Having a website has become standard practice for today’s Austin business owners. With more and more people searching online via smart phones, tablets, and PCs, the Internet is the modern day Yellow Pages, and your website is a global listing, representing your business to the online world. It’s a brochure that can be viewed by potential customers anywhere at any time, providing free advertising to targeted visitors day in and day out. Due to the importance of having an online presence, your website must be designed using effective web design techniques that will allow it to receive as much traffic and produce as many profits as possible. Let’s take a look at some specific considerations when designing your business website and kicking off your online Austin marketing campaigns.
First of all, you should consider cross-browser compatibility, because not all Web searchers use the same Internet browser. Your website may look terrific when it’s shown in Safari or Fireox, but if it can’t be clearly viewed in Internet Explorer, you’ll lose out on over 50 percent of all potential customers. In fact, 55 percent of people around the world use Internet Explorer, and the remaining 45 percent use different browsers, so it’s imperative that your site supports multiple browsers.
Keep Navigation in Mind
People should be able to move freely and easily between the pages of your site. Therefore, you should make each page clear and concise, and have clear navigation links as well. At any point during a visitor’s browsing experience, they should know exactly where they are and how to go back to the previous page or home page.
For example, if you have a page about things to do in Austin, users should be able to easily find the page and return to where they came from when they’re done. Studies have shown that visitors leave whenever they experience any confusion, so easy navigation is essential.
Break Up Text for Easy Reading
Website text should always be broken up into short paragraphs, subheadings, bullet points, and so on. For instance, for a “Things to Do in Austin” page, you would want to use bullet points for listing attractions and have short paragraphs with headings for each activity category. Online, people want to be able to quickly scan content to get the information they need, not decipher large blocks of text or feel as though they’re reading an essay.
If your website has any images on it, which it should, you need to ensure that they’re optimized to the smallest size possible and that there aren’t too many per page. Images look nice, but they also create slow loading times, which only annoy visitors and turn them away.
On the subject of loading times, Austin marketing and Web design firms will also tell you to stay away from scripting languages for visual effects and images, because they only create slow loading times and have even caused browsers to crash. If scripting languages must be used, the code should be exported to a different page where you can reference it when needed. However, some scripts simply aren’t compatible with certain browsers, so you may want to avoid using them altogether.
Lastly, all of your pages should be styled with CSS in order to reduce the amount of code on each page and speed up loading times. CSS will also save you considerable time when making any future website adjustments.
Mark Winston is a professional SEO consultant and founder of http://www.seoservicesaustin.org, a Texas-based digital agency focusing on improving client websites' search placements and internet positions. Outside of work, he enjoys ultimate frisbee and running with his dog, Lester.