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Web Design Master Series Article

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Syndicated articles are written by independent authors and the contents represent the author's views. The content of the article does not necessarily represent the views of Company Web staff and management.


Master Series

Spring Cleaning Your Web Site

By William Bontrager

When a web site hasn't changed in a long time, it can appear neglected, even "dusty."

All web sites need an occasional review from the webmaster.

Things to do:

1. Look closely at your content:

  • Remove or update outdated information. Add new content.
  • Could you use surveys, quizes, or polls effectively to engage your visitors and also learn about their needs?
  • Could you save time or give better customer service by automating tasks?
  • Autoresponders are wonderful automatic information delivery tools. They deliver courses, attachments, virtually anything that can be delivered electronically can be delivered with an autoresponder. See "Selecting Autoresponder Software."

2. Can you make things easier for your site visitors?

  • Site search might help.
  • Make it easy to recommend your site to friends while the visitor is at your site. Not only is it a courtesy to your visitor, it also eliminates likelihood that the visitor will never otherwise make the recommendation.
  • Provide a feedback form. Some notes you'll receive, even if anonymous, can provide insight into how to improve your web site. The webmaster and site designer are often the last to notice where improvements can be made. They're too close to the creative end of things.

3. Spell check all pages. This can be done with independent spell checking programs right from each web page as displayed in your browser.

These are the ones we use:

For Macintosh, Excalibur checks the spelling of anything on the clipboard. It can be found at http://willmaster.com/a/24h/pl.pl?urltwo

For Windows, APSC can check the spelling of text in just about any doc or text window. It can be found at http://willmaster.com/a/24h/pl.pl?urlthree

4. Check all links.

Xenu's Link Sleuth is the one we use. It's for windows, found at http://willmaster.com/a/24h/pl.pl?urlfour Never mind the weird drawings on the page, the software works great.

We're not using a links checker on the Macintosh. However, found at http://willmaster.com/a/24h/pl.pl?urlfive lists several that are available.

5. Provide a consistent and predictable navigation system with good visual cues. Try to get some outside opinions on how easy (or confusing) it is to find things.

6. If yours is an e-commerce site, have an easy to use payment system. Have someone reliable and who is unfamiliar with your site try it out and provide unbiased usability opinions.

7. Update the design if needed to freshen things. Do you have bells and whistles that make your site look dated?

8. Ask your self these questions:

  • Would my site be more professional or require less of my time if it offered more opportunity to interact with visitors?
  • Could I improve my communication with visitors? (Improved communication can result in more help provided, more sales, and even more wonderful friends.)
  • Is there more information about the site's subject matter I could be providing?
  • Could I offer classes, tutorials, or information delivered by other means?
  • How can I make visitors feel more comfortable? How can I encourage them to buy without seeming to be pushy?

Use the WillMaster Possibilities web site for ideas. At http://willmaster.com/a/24h/pl.pl?urlsix you'll find links to tips, articles, and demos. Many of these have to do with site automation and interaction with site visitors, and usually require JavaScript or Perl CGI.

Will Bontrager

Copyright 2004 Bontrager Connection, LLC

About the Author:

William Bontrager Programmer/Publisher, "WillMaster Possibilities" ezine mailto:possibilities@willmaster.com

Are you looking for top quality scripts? Visit Willmaster and check out his highly acclaimed Master Series scripts. Some free, some for a fee.

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