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8 Rules Of Good HTML Authoring

   By: Mark Spranger

If you are creating a website, there are 8 rules of good html authoring that are essential to the success of your effort:

1) Quick Loading Pages: The Web is unique in that there are millions of pieces of information readily available. The Web is an immediate medium with very impatient users. No one will spend time waiting and waiting for your page to load while their time is short and there's so much out there.

Keep graphics and slow loading elements to a minimum. Break up long pages into several short ones. And, when writing html, make sure to add the width and height code for graphics. Text can then quickly be displayed without waiting for the graphics to download.

2.) Informative, useful and community building content. The Web is splitting at the edges with advertisements. If you make your site valuable and interesting to guests, traffic will increase, your site will be noticed and your product will sell itself.

3.) Consistency. This rule of printed communications also applies to your Web site. Common elements unify the site and keep it organized. Your guests want to be reassured that they have not left your site. Effective design requires a common motif for your entire site.

4.) Colors and Illustrations should add to your message, not detract from it. You can use colors and images to tell a story, transmit information, clarify text, provide a visual change of pace, establish structure and unity, build an image, prove a claim, or create a mood. If your image does not do any of these, leave it out.

Don't use images just because you can. Graphics must serve a purpose. Remember, the more images you use, the longer your page will take to load.

5.) Ease of Navigation. According to some studies, only 10% of users scroll beyond the information visible on the screen. Place quick links at the top of your homepage. The focus of your site should be on what it can do for the visitor this minute. Nothing is more frustrating to a Web surfer than knowing the information is there, but not being able to find it.

Your links should be recognizable and obvious, and it should be simple to fly through the site. Consider adding a site map so your guests can easily see what's there.

6.) Readability. The font should be large enough to easily read and should not be obscured by background wallpaper and images. Be careful to maintain the foreground/background contrast needed for easy reading. Present information that is well organized, aesthetically pleasing and reader friendly.

Text placed in short rows is easier to read than long lines which fill the entire screen. Use columns and indents to create a readable and organized layout. Always check your spelling!

7.) Fresh content. Too many Web sites seem to have sunk into a state of suspended animation. The Web thrives on newness. Whether you add content weekly, daily, or annually, do it. Make sure visitors know where to find updated content.

8.) Publicize your site.
Page Titles: The most important piece of information many search engines use to index and rank a site is the page title. Your page title should ideally be 5 to 15 words and can include what the page is, your organization and even a short description.

Meta tags: A meta tag is included in a page specifically for site ranking. Meta Tag Keywords are not displayed to guests but are processed by the search engines in order to find and rank your page. Try to craft the same keywords that someone searching for your site would use.

The Meta Tag Description is the part of the meta tag most search engines will display as the description of your site. It pays to spend time on meta tags. Done correctly, they will draw visitors to your site.

Register your site: Most search engines will let you submit your URL for the engine's spider to index. Look for free services that will register your site to multiple search engines.

Banner advertising and Links: Try to get sites with content similar to yours or companies with similar products to link to your page in exchange for a reciprocal link. Exchange ad space with other Web sites.

Body text: The more often your site mentions a word or phrase, the higher your page will place in searches for those words and phrases. Just don't cram the page full of rambling nonsense.

Follow these 8 guidelines, and your new Website will be a smashing success.

Mark Spranger
Watermark Communications creates visually stunning, technically advanced Websites. We work within your budget. No matter what your online needs are, we can help you accomplish your goals.
619 275-333

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