Effective Small Business Web Sites On a BudgetBy: Kevin Nunley
As more and more of the world's business starts taking place online, we're left to wonder how our own web pages will stand up and out in the jumble of everybody else's.
Small businesses don't always have the option to buy expensive graphics or to hire a great web designer. Or even if they do, they have to take into account whether their potential customer's browser will support a high tech page. On the other hand, we all want our web site to look as great as our competitors. So what do you do? Here are a few tips to help you decide which type of site is best for you.
As browsers get more sophisticated and modems download faster, web sites are getting fancier. My old advice about put a logo at the top of your web page and keep the rest "text" is looking out-dated.
On the other hand, many of your web site visitors have slow phone lines with no improvement in the near future. With web design expectations higher but lines still slow, it puts many of us between a rock and a hard place.
Some ways to jazz up the look of your pages without making them slow loading:
Now it looks like a lot of sites have gone the other direction. In an effort to maximize sales, they put dense copy about all their offers on the opening page of their site. Did we over do it?
The latest thinking among advertising experts is a page filled with lots and lots of copy is jarring. People click to the page and think "Gee! I don't have time to read all this."
It's often better to trim your opening page offers down to just your most essential elements. Plenty of white space is good. Rather than having a batch of graphics on the opening page, you might focus on one larger more powerful graphic that unifies the page.
Some big corporate sites are moving to this philosophy of "less is more." See Apple.com for an almost extreme example.
Bottom line is customers are pressed for time. Many are surfing the Net while on their lunch break or between office chores. If they can't figure out your offer quickly, they may click elsewhere.
Web site frames have always been controversial. In the beginning, this method of splitting a web page into two or three smaller pages didn't work on older browsers.
Later someone pointed out search engines have a hard time reading pages with frames. Web designers who really want to get listed high on search engines avoid frames.
Still, there are times when frames would be a good choice for a web site:
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