Fresh Coat Of Paint

by Bob Osgoodby

Paint has many meanings but one that comes to mind, is to depict something vividly in words. We have heard a lot about web page design, and many have told us what not to do. Some of the information is still good, but some is outdated.

The idea of "load time" is still valid. If you clutter up your web page with unnecessary graphics that take a long time to load, and must load first, people will most likely "click away". You still must have a page that gets your message across in the shortest possible time without the visitor having to hunt around to try to find out what you're all about. The ideal web page in the past, was one viewable screen with links to other pages in the same site.

Trying to get a decent placement on the search engines is also still valid. But as the algorithms used by the search engines change, so must the strategy and design of the pages change. The concept of the one viewable screen may no longer be valid. Many of the search engines look for "keywords" in the body of the page. Repetition of these keywords is essential for proper placement. While you don't want to put the keywords in for their own sake, you should try to build them into the text. The use of synonyms is appropriate in normal writing, but in web page construction, you are better off repeating some of the key terms you use. One long page with the keywords repeated as part of the text, will score higher in rank on many of the search engines.

But here is where you face a dilemma. How can you get your primary message across when your home page might be a thousand words or more. Instead of using external links to another page, try to design it the way you would before, but use local links on the same page. That will give the page the "look and feel" of the page as it was originally designed, but allow you to get much of the entire site on the one home page.

Yahoo! is an example of a directory where keyword density plays a major role. Since Yahoo! is one of the major players in this arena, it certainly will be to your advantage to do this.

When designing your web page, it must be "user friendly". This term has been overused in the past, and may be somewhat "hackneyed". When a visitor arrives at your web site however, they really shouldn't have to hunt around to find out the purpose of the site. Some sites have so many banner ads advertising other sites, you really have to search around to find out what they are all about.

Banner Ads, while they have their place in your marketing scheme, can be a double edged sword. If they detract from your site, my advice is to discontinue using them. Some of the programs require that their ad is in the top one third of your home page, and this of course is self defeating.

While popularity of your site is an important ranking factor, remember that it is not links from your site to others that makes yours popular. The reverse is true. Links to your site from others is the determining factor here. So how can you do this without having a lot of graphics, which are slow to load, and the clutter that this causes?

For purposes of ranking, any link to your site from another is good. Some people put them at the bottom of their home page, while others may have a separate page just for links. While these links may not generate a lot of direct visits to your site, they will help in the popularity ranking of your site.

If you are going to use banners, having a small graphic of your own which loads quickly, followed by text should not hurt your load time if the banners are below the first viewable portion of your screen. As your visitors are reading the text, the banners continue to load not hurting the load time of what your visitor first sees.

Web site design is a changing phenomenon, and if you hope to have a favorable search engine ranking, you must also change with the times. Is your site ready for a "fresh coat of paint"?

Bob publishes the free weekly "Your Business" Newsletter Visit his Web Site at to subscribe. As a bonus, get 40,000 FREE E-Books from Larry Dotson, when you visit

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