This Old Site

Is Your Web Site Up To Snuff?

Before jumping ahead with a full site enhancement, check out the following 12 criteria that TheNETrep, a Del Mar, California-based Web-enhancement company, uses to critique a Web site. If you follow these rules already, you may not need an overhaul at all!

Overall look: Go for clean, simple and attractive. Underwhelm.

Home page: Think billboard. Tell them exactly what you want them to know right up front--simply, clearly and immediately.

Message: It's tough to lure visitors to your site. Give them a reason to stay. What's your offer? Exactly to whom is it directed? What's in it for surfers if they stick around?

Speed: Your site must be quick. Use graphics judiciously. Try to keep each page and all its components under 20KB.

Graphics size: Appropriate graphics amplify your message, but graphics are a bandwidth hog. So reduce their dimensions and use compression software to squeeze out extra bytes.

Text legibility: A simple font on a light background is usually best. Separate wide blocks of text into columns. Leave plenty of white space.

Page "skimability": Use short headings at the beginnings of paragraphs.

Copy quality: Make your copy crisp. Keep your paragraphs and sentences short. Talk directly to the customer.

Navigation: Make your site easy to navigate. Include a link back to your home page on every page of your site.

Contact form: If you collect information, collect as little as necessary, and tell your visitor how it will be used.

Testimonials: Prominently list testimonials from your best customers.

Mistakes: You'll lose visitors if your site has broken links, missing graphics or scripts that don't run correctly. Check out your site's accessibility with all the popular browsers.

Contact Sources

Home-To-Home, (215) 321-9525

Valley Programming Service Inc., http://www.valpro.com

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Melissa Campanelli is a technology writer in Brooklyn, New York, who has covered technology for Mobile Computing & Communications and Sales & Marketing Management magazines. You can reach her at mcampanelli@earthlink.net.

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This article was originally published in the March 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: This Old Site.

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