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 Design Tips

Basics

This is an example of a typical webpage and it describes how it is generally set up. This information is applicable to most pages on a website, but the first two sections are especially important on your Home page.

Search Engines
Paragraph Text
Photos
Backgrounds
Color
Corrections and Editing
What to Expect

Search Engines

As a rule, Google and the other search engines will parse your website page-by-page using the content of the Main Header (Design Tips), Sub-Headers (Basics, Search Engines, etc.) and the Paragraph text to determine the topics listed on a particular page. As a result, the wording of your Headers is as important as your Paragraph text and should clearly reflect the message that you are trying to convey for each paragraph or group of paragraphs. I can create the Headers for you, so you don't need to do this unless you really want to.

Paragraph Text

Search engines usually expect website text material to be in a specific and logical format. They will look for items that properly describe what the page is all about and will actually check that the paragraph material is related to the headers. You know your club, business or organization better than I do, so I will look to you to provide me with text that is relevant to your site and the message you wish to publicize. The more detailed the material is that you send me, the better your page will rank in the different search engines.

The entire page may be longer than what you see here but you don't want to have "too much" material on a page or it will overwhelm the viewer. It is probably best to have no more than three or four vertical screens on a monitor. This page has a little over 3 screens of material and utilizes two "Back to Top" buttons for the viewer's convenience.

Please don't waste your time formatting your text to look "just right". Your word processor's output is inconsistent with webpage requirements and I'll just have to strip all your formatting out before incorporating it into the website.

Photos

We can add photos if you wish. In the right situation, a few well-chosen ones will add some visual interest. A neighborhood organization, club or personal website might use photos effectively. Using too many or having the wrong kind on a business website might not be appropriate.

There are specialized formats for photos posted on a website and I'll be glad to do the basic Photoshop work (cropping, sizing, formatting, etc.) for you at no additional charge. And if a caption is appropriate, I will be glad to add that as well.

In general, large photos tend to take over a webpage but this may be a design choice for you depending on your intended layout. Using a too-small photo should be avoided because it just isn't very appealing to a viewer. Having too many pictures on a page may become overwhelming to a site visitor unless they are displayed in an appropriate photo gallery page.

Copyright- and royalty-free clip art is readily available on the Internet and if you're looking for something to dress up your website, I suggest you visit Open Clipart Library or Google: royalty-free clip art or copyright-free clip art

Please don't ask me to use material copyrighted by others without permission - that's only looking for trouble. I am not very artistic, but if you send me something to work from, I'm sure I can adapt it to your requirements.

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Backgrounds

There are many backgrounds (the image or color which appears as the background to a webpage) freely available on the Internet for your use. If you wish to find a particular one, simply Google: website backgrounds and you'll find a vast number of possibilities. The images are typically available as small squares (about 50-100 pixels on a side) and your Internet browser simply duplicates the image to fill the space available. I often find what I'm looking for at GRSites under the Grey category.

Many of the backgrounds you find will not be subtle enough to use effectively - something too "in-your-face" will offend visitors or make it impossible for them to read the text on your page. In either case, they will likely leave your site immediately. Backgrounds may be easily changed at any time if you desire to have a different look.

I have chosen a barely noticeable background image for the pages on this website. As we proceed with your website construction, we can try out a variety of backgrounds to see what looks good in your situation.

Color

I am somewhat color-blind and will have to depend on you for guidance in this area. To ensure that we're discussing the same color, I suggest that you visit Wikipedia and check out their Color page. If you reference your desired color for a website item by the appropriate HTML name or Hex code, I'll know exactly which color you're talking about. If you need something that's in between two listed colors, please be prepared for some back-and-forth between us before we get everything nailed down to your satisfaction.

Corrections and Editing

Eventually we will be working with a first draft of your website. It will, of course, contain typos and glitches no matter how carefully we have edited the material. Or we'll see something that completely escaped both of us the first time through. For small corrections, simple reference the particular page and describe the changes you want made.

Major revisions are best handled by selecting the particular paragraphs, Copy-Pasting them into your email program and making any desired changes there. When you send me the new material, I'll simply substitute it as needed. If it's not obvious where the material goes (such as a ginormous revision), please give me some information as to what I should do with it.

What to Expect

There will be a flurry of activity while we set up your hosting account, transfer the hosting service and domain name registration, draft the various pages and then finally "go live" (get your site online). Rest assured that everything will eventually settle down and you'll have a running site.

Typically, I will leave the very generic Home page provided by your hosting service in place while we get everything else up to speed. The developing part of the site will not be accessible from this temporary Home page until we're ready to switch over to a working website. Having a non-publicly available website up and running for your inspection during the initial editing process will give us an opportunity to adjust colors, images, layouts, etc. until you are satisfied.

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