The basics of creating CSS layouts

Posted by on Dec 2, 2010 in Website Development | 1 comment

Most graphic designers will tell you that anybody can use Dreamweaver. Although this is true, you can’t always just download the program and expect to know how to start using it. If you’re an experienced graphic designer that hasn’t built a site in Dreamweaver before (or you have no website design experience and want to get the hang of it), your first point of departure is creating CSS layouts – also known as Div-based layouts. CSS layouts help you create a website with a creative layout without using inhibiting tables. So, after you’ve opened Dreamweaver, defined the site and saved the pages, this is what to do to start creating CSS layouts: Create CSS layouts Step 1: Turn the Insert bar on (if you don’t have the Insert bar turned on, go to the Window menu at the top of the page and look for insert – this is the first command in the drop-down menu).  Inside the insert bar, go to the Layout tab and click on the second icon in the bottom row called “Draw AP Div”. Once you’ve clicked on this button, you will be able to draw a box in your screen. Click anywhere in the screen and draw a box – this box is called a Div (if you have used Dreamweaver before, this can be confusing because these Div’s used to be called “layers” in previous versions of Dreamweaver). Step 2: To change the size of placement of the Divs, click on the box and drag. These Div’s can hold any type of content such as text, video, images, another Div and tables. If you come from a print background, Div’s may remind you of image boxes when designing in InDesign or Quark. For the first exercise, draw three Div’s (boxes) in the page – you can do this by going back to the “Draw AP Div” button on the insert bar. You will need three Div’s for this exercise because we are going to be making a header, content and footer layout. When you are done, close the Insert bar at the top of the page. Step 3: Click on the first Div so that it becomes highlighted, then go down to the property inspector at the bottom left hand side of the page and give the Div a different name than “AP div 1” (rename it to Header for this exercise). Grab second Div and rename it to Content and then the last Div and call it Footer. You can drag these Div’s around on the page to determine positioning, but it’s much more accurate to use fixed values for your CSS layouts. These are the basics of creating a CSS...

read more

Unambiguous website navigation

Posted by on Nov 17, 2010 in Website Development |

The navigation of a website is one of the most important elements. Website navigation needs to help users find the information, products or services they need on a site quickly and efficiently. We’ve all seen some websites where creative navigation was used, but one could argue that a home page which consists of one big picture isn’t the easiest way for a website user to understand the navigation and find the content he or she was looking for. Getting caught up in unique designs may create something different for the client, but it is important to remember that their clients (the website users) are probably on the website to quickly get the information they need, so it may not be wise sending them on a roundabout to access the various pages they want to look at. Here are some ways to test if your navigation efforts are really working: Test it out Get somebody who is unfamiliar with the company to use the website. Ask the office accountant to try to buy a product from the website or to find out if the company offers a specific service you need. If you see the person gazing around the home page, unsure of where to click next, it’s a sign that your website navigation might be too complex for the average user. Although some designers dislike underlining text links in the body content, you may be surprised to find out how few website users will click on words if they are not underlined (they simply don’t realise that it’s a hyperlink!). These design techniques may seem old-fashioned, but they are consistently used, leading them to become important visual cues for website visitors. Once you have somebody on a sub-page in the website, ask them to get back to the home page. Many website users will scroll down to the bottom of the page they are on, expecting to find the main navigation buttons (such as About Us, Contact Us and Home Page) as a text link on the bottom of the page. Make sure you’ve got these hyperlinks at the bottom and that the main navigation menu is always on the top part of the page. Please follow and like...

read more

Website Usability Can Improve Your Conversion Rates

Posted by on Apr 29, 2010 in Website Development | 1 comment

Keeping your website simple is the most important factor for usability.  Be sure to make everything about your website understandable and clear.  Visitors should easily be able to access all the information that is important on your website. Website navigation links should be clearly visible and easily understood.  Your page layouts should also be simple and they must be easily scan-able.  In simpler terms, your website should be organized in a logical flow.  Users should be able to find all the information/answers quickly to what they are looking for. By following these accepted website standards, your visitors can immediately find their way around your website.  Website users have learned to mistrust online business.  By following these conventions for your website, you are building trust, credibility and it means that you are serious about your online business. By making your website more usable, you can increase conversion rates as you are delivering the right information at the right time.  When you are selling a product on your website, give your users access to all the elements that they need to make the final decision to buy.  Give your users the tools that they need to research the product without having to leave the product page.  Let your visitors be in control and access the answers to the questions they may have. What you include on your website pages will vary to what you are selling and who your visitor is.  These are typical things your visitor may want to see while on the product page. Details and technical data about the product. Shipping options and charges based on their zip code. Refund, privacy and security policies. User product reviews and ratings. Website usability goes beyond the visual items and site hierarchy.  It is all about giving the right information at the right time.  Never be afraid to tell your visitors what they should do next on the page.  It should always be the main focus point.  Let the visitor of your website feel in control.  Give them all the information that they are interested in. Please follow and like...

read more

Why any local business needs a website

Posted by on Mar 12, 2010 in Website Development | 1 comment

A website is the building blocks for establishing your online reputation. In today’s world, many people will browse to your website for more information regarding your company before doing any business with you. More and more people are browsing the internet at work and even at home. If you are a local hardware shop, why do you need a website? You don’t want somebody across the country contacting you to purchase and deliver a screwdriver to them. As a internet marketing company, we often hear comments like this from small business owners. The most important reason why you should have a website is that more people are using the Internet than the Yellow pages. People are looking for information online and searches the internet for what they want. Why not make it easy for them to learn about your business and services? Newspapers are quickly losing their ground to the internet as the primary source for local and international shopping information. The internet is now the most widely used media in the world. Find a couple of tips on websites for small businesses below. You can build credibility with your website. In today’s online driven world, all businesses should have a website. Your customers also expects it. With your website you can be found in local searches by using the cities that you serve and the products you provide in the text of your website. It is the text on your website that is important to the search engines. It will be easier for your customers to find you. With a website you are making this task easier for them. Include your telephone number and your address on your website. If you have products, include a description and the advantages of them on your website. Include the hours that you are open. Someone might be looking at your website at 3 AM and wants to know when they can come in. Don’t let them wait. Display it on your website. Include an about us page on your website. People want to know about you and your history. Include a coupon of interest on your website about a special you might be running. Let your customers print out the coupon. This way you will know when they came from the website. Please follow and like...

read more

Build trust with your website

Posted by on Feb 9, 2010 in Website Development |

Most web surfers today is very sceptical. To make your website trustworthy and to build credibility, it is absolutely vital to take your website seriously as the web is an impersonal medium. If your website does not appear professional or credible, potential buyers will leave in seconds. There’s millions of websites. What will make users stay on your website? Your website is the building blocks for establishing yourself online. Most of the time, people will be looking at your online profile before conducting any business with you. This is human nature. People want to know who they are dealing with. Why not present them with a solution to problems they might be having? Find below a couple of tips to build trust with your website Clean Design Start your website with a clean design. A clean website design with useful information will make your visitors interested. Always avoid confusing your visitors. The navigation, design and information should be clear and to the point. Understand what your visitors are looking for and help them to accomplish their goals. Professional Development If you have a big website with allot of functionality, keep the website development professional. Always guide your visitors on logical steps on what to do next. Make sure everything works 100%. Quality Content Always keep your content unique and informative. The images and the words you use will the reflect the quality that you provide. The key is to show what great value your service or product is. Assure your clients Always assure your clients that your company is trustworthy. You can do this by including a privacy policy, guarantee or a return policy on your website. Join trusted organizations and place their logos on your website. You can also clearly show your address and phone number. Testimonials People will trust what other people are saying about you and your services. Positive customers that are specific are the most powerful. Include some of these testimonials on your website to increase your credibility. A website is a powerful business tool if utilized correctly. It is your image on the web. Leave a comment below if you want more information on how to build trust with your website. Please follow and like...

read more

Reasons why some websites fail

Posted by on Feb 5, 2010 in Website Development |

Reports in the past has shown that 80-90% of all new business websites and blogs will fail to yield successful results. What is even more frightening is that most of these websites could succeed if planned and executed correctly. Why do these new websites fail? What goes wrong? Find below a couple of reasons some new websites fail. Design over strategy Companies often spend most of their time planning how their website design will look. They don’t have a clue who their targeted audience will be or planned their messaging or a “call to action”. A good website design always starts with a strategy. Focus first on creating your stream of leads, online sales or quotation requests. No Traffic plan To think that you can only build your website and then visitors will flock to it is not true. It doesn’t work for business websites. Decide and plan your traffic sources such as organic searches, referral traffic or pay per click before you start with the design of your site. Organic Search Engine Optimization is much more effective when designed into a website from the start. It’s really not about you Usually the websites that brags about how great you are will quickly turn off visitors. People are searching for solutions to their problems. By boasting your achievements won’t solve your visitors problems. Don’t tell them about your new car, rather how to fix theirs. Organize your website so that the answers are easily found. Avoid industry jargon and use plain english. Flashy graphics Most Flash only websites looks cool but they are usually slow loading and search engines can’t index their content. It is ok to use Flash elements in your website for videos, banners, etc mixed with text content. Keep your website simple and focus on solving a problem for your visitor. After all “content is king”. Low cost design Don’t hire your best friend to design and develop your business website. They might receive some great experience from it but you can sacrifice your business image and the ability to drive targeted traffic to your website. Hire a professional development firm that is experienced in both development and design and website traffic strategies. Your website is a powerful business tool if utilized correctly. Don’t let your website fail. Please follow and like...

read more