Website and Its Contents.

What is a Website?

To say a website is an online business is too limiting. The same can be said for many of the other casual definitions of a website. Perhaps, with the number of nonprofit organizations, companies, and individuals using the internet today, the best operational definition of a website would be simply- an online presence. A website is an online presence by an individual, a company or any other entity. A more formal definition might describe a website as a collection of pages dedicated to a similar or identical subject hosted though a single domain.

The Contents of a Website

Website contents can vary considerably. While the internet might have once been the domain of commercial interests, it is now available to all manners of users. Family websites with vacation photos are hosted by the same server companies as major commercial enterprises. This says nothing of the many service organizations, blogs, informational sites and news organizations comprising pages of the World Wide Web.

Most websites begin as a simple homepage accessible though the original URL. The homepage is, in essence, a portal to the remainder of the information or services contained within the website. The homepage and all that it contains is linked to other pages and often other websites though hyperlinks contained within tabs or text. All of the linked pages within a single domain name make up the entire website.

Website Do’s and Don’ts

Certain things are critical to building and finding quality websites. A well-designed website will take advantage of many things, but the top five most sought after rules of a website include the following:

A Well-Planned Design – Certain colors and patterns are friendly on the eyes in an online format. Design elements that include empty space on the page to allow the eyes to travel correctly as well as colors that make text easy to read are ideal.

Browser-friendly Pages – Different browsers treat pages differently. A solid website will look good in all browser windows, not just Internet Explorer or Firefox.

Simple Navigation – When a visitor arrives on a website, he wants to find what he is looking for quickly. To this end, a good rule of thumb on any website is that three clicks or less should take someone where he wants to go. Easy to read menu bars and navigation tools are critical.

Interesting and Relevant Content – Finally, the most important thing of all is to have quality content on a website. Visitors come to a site with a purpose in mind. Content should meet the needs of target traffic, and be interesting as well. A boring site does not draw repeat visits.

Other items are an immediate turn off for many website patrons and sites with these elements are often scrapped by visitors within a very short period of time.

Ugly Page Views – The most important aspects of a page should be visible when the homepage is first loaded. Scrolling through pages, especially right-to-left, is distracting and frankly obnoxious. Pages should fit the screen and information should be readily available on the page itself.

Splash and Flash – Everyone likes a bit of entertainment, but timing is everything. Dramatic splash pages or flash introductions can be frustrating for users who are just interested in getting to the content. Some visitors won’t even last through the introduction to the site before clicking off.

Music – Along the same lines, music is appreciated by many internet users, but preselected music on a website should be minimized and be optional. For most sites, it is not necessary at all.

Unfocused Content – A quality website should contain relevant information. Extraneous information about subjects unrelated to the topic at hand is distracting and detracts from the overall professionalism of a website. A website about fish should not include a few pages about space exploration.

Missing Contact Information – Finally, a potential customer or patron will want to know how to reach a live human being. Contact information should be found quickly and easily. Obviously, the information must also be accurate.