Let us assume that, just like everyone else, you are building a website–after all, the Web is where it is all happening now. As soon as your website goes live–and especially while you are still in the design and development phase–you need to make sure your site’s content will be found through search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing where many people go to look for information.
Whether you’re starting a blog or deploying an e-commerce solution for your clients, it’s a good idea to keep in mind some good web development practices that will enhance your chances in search rankings.
1. Use Flash Wisely
Don’t call me patronising–it goes without saying–but try not to use Flash when HTML/CSS should be used. Flash has its place on the Web: it’s great for interactive components such as sophisticated learning activity games with audio and video, and 3D animation. It’s better served as components of an HTML/CSS site than as the technology that powers the entire site. For example, check out Kongregate, a popular social Flash gaming site. Although Flash is their bread and butter, they still use HTML, CSS, and server-side scripting to power their site functionalities.
3. Name Your Image File Names Accurately
It is easy to forget how important images can be for SEO and web design alike. Name the actual file correctly by giving it a key term (e.g.
yellow-banana.jpg and not some random name like
img2gtc92.jpg) because this gives your site assets extra context. Make sure that you give the alt property of the image similar key terms and a decent and succinct description–aim to keep it 10 words or fewer.
In addition, Google Images is another way to get traffic to your site, and if you name your image files well and give them excellent context through their alt property, you will improve your chances of showing up in Google Images results.
4. Don’t Drown Your Home Page with Links
Internal linking–hyperlinks that point to other web pages on your site–is important, so try not to have more than 150 links from page to page so that you don’t dilute your web pages’ rank.
Too many internal links can overcrowd the page and can also slow down your users’ ability to find the link they need.
5. Don’t Use Redundant Links
Some may think that increasing the value of a particular page involves repeatedly linking to the same page from another page. Search engines will only count the first instance of that link, so there is no need to repeat links. In addition, this is a poor practice that will confuse your users.
6. Deep Linking Can Improve Conversions
Deep linking are links that point to internal pages instead of the main/home page. It is a fantastic way for you to send power to pages deeper in your site outside of your home page. Deep linking also promotes the exploration of your site by visitors, providing additional points of conversions.
7. Have a Blog
Blogs are a great way to keep building fresh content on your site and targeting long-tailed key terms. A possible idea is to bring snippets of blog posts onto related pages for fresh content on these specific pages.
8. Make Your Brand Obvious
Make sure that your branding is very clear and that your brand name is obvious on your website. This makes for an easy way for people to remember who you are and augments the possibility of people searching for your brand name on search engines. Being searched by your brand’s name also means that you won’t compete with generic words that people often use in searches (i.e. “budwieser” versus “american beer”).
9. Use an XML Sitemap
An XML Sitemap is a protocol that aids search engine crawlers gain contextual meaning about your site’s web page.
If you’re using a content management system, see if it has an XML Sitemap extension (or built-in feature) that will automatically generate the XML file for you. If not, you can use a tool like XML Sitemaps Generator.
10. Use Anchor Text Accurately for Deeper Pages
When linking through to your deeper pages, use your anchor text as precise and short pieces of information. It is important to use keywords that search engine bots can relate exactly to your page. For example, if you’re linking to a web page about Maldives holidays, your link should be
<a href="/maldives-holidays.html">Maldives holidays</a>. This way people, as well as web robots, easily know what they are going to get.
Jul 17 2010 by Mark Cronin
Want to ensure that visitors will exit your website almost immediately after landing there? Be sure to make it difficult for them to find what it is they are looking for. Want to get people to stay on your website longer and click on or buy stuff? Follow these 13 Web design tips.
1. Have a polished, professional logo–and link it to your home page. “Your logo is an important part of your brand, so make sure it’s located prominently on your site,” says Tiffany Monhollon, senior content marketing manager at online marketer ReachLocal. “Use a high-resolution image and feature it in the upper left corner of each of your pages,” she advises. “Also, it’s a good rule of thumb to link your logo back to your home page so that visitors can easily navigate to it.”
2.Use intuitive navigation. “Primary navigation options are typically deployed in a horizontal [menu] bar along the top of the site,” says Brian Gatti, a partner with Inspire Business Concepts, a digital marketing company. Provide “secondary navigation options underneath the primary navigation bar, or in the [left-hand] margin of the site, known as the sidebar.”
Why is intuitive navigation so important? “Confusing navigation layouts will result in people quitting a page rather than trying to figure it out,” Gatti says. So instead of putting links to less important pages–that detract from your call to action or primary information–at the top of your home or landing pages, put “less important links or pieces of information at the bottom of a page in the footer.”
3. Get rid of clutter. “It’s very easy these days to be visually overloaded with images, to the point where our brains stop processing information when confronted with too many options,” explains Paolo Vidali, senior digital marketing strategist, DragonSearch, a digital marketing agency.
To keep visitors on your site, “make sure pages do not have competing calls to action or visual clutter [e.g., lots of graphics, photographs or animated gifs] that would draw the visitor’s eyes away from the most important part of the page.” To further keep clutter down on landing pages, “consider limiting the links and options in the header and footer to narrow the focus even further,” he says.
Another tip to streamlining pages: “Keep paragraphs short,” says Ian Lurie, CEO of internet marketing company Portent, Inc. “On most Web sites, a single paragraph should be no more than five to six lines.”
4. Give visitors breathing room. “Create enough space between your paragraphs and images so the viewer has space to breathe and is more able to absorb all of the features your site and business have to offer,” says Hannah Spencer, graphic designer, Coalition Technologies, a Web design and online marketing agency.
“Controlling white space through layout will keep users focused on the content and control user flow,” adds Paul Novoa, founder and CEO at Novoa Media. “With a lot of visual competition taking place on the Web and on mobile, less is more. Controlling white space will improve user experience, increasing returns from the website.”
5. Use color strategically. Using “a mostly neutral color palette can help your site project an elegant, clean and modern appearance,” says Mark Hoben, the head of Web design at Egencia, the business travel division of the Expedia group, who is also a believer in using color wisely. “Employing small dashes of color–for headlines or key graphics–helps guide visitors to your most important content,” he explains.
It is also important to use a color palette that complements your logo and is consistent with your other marketing materials.
6. Invest in good, professional photography. “Website visitors can sniff out generic photos in a second–and they’ll be left with a generic impression of your company,” warns Zane Schwarzlose, community relations director, Fahrenheit Marketing. “Your company isn’t generic. So show your visitors that by investing in professional photography.”
“We strongly recommend that our clients invest in professional photography or purchase professional stock photos,” says Gatti. Good photographs “draw the eye, providing an emotional connection to the written content.” Poor quality photographs or photographs that have nothing to do with your message, on the other hand, are worse than having no photographs.
Bonus photography tip: “If you want to draw attention to a particular piece of content or a signup button, include a photo of a person looking at the content,” suggests Elie Khoury, cofounder and CEO of Woopra, which provides real-time customer and visitor analytics. “We are immediately drawn to faces of other humans–and when we see that face looking’ at something, our eyes are instinctively drawn there as well.”
7. Choose fonts that are easy to read across devices and browsers. When choosing fonts, keep in mind that people will be looking at your website not just on a laptop but on mobile devices. “Some large-scaled fonts may read well on [a computer monitor], but not scale or render well on mobile, losing the desired look and feel,” explains Novoa. So he advises using a universal font.
“Pick a typeface that can be easily read and size it no less than 11pt,” says Ethan Giffin, CEO, Groove Commerce. “If you’re using Web fonts, try to use no more than two font families in order to ensure fast load times,” he says.
“If you’re using a fixed-width design, use a font size that allows a maximum of 15 to 20 words per line,” adds Lurie. “If you’re using a fluid design, use a font size that allows 15 to 20 words per line at 900 to 1000 pixels wide.”
8. Design every page as a landing page. “Most websites have a design that assumes a user enters through the home page and navigates into the site,” says Michael Freeman, senior manager, Search & Analytics, ShoreTel, Inc., which provides hosted VoIP, cloud PBX service and business phone systems. “The reality, though, is that the majority of visits for most sites begin on a page that is not the home page,” he says. Therefore, you need to design the site in such a way that whatever page a visitor lands on, key information is there.
9. Respect the fold. When asked for their top design tips, almost all the Web designers CIO.com queried immediately said: Put your call to action in the upper portion of your website, along with your phone number and/or email address (if you want customers to call or email you). Regarding home page images, “I recommend going against full-width sliders and encourage sliders or set images that cover two-thirds of the width allowing for a contact form to be above the fold,” says Aaron Watters, director, Leadhub, a website design and SEO company.
10. Use responsive design–that automatically adapts to how the site is being viewed. “Rather than developing a site for each device, a responsive site is designed to adapt to the browser size,” making for a better user experience, says Jayme Pretzloff, online marketing director, Wixon Jewelers. And a better user experience typically translates into more time spent on your site and higher conversion rates.
11. Forget Flash. “Thanks in part to the ongoing dispute between Adobe and Apple, the days of Flash as an Internet standard are slowly coming to a close, so why stay on the bandwagon when there are other options that are much more Web and user friendly?” asks Darrell Benatar, CEO of UserTesting.com. Instead, use HTML5, he says. “HTML5 is gaining more support on the Web, with search-engine friendly text and the ability to function on many of the popular mobile operating systems without requiring a plug-in. The same can’t be said for Flash.”
12. Don’t forget about buttons “The ‘Submit’ or ‘Send’ button at the bottom of a Web form can be the ugliest part of a website,” says Watters. So he encourages designers to make form submission buttons “so appealing visitors can’t help themselves. They just have to click it.” In addition, “when a visitor hovers over your submit button, it should change color, gradient, opacity or font treatment,” he says.
13. Test your design. “Whether you are trying different placements for a call to action or even testing different shades of a color, website optimization can make a big impact to your bottom line,” states Lindsey Marshall, production director, Red Clay Interactive, an Atlanta-based interactive marketing agency. “A user experience manager at Bing once remarked that Microsoft generated an additional $80 million in annual revenue just by testing and implementing a specific shade of blue!”
“Every design decision is just a hypothesis,” adds Mike Johnson, director of User Experience at The Nerdery, an interactive production company. “User testing, A/B testing and simple analytics can help you continuously improve your designs [by providing] feedback from real people.”
Article written By Jennifer Lonoff Schiff
A meeting is an appointment to which you invite people or reserve resources for. You can create and send meeting requests and reserve resources for face-to-face meetings or for online meetings. When you create a meeting, you identify the people to invite and the resources to reserve, and you pick a meeting time. Responses to your meeting request appear in your Inbox. You can also add people to an existing meeting or reschedule a meeting.
- Schedule an in-person meeting
- Change a meeting
- Make a meeting recurring
- Make a meeting private
- Set up or remove a reminder
Schedule an in-person meeting
1. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Meeting Request.
2. Keyboard shortcut To create a new meeting request, press CTRL+SHIFT+Q.
3. In the Subject box, type a description.
4. In the Location box, type a description or click Rooms to choose from rooms available for automatic scheduling by using Microsoft Exchange.
5. In the Start time and End time lists, select the start and end time for the meeting. If this is an all day event, select the All day event check box. An all day event is a full 24 hour event lasting from midnight to midnight.
Note: By default, the current time zone setting on your computer system is used to schedule meetings. If you want to schedule meetings based upon an alternate time zone, on the Meeting tab, in the Options group, click Time Zones.
6. Type any information that you want to share with the recipients, attach any files, or create a Meeting Workspace.
For more information about Meeting Workspaces, see the See Also section.
7. On the Meeting tab, in the Show group, click Scheduling Assistant.
The Scheduling Assistant helps to find the best time for your meeting.
8. Click Add Others, and then click Add from Address Book.
9. In the Select Attendees and Resources dialog box, in the Search box, enter the name of a person or resource that you want to invite to the meeting. If you are searching with the More Columns option, then click Go.
10. Select the name from the results list, and click Required, Optional, or Resources, and then click OK.
Required and Optional attendees appear in the To box on the Meeting tab, and Resources appear in the Location box.
The free/busy grid shows the availability of attendees. A green vertical line represents the start of the meeting. A red vertical line represents the end of the meeting.
The Suggested Times pane locates the best time for your meeting, which is defined as the time when most attendees are available. The best meeting time appears at the top of the pane. To select any of the suggested times, click the time suggestion in the Suggested Times pane. You can also manually pick a time on the free/busy grid.
11. If you want to make the meeting recur, on the Meeting tab, in the Options group, click Recurrence, select the recurrence pattern, and then click OK.
When you add a recurrence pattern to a meeting request, the Meeting tab changes to Recurring Meeting.
12. On the Meeting tab, in the Show group, click Appointment.
13. Click Send.
Change a meeting
1. Open the meeting that you want to change.
2. Do one of the following:
– Change options for a meeting that is not part of a series
a. Change the options, such as subject, location, and time, that you want to change.
b. Click Send Update.
– Change options for all meetings in a series
3. Change any options, such as subject, location, and time, that you want to change.
4. To change recurrence options, on the Recurring Meeting tab, in the Options group, click Recurrence, change the options, such as time, recurrence pattern, or range of recurrence, and then click OK.
5. Click Send Update.
6. Click Open the series.
Change options for one meeting that is part of a series
1. Click Open this occurrence.
2. On the Recurring Meeting tab, change the options, such as subject, location, and time, that you want.
3. Click Send Update.
Make a meeting recurring
1. Open the meeting that you want to make recurring.
2. On the Meeting tab, in the Options group, click Recurrence.
3. Click the frequency—Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Yearly—with which you want the meeting to recur, and then select options for the frequency, and then click OK.
4. Click Send Update.
Make a meeting private
1. Create or open the meeting that you want to make private.
2. On the Meeting tab, in the Options group, click Options, and then click Private.
Set up or remove a reminder
Do one of the following:
For all new meetings that you will create
1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
2. To have a reminder automatically turned on or off for new meetings, select or clear the Default reminder check box.
3. If you selected the check box, enter the amount of time before the meeting that you want the reminder to appear.
For existing meetings
1. Open the meeting or series if the meeting is recurring.
2. To have a reminder turned on or off, on the Meeting tab, in the Options group, select None or a listed reminder time.