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By: Nigel Lew

Building a useable website can seem daunting. Here is a quick guideline to help you on your way.

1.Itís all about your content

To get your website listed appropriately the content of your website needs to be nested between the tags. This way it gets read by the search engines. Your content also needs to be unique and get your point across.What is it about your product or service that is better and different from your competitions. This is called your usp or unique selling proposition and should be conveyed clearly and immediately upon hitting the page.

2.Make effective use of your title and description tags

These are your two most important tags when it comes to referencing your page content. Meta keywords rarely have any impact what so ever on your pages listings.

3.Make sure content is well formatted

It is very important to break up your content with italics, bold text, bulleted lists, etc. Well formatted content makes your pages more accessible to visitors but the search engines also. Visitors scan across your page rather than read it so it makes sense to format your page so it can be browsed yet still convey your message.

4.Proper code

Having proper progamming in place is quite simply a must. Web standards have changed substantially over the years and it is important to make sure your pages validate both html and css. Think of it this way. How effective could you get your point across if you were talking swahili. Your code is no different. Why make it difficult for the search bots to index your content.

5.Do not use Front Page, Dreamweaver, or any other WYSIWYG editor.

While accurate, MS Front Page, for example, makes it easy for just about anyone to throw up a web page it doesnít take W3C compliancy into account Hence the code it outputs is an absolute train wreck. This is terminal for your website as you need a strong code base (foundation) or your site will never stand up to the competitions.

6.Donít design in Flash

Seemingly technical in nature or ďneatĒ perhaps flash animation only serves to distract visitors from what they came to your site for in the first place, your product or service. Your services are what visitors are interested in not a blinking, noisy, website. Flash also creates major problems with getting it properly indexed. There is no way for the search engines to extract content from your website as it is all contained with in the swf. If you absolutely must have a flash page it is imparitive to offer an html version as well.

7.Easy on the eyes

Graphical elements play a huge role in a website design as well. You need to make sure you donít have any extreme contrasts between colors and that you donít use really bright colors as they are quite hard on the eyes. Your logo or brand should be clearly displayed on the home page and in more than one place.

8.Instill a sense of well being with ease of use

Make sure you have all legal documents in place such as privacy and return policies. It is also important to have all of your contact information pricing etc. displayed in a manner that conveys legitimacy. It should be very easy to contact you for any questions your visitors may have.

9.Include an opt-in newsletter

A great way to generate return customers is to offer an opt-in newsletter. This allows for direct marketing to people who you know are already interested in your product or service. What better way is there to keep customers abreast of new products or changes in the services you offer.

10.Use a trademark or tag line

In our case we trademarked the manipulated at symbol with the phrase bringing e-solutions to you, thereby effectively increasing the strength of our brand. We are now able to effectively convey who we are but give a good creative idea as to what we do.

About The Author

Nigel is the Owner and E-Commerce Project Manager of Ultimatech Computer Consultancy located in Aspen Colorado. You may re-print this article by leaving my name in tact." target=new>">

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