Web Templates Tips And TricksAuthor: John Dow
Web templates can save you time and money. If you want to get a jump start on your website design, there's no fast way to get up and running quickly. Even experienced web designers use some kind of homemade web template to put the required web pages and layout in place.About the Author:
If you are starting from scratch on your design, reviewing different colors, layouts, and navigation methods of several different web templates can give you some good ideas. You make like the colors from one, the layout from another, and some graphics from somewhere else.
When choosing any website templates, look and feel are important, but the technical aspects can impact both the user and search engine features. You often have to look behind most web templates designs to make sure that proper techniques for the user experience and ease of search engine review are also in place.
You only have 3-6 seconds to grab the visitor's attention, so you better use every feature at your disposal. Lets start with the visitor's possible reasons for sticking around and reading your message. Here are a few methods that will help you get the visitors attention and convince them to keep reading. These methods should be incorporated into any web template.
Give the visitor instant gratification on subject matter. The area above the fold (top 5 or 8 inches) is prime real estate and you need to have a powerful headline that reinforces the reason they came to your website. Applicable graphics (photos, illustrations, etc.) can help but the written word usually rules in grabbing attention.
Show them the information they want by using meaningful anchor text in menus. Demonstrate at first glance that you have additional information or easy to understand links that revolve around the subject matter with easy navigation. Fancy pull down menus don't cut it for making any visual impact.
Don't waste important real estate with a huge graphic that takes up half of the area above the fold. Many website templates waste valuable space with some large graphic. If you look at some of the most popular websites you see that none of them waste that first 6-8 inches of space with huge graphics. Look at Yahoo, Google, MSN, eBay, and others and you'll see what I mean.
On the technical and search engine side, there are several methods that directly effect your ability to get high index rankings under your keywords or phrases. Although the search engines look at structure and content, they also need your help. You should always make sure that the search engine bots can easily navigate and interpret what your website content is all about.
OK, lets say you did your homework and have decided on the best keywords and phrases for your subject matter. Remember our headline form the above visitor attention example, make sure you include your keyword or phrase and code it with html H1 tag. That tells the search engines you think that is important.
On the graphics you use, especially the first visible one, use the alt text feature to name it using your keyword or phrase. It doesn't really matter what the graphic is, although you should stick to ones that are related to subject matter anyway, but use the same keywords from the headline.
Create your title and description mega tag so that you use the same keywords that are in the headline, alt text, and best represent your subject matter. Many say that you should start the description and name with the keyword is the best way. Not sure it has to be the first word but it can't hurt. Make sure that the description makes since to the possible audience too since that's what they see when doing a search.
Many web templates come with one set of meta tags that are the same for each page. Something to always remember about any web page in your web templates or finished website, each web page should be unique to itself. Always make sure that the meta tags reflect the individual web page, don't use one set for all web pages. Search engines rank web pages, not websites.
It's always a good idea to customize any web templates to your particular subject matter, color preference, and layout. You don't want to look like a twin to someone else's website to users or search engines. Whenever you start your design, always remember that you are serving two masters. Both the visitors and the search engine bots need to be facilitated for good results.
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