Plan Your Web Site Effectively for Max Success
Types of Websites
Explore the types of Web Site Business Models
Site Types 2
More information on the strategic types of sites
Strategy Planning is essential to Success
Make sure your strategy is up to snuff
Technical Strategic Planning an Outsourcing Contract Work
More on Outsourcing Contract Work
Deciding what will go on your business site and who will provide it
Determing a schedule for content management
Automation for Content Syndication
Keyword Planning Suggestions on preparing keyword research for your site.
Brainstorming and organizing the architecture of your website.
Information Architecture 2
More discussion on the lower tiers of site heirarchy
Technology Planning Scaleability considerations for large and growing sites.
Tech Planning 2Weighing the value of flash technology.
Creating a budget and using it effectively
What type of web host will you need?
Labor related expenses for site creation
Measuring financial success and ROI
Developing a Web Site
Design and Development
Establishing the importance of credibility in design.
Writing the Initial Code
Programming considerations for when you get down to programming.
Promoting a Web Site
Appendix item 1-1: Overture Search Tool
This tool provides insight into the number of search queries by using the data from the previous month on the Overture search engine.
Appendix item 1-1 (continued): The next two screen-shots demonstrate the difference in the number of searches for two similar terms.
Appendix item 1-1 (continued): Michigan website design search engine queries for the month of June.
Appendix 1-2: Wordtracker
A word such as “college” is typed into the search form. Wordtracker returns suggestions that can be explored more in depth.
Appendix item 1-2 (continued): After terms are chosen from the selected list, they are shown in step 3 for review.
Appendix item 1-2 (continued): The results of the WordTracker programs shows the number of times a term was searched in a three month period (count), 24-hour period, and the number of competing sites that use that keyword. The KEI analysis is a ratio of the number of searches to the number of competing sites. This number gives the user an idea of how easy it may be to obtain good search engine listings, and how valuable the term might be.
Appendix 1-3: Google Sets
Google Sets gives a developer insight on how search engines group certain subjects by “theme”.
Appendix item 1-3 (continued): This is how Google “themes” Northwood University.
Appendix 1-3 (continued): This is how Google “themes” the term “flavored coffees”. Placing subjects by “theme” is not a perfect science.
Appendix 1-4: Reach/Acquire/Convert/Retain Chart
Appendix 2-5: Flowchart of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth
Appendix 2-6: Search Engine Theme Pyramids
Appendix 2-7: Load time Charts for different connections
30 Kilobyte File
95 Kilobyte File
Appendix 2-8: Expected Locations for E-commerce elements
Appendix 2-9: Web Usability Checklist
Based on content from Designing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen
Compiled by Tom Cutshall July 20, 2001
The guidelines in Nielsen’s book are based on "experience of what actually works when real users try to perform real tasks on the web" (Nielsen, 2000, p. 11). The book is the result of "usability tests with about 400 users from a wide variety of backgrounds using a large number of different web sites over the last six years" (Nielsen, 2000, p. 14).
Web Site Focus and Goals
____Are the user’s needs at the center of your web design?
____Why are users coming to your web site? What do they want to do?
____Are the main things users want to do on your web site easy to do?
____Is the web site structured to mirror user’s tasks, rather than organizational structure?
____Does web site work on browsers and plug-ins up to 2 years old?
____High contrast text color to background color. Black text on white background is optimal.
____ALT tag with description for each graphic so visually impaired can "read them" with screen
____Do not include text in images as they will be difficult to read.
____Homepage should answer "Where am I" and "What does this site do".
____Is text short and concise?
____Use short paragraphs, headings, subheadings, and bullets for ease of scanning.
____Paragraphs should ideally start with a topic sentence and keep to one idea per paragraph.
____Can user tell in a glance what the page is about and what it can do for them?
____Help should contain examples, be task oriented, show how to do step by step, but be brief.
____Does the page load within 10 seconds? This is the limit of most user’s attention while
____For users with a modem, a 34K page loads in 10 seconds. What is the page size including
graphics? (Pages 40K in size have a user bailout rate of 25-30%)
Appendix item 2-9 (continued):
____Does the top half of the page have more text and less images so the page is useful even
while user is waiting for rest of page to load?
____Are ALT tags on all images so users can understand what they are while they load?
____On pages with many images, provide small versions of graphics user can click for full
____Use percentages rather than fixed pixel number for page and table width--this will adapt the
web page to different screen sizes and resolutions to avoid the hated horizontal scrolling.
____ Images need to have width and height attributes.
____Images no larger than 544 pixels wide by 376 pixels tall or they won’t fit on WebTV screens.
____Use frames sparingly--they take away the ability to bookmark or create a link to a specific
____Break long text documents into theme related chunks on multiple pages for ease of reading
____Provide printer friendly version of long text documents (no frames, all on one page).
____Text should mostly be left justified for ease of scanning/reading.
____Web page titles (what shows on top browser bar) should be concise, 2 to 6 words long.
____Web page titles should start with content specific, unique words that are easy to scan on a
list of bookmarks or search engine results (i.e. don’t start all page titles "UGA Libraries… )
____For ease of scanning, only the most important information-carrying terms should be made
into hypertext links. Avoid using ‘Click Here’" or using the web site URL as the hypertext link.
____As needed, provide a short description of where the link is going.
____When a list of links is given, group and categorize the links under subheadings for easy
____Have a few highly relevant links to other web sites and one supersite rather than too many
____Do the links use standard colors (purple for visited, blue for unvisited)? This way users easily
know where they have been.
____Links opening up a new browser window is not recommended--users lose back button.
____Hypertext links should include the "http://" as part of the URL for faster linking.
____Navigation needs to help users answer the questions:
· Where am I?
Appendix item 2-9 (continued):
· Where have I been?
· Where can I go?
____Consistent logo/graphic and link to the home page on every internal web page in the upper
left corner of page. This provides context and navigation to those who link directly to an
____ Best to not use pull-down menus or graphics for navigation choices as the links don’t
indicate by color change that a link has been followed (users loose "where have I been"
____Better to have short list of navigation options rather than pull down menu that won’t let user
see all the options at once.
____Does the home page navigation options overwhelm users with too many choices?
____Many users are search dominate and want a search feature for the web site Provide search
option on the home page and all internal pages, preferably from the top right corner of page.
____Search engine should provide automatic spell check, plural, and synonyms.
____Search results should provide an option for similarity search ("more like this").
____Allow for direct linking to a web page and non-linear use versus forcing users to go through
home page and navigation steps.
____Useful to include a "bread crumb trail" showing where user is in relationship to hierarchy of
pages (i.e. home> departments> reference)
____URL of web page should avoid underscore (illegal in domain names). Use dash or preferably
run together words (i.e. dictionarythesauri.html rather than dictionary_thesauri.html)
____ URL should be short, use common language, and all lower case letters.
Appendix 2-10: Text to Code Ratio/ Keeping content near the top of the code.
Many webpages use code similar to the code listed below because webpage editors generate it this way. Much of this code is unnecessary, and can create longer download times by reloading the same information on multiple pages. Externally linking these files like seen on the next screen shot improves the “text to code ratio”, improves download time by “re-using” elements, and keeps important content that is indexed by search engines closer to the top of the code.
Appendix item 2-10 (continued): This code is streamlined and improves the overall quality of the website.
Appendix 3-11: Overture Bid Price Tool
Some websites pay between $10 - $18 dollars per click through for the term “website hosting”
Appendix item 3-11 (continued): Advertisers pay for being listed for the term Midland, Michigan
Appendix item 3-11 (continued): Advertisers are even paying the minimum click through cost for the term “Northwood University”
Appendix 3-12: Screenshots from Webalizer Statistics Tool
Monthly Visitor Tracking
Number of visitors that visited the site during a given month for given search
Appendix item 3-12 (continued): Top Entry and Exit Pages on the website.
Appendix 2-13: AW Stats Traffic Analysis Tool
Appendix 3-14: Clicktracks Traffic Analysis Tool
Analyzing average time on the site for users coming from anywhere, Google, or any search engine.
Appendix item 3-14 (continued): Average length of time spent on the site based on how the user found the site (which S.E phrase).
Appendix item 3-14 (continued): Clicktracks offers the ability to track users based on many different criteria. Below are some of the options for various ways to create individualized reporting for website traffic.
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Todd is an Internet Consultant with several years experience in the field of SEO and internet marketing. Todd completed a dual-bachelors degree program in Management Information Systems/ Business Administration from Northwood University in the summer of ’03 after completing this thesis on Planning, Developing, and Promoting a Successful Website for Small Business. He is also a moderator of the Professional Web Business Issues Forum.
(All in a single document) Appendix 1-1: Overture Search Term
Appendix 1-2: Wordtracker Search Query Research Tool
Appendix 1-3: Google Sets Website Theme Research Tool
Appendix 1-4: Reach/ Acquire/ Convert/ Retain
Chart Appendix 2-5: Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth Information Architecture Flowchart
Appendix 2-6: Search Engine Themes Pyramid Information Architecture Example
Appendix 2-7: Webpage Download Time by File Size Chart
Appendix 2-8: Expected Locations for Common E-commerce Elements
Appendix 2-9: Website Usability Checklist
Appendix 2-10: Text Vs.Code Ratio/ Content Near the Top of Souce Code Examples
Appendix 3-11: Overture Bid Price Tool
Appendix 3-12: Webalizer Website Visitor Tracking Tool
Appendix 3-13: AW STATS Website Visitor Tracking Tool Appendix
3-14: Clicktracks Website Statistics
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