Web Site 101

February 2004
by Merrily Mann

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None of us has to be convinced that Web sites are cost-effective ways for publishers of all sizes to increase their visibility, expand their markets, and build their image. But if you want to build your own site and your budget is limited, you should take steps to avoid anything that appears amateurish or discourages repeat visits. The checklist below will help.

Guiding Principles

Simplicity.Study the design at large corporations’ sites. They use scrolling text and GIF animations conservatively or not at all, because too much repetitive movement is distracting and sometimes annoying.

Background choice should also reflect simplicity in design. Busy, loud backgrounds detract from content and make text illegible. Too many colors or fonts can also be distracting and give a site a cluttered feel.

Consistency. Use one design throughout the site. Be consistent with setup, colors, and fonts. To visitors, a Web site is a physical place, and they get confused if the place keeps changing.

Image. A Web site should reflect the philosophy and identity of the business. If you are promoting books for seniors, you wouldn’t want your site to look like an advertisement for an amusement park.

Content. Have you ever driven down a highway that is loaded with billboards? How many billboards do you actually see, and how many do you remember, especially by the end of the trip? The Internet has been referred to as a highwa…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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