Dos and Donts in Web Design - part 2 (content)

Do know your audience

It's important to know your audience. If you write for a site that sells toys you'll use other words, colors, images etc. compared to a site for online banking. Write and design with your visitors in mind. Don't get tempted to write for yourself.

Don't use meaningless words

Do you have a cool site with hot subjects? Or a hot site with cool subjects? On some hype-sensitive sites these kind of words might be useful but on most sites you'd better refrain from meaningless words.

Do write about the subject

Write about the subject. Saying: This page is about breeding goldfish talks about the page. Instead, start right away with the subject. Breeding goldfish is a popular hobby....

Don't use jargon

Avoid jargon. That goes for Internet jargon but also for jargon for any other subject. Only if your site is focused on a selective group of specialists jargon might make sense.

Do use short sentences

Use short sentences. The World Wide Web is fast. Your visitors want to get your info in a snap. So read and reread your text. Then cut out as many unnecessary words as possible.

Don't write technical

Don't write technical. Your visitors don't care how you created your site and that you prefer Perl over TCL/TK (or the other way around). Instead write about your subject.

Do use correct spelling

OK, this one will turn against me.... Use correct English or whatever language your site is written in. As a standard routine use a spelling checker but don't rely completely on it. Human proof reading is necessary. This can be difficult - especially if you're not native speaking English.

Don't show any page under construction

Don't publish a page that's under construction. People will hate you if you do. If the page isn't finished, it's not ready to be published. In a sense most pages are always under construction because they are updated (more or less) frequently.

Do use the first screen

Be sure to put important text on the first part of your page, the part that will show up first on a screen.

Do present the issues right away

Your visitor wants to know immediately what she/he can find on your site. Keep that in mind when designing your site. Present the important issue(s) of your site on the first page.

Do use a descriptive title

The text for the tag TITLE should be descriptive. The title shows up in the results of search engines. A descriptive title makes clear what people can expect on your site. The title is also shown in the history list of browsers.

Do use small pages

The World Wide Web is not a book. People don't read it sequentially. They want to select a small piece of info and decide what info they want to read next. So you should provide small pages. Cut long pages in pieces and connect them through hyperlinks.

Do use implicit text for your links

Phrases like Click here or Check this link distract from the content and are to be avoided. Try to write your text in such a way that a link is a natural part of the sentence. Instead of writing: Ezine Article Submission - Submit Your Best Articles For Massive Exposure, Ezine Publishers Get 25 Free Article Reprints Click here to visit it; try to write something like: Ezine Article Submission - Submit Your Best Articles For Massive Exposure, Ezine Publishers Get 25 Free Article Reprints

Do update your pages

Be sure to check your pages on a regular base and to update them if necessary.

Do show date of update

You update your pages on a regular basis. Don't you? Make clear to your visitors how recent or (out-)dated your information is. Provide the date of the last update. And don't forget to change the date if you change a page...

Do ask for feedback

You can learn from your visitors. Ask for their feedback and give them an e-mail address to reach you.

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