Business website design
Designing a profitable website in todays hyper-competitive Internet environment requires a lot more thought and planning than it did in the past. In days gone by, you could often strike an uncompetitive market, throw up any site that looked half-decent and reap the rewards of viral marketing.
However, today's website designs must take into account look & feel: the aspects that appeal most to potential clients, and optimisation: the aspects that help the search engines index your site efficiently in order to attract the maximum number of visitors. Of course, the other important aspect is choosing a quality New Zealand based web hosting company.
Easy to navigate
Making a website easy to navigate will help keep people interested in your website, and likely lead to them staying for longer, meaning a greater chance of a successful conversion. Additionally, properly constructed navigation menus significantly help with search engine optimisation.
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Compatible with multiple browsers
Ask any web designer how they feel about standards compliance between different browsers and you will most likely get a very detailed and elaborate response! Each person has there own favourite browser, that's the uniqueness of the Internet. However, different software developers have implemented or not implemented different standards in various versions of their respective browsers.
In our experience, most sites we've kept statistics on have over 80% of visitors using a version of Internet explorer. Unfortunately, this is currently split between IE6 and IE7, which support different standards. A typical example would be a table... it would show perfectly in 3 or 4 browsers, but would look funny in the others. Generally speaking, our websites will display perfectly in the following browsers:
Whilst these inconsistencies can be a little time consuming to resolve, it's generally a customisation within the style sheet for a page that resolves the issue. Now that IE7 is becoming the dominant browser, we've noticed fewer problems. IE7 appears to be significantly more standards compliant that the predecessor IE6.
Before uploading any new website, ByteMe Internet will always test it in the six browsers mentioned above.
Search engine friendly
You can make your URLs search engine friendly by using URL rewriting to create virtual directories. This makes the site more appealing to search engines and also gives you an easy and simple way to move content at a later date. URL rewriting allows you to use descriptive names in your URLs, for example on the byteme.co.nz website this URL you a viewing right now is http://byteme.co.nz/website-design but the actual filename for this web page is design.php. Using this method hides the true filename, meaning that I can redirect website-design to another URL at a later stage and also hides the fact that this website uses PHP as it's underlying technology
When creating links use the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) rather than just the short version. i.e. http://byteme.co.nz/website-design rather than /website-design. This will help with SEO and also assist in cases where multiple domain names are being used for a single website.
It is also important to use descriptive title tags in your links and remember that you can use the nofollow attribute if you don't want to pass page rank to the web page you are linking to.
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Cascading style sheets
Cascading style sheets or CSS have changed the way websites are developed. Styles, like colours, fonts, and sizes are now all defined in a single location, the style sheet. A single style sheet can be used by multiple web pages, making changes a snap. Should you wish to make a font larger or increase the width of a border, simply adjust the appropriate style in the CSS file and all content using that style will change instantly.
CSS are also the most common place to make customisations for browser compatibility issues. As any web designer and they will tell you that they often need to create browser-specific styles for one or two pages of a site which aren't displaying correctly in certain browsers.