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Tag Archives: web pages

Website navigation – Is yours friendly?

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Is your Homestead site chasing visitors away?

If your navigation isn’t simple and straightforward you could be losing customers. One stat claims that 1/2 of online sales are lost due to the result of  a navigation that is poorly designed. That’s a pretty big number!

Your Home page is THE most important page of your site and it should be listed first in your navigation menu. Visitors look for the Home page link in the regular navigation so placing it elsewhere is a stopper for your potential customer. Every time you interrupt the flow of the visit you distract the visitor from their intended mission and make them focus on something other than finding/buying what they came for.

navigation menu on Homestead site

Can your visitor easily discern where each link in the navigation will take them or did you go with cute and clever link names that make the visitor stop and think about what that link refers to and where it may take them or what information it will yield?

Web users have two things in common:

  • They are totally focused
  • They are impatient

Using what you perceive as clever page names or icons without text  in the menu can be another stopper for the visitor that sends them elsewhere.

Consistency counts. Is your navigation the same throughout your site? It should be in the same location on every page, maintain the same structure, look and feel. Again, you need to make this a smooth, effortless journey, not an Easter egg hunt.

Location, location, location. Where is your navigation? Ideally it should be directly below your Logo/Header or on the left hand side at the top. Placing it anywhere else is going to be a stop and think for your visitor. Don’t neglect your site visitor in the (perceived) interest of aesthetics.

Have they been there, done that?  It is easy for visitors to a site to get confused as to whether or not they’ve already visited a page, this is especially true on larger sites. Using a regular link color and a visited link color, viewers can tell at a glance by the color change if they have seen a particular page.

How many times have you visited a site and had to get out the magnifying glass to read the menu? That menu is the life’s blood of a website yet designers/webmasters often use a tiny font and a light color for the navigation. This doesn’t mean you need to use a size 14 font in bold, black, but it does mean you should be sure the menu is easily read. Not everyone has 20/20 vision.

The success of a website involves many things, some big, some small, but navigation is VERY  BIG. The webmaster who doesn’t follow some basic principles of good design could be chasing customers away.

Happy webbing!

website design word cloud

Page Rank – What it takes

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Google’s explanation (definition) of their Page Rank system:

  • PageRank Technology: PageRank reflects our view of the importance of web pages by considering more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms. Pages that we believe are important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results.PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value. We have always taken a pragmatic approach to help improve search quality and create useful products, and our technology uses the collective intelligence of the web to determine a page’s importance.
  • The PR of a page is important, but it is only one of many factors that determines how a page ranks in searches.

    • The period of time that a domain has been indexed can be a big factor in rankings. New domains need time for Search Engines to classify them as viable.  Six months to a year is the accepted time frame for this to take place.
    • Add links on a regular basis. Incoming links at this time remain important with both Google and MSN in determining page rank. Develop a link building program using directory submittals and quality reciprocal links. Reciprocals are not as heavily rated as good one way links but they do count as long as they are relevant to your site’s content and come from quality sites that are also relevant in subject matter.
    • If you choose to do reciprocal linking, vary your anchor text routinely. Search engines can determine patterns in links that have anchor text using identical terms. These may be judged as coming from possible link farms.
    • Do not totally exclude outbound links from your site. Major search engines expect to see some outbound linking to quality sites. If they do not find these expected links after indexing several times they can view the site itself as not particularly important and your rankings can be negatively affected. Do some out linking to provide valuable resources for visitors.
    • Alt Text on images. Some major search engines utilize alt text as a rating factor. Use key words/phrases that are appropriate for the image and page content.
    • All pages need content. Do not depend on images to sell your site/product/service to either people or search engines. This approach can result in fewer site visitors than if real information were provided up front. Search Engines also require information to create custom search engine results. 
    • Add new content – Search engines expect quality sites to be updated.
      Websites should be updated at least every six months but your important pages can really benefit by updating every month if possible. This provides returning visitors something new and SEs will tend to visit your site more often if they find frequent updates.

    These are some circumstances that can affect page rank and every item except domain age can be controlled by the webmaster.

    To have a website achieve page rank and do well in searches requires work, research and keeping up to date on changes in search engine requirements.