ability to satisfy a given need. The main technique for achieving quality is the website review or walk-through with the aim to inspect the loopholes which affect the overall functioning of the website and in turn may distract the users and hence negatively influence the traffic.

So, it becomes immensely significant that the website is developed in such a way that it is not only able to achieve the business objectives, but also attain traction of the users and hence convert them into potential customers thereby maximizing the return on investment.

The design process converts the ”what” of the requirements to the ”how” of the design. The results of the design phase should be a document that has sufficient detail to allow the system to be implemented without further interaction with the webmaster.

A formal inspection is a formal, scheduled process where a web designer presents material about a design and a selected group of peers evaluates the technical aspects of the design. Some of the distinct features of such a review include but are not restricted to the use of knowledgeable peers, inclusion of the peer who produced the design, inspection of a completed product with the purpose to find defects etc.

During the inspection, the website owner selects the team, oversees the inspection, and reports the results. A PHP developer or a web designer (whichever part of the project is being scrutinized) guides the team through the website during the inspection meeting. A recorder maintains the records of the inspection and accurately reports each defect while the individual who originally developed the website, i.e., the PHP developer answers questions during the inspection. The developer is also responsible for correcting any problems identified in the inspection. He or she then reports the corrections to the website owner.

A website’s inspection is initiated when the PHP developer responsible for the development of the website satisfies the entrance criteria. The developer acquaints the rest of the inspection team with the product to be inspected. The members of the inspection team review the website in accordance with a predefined checklist while a moderator supervises the inspection meeting. The recorder makes a complete record of issues raised. Any team member may produce a minority report if there is a disagreement. The issues highlighted in the report are reviewed and rectified by the PHP developer. Finally, the website owner or the webmaster reviews the website and will give the go ahead signal. If not satisfied, the webmaster will order yet another re-inspection.

As mentioned above, with the advancements in the modern technology, it has become extremely tough for businesses to thrive in this competitive environment without being ahead of the curve. So, utmost care has to be undertaken with your responsive website so that you do not lose even a single person out of your potential clientele. Your website has to be able to satisfy the needs of the users and gain their attraction. Even a small weakness can prove to be fatal!

Are Mobile Website and Responsive Web Design Two Different Things

Building a responsive website is critical

Now is the era of mobile devices such as the iPad, Galaxy Tab and Macbook Air, etc. All of such devices are available in the market in many different screen sizes. This has compelled the companies to adjust their own websites to be workable on the mobile devices of different screen sizes, and it matters a lot when it comes to responsive website development. Be it booking a cinema ticket, ordering lunch or buying your favorite pair of shoes, everything you do is on your mobile. If one site doesn’t work properly on someone’s mobile, there are hundred others selling the same stuff where they can switch. This is why, going mobile is essential if you want your brand to survive.

What to know more?

A responsive website comprises of the same links and pages, but it changes to fit your mobile screen and that is more amazing. In order to make it happen, the developers of a website mostly employ two very different sorts of web design, it can be either a separate mobile website or a sophisticated responsive web design. Although both of them are meant to serve the same purpose, there are very big differences among these two.

· Mobile Website

A mobile website is mostly easier to build and it does not require too much work, and that is why website developers can easily make it for mobile devices in days of launching their big-sized website. Most of the times, a mobile website may cost cheaper as it does not require much effort to build it. All of us have experienced a mobile website and often times it does not have the most organized pages to work with. It is because mostly mobile websites do not fit on many different screen sizes. For instance, if you load a page on your smartphone and then look at your iPad, you may notice that the page fits on the screen of the smartphone, but not on the tablet.

· Responsive Web Design

Responsive website development is costlier as compared to getting a separate mobile site because of the skill effort that this needs. But this investment pays off in the long run. Responsive web design works well on all screen sizes. A responsive web design makes you able to choose the locations of specific buttons and makes developer know how they will like their website to adjust to the screens of all the devices.

Conclusion

Before finalizing which one of them will be your first choice, you should make up your mind that how much you can invest in building a website and if you go for a responsive website development then you have to be ready to invest a generous amount, but it will surely pay off better both in short run and long run.

The Changes That You Should See From Your Website Designers

Technology is always improving and advancing. As a result, it is necessary for web designers to stay on top of the trends that are the most current. The maturing of websites is something that is never going to stop and that is why it is essential for continuing knowledge and education for all those that take part in these types of online workings.

Some of the trends that occur are evergreen. Once something new happens, it is a change that is going to become permanent in the creation of web design. The website designers will carry out the new trend in all of their future creations to make sure that every company has the ability to take advantage of what these changes can do for their business.

One of the ideas that has become popular for website designers to use in the storytelling method of displaying content for business owners. The human race is going to stay more captivated and engaged in a web page if it tells them a story. This form of content presentation activates different parts of the brain than what reading simple facts and data do.

Another change that has taken place is the idea of less being more. In earlier years, in terms of search engine optimization or SEO, it was common for website designers and content creators to keyword stuff their creations. This was when there were popular keywords that the business wanted to get across that were placed as many times as possible within the reading to bring it up on a web search.

However, that is one that has been replaced. It is now more common to use the keyword fewer times as long as and only when it makes sense in the writing. Keyword stuffing of the past led to content that was hard to read and even more difficult to update. When discussing the content of your webpage, make sure that your website designer is aware of this newer way to increase your rating in search engines.

Patterns have become more popular in the recent years and many website designers are after the same ones. The only problem with this is that all websites start to look the same. When your website looks the same as all the others, it makes it difficult for you to stand out among the competition. Web designers are now trying to come up with new ideas to give their customers something that is unique.

Card layouts are commonly used by web design teams as well. This form of organizing information on a webpage makes it easy for readers to scan through the provided information to get the message that they came for. It also makes it more simple for businesses to get their most important communications across to customers rapidly.

The smaller blocks of content can easily be manipulated and rearranged by website designers making it an ideal option for keeping webpages relevant and responsive. The only way to make certain that a business page is effective is by continually adding new information and taking off what no longer works. With this type of layout, the changes can be made quickly.

Another common update seen in website development is the hidden menu. This requires users to hover over a section of the page to see what the other web pages of the site have to offer. Although it can be difficult for some to first figure out, with its increasing popularity, it can be expected to be seen more and more. This type of alteration allows for more space on the webpage and it gives it a cleaner look.