QUICK TIPS

Decide what solution you offer the user.
Figure out how to deliver the solution quickly.
Map out your website on paper before you start building it.
Constantly fine-tune your website after it is created.

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Getting started

What is the problem that you have the solution for? For instance: Do you have the secret to making money on the internet? Can you teach someone how to housebreak a pet?

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Decide what solutions you can offer and then write them down. This is your mission statement. Keep this list handy and refer to it often as you design your website so you don't get sidetracked. Users' needs are not necessarily hard to fulfill but one website can not solve all users' problems, so don't try to. Focus on the solution you offer the user and concentrate on how to deliver it.

Meeting expectations

Now that you've figured out what you can offer your users you have to focus on delivering that solution. People looking for answers want them now! Studies have shown that you only have a few seconds to get a visitor's attention and hold it before they click away - don't waste any time. Tell the user what you have to offer right away. Don't use intro pages that take too long to load. People want to get to your content and you should remove anything that gets between the user and the information. Guide them to their goal with as few "clicks" as possible.

Plan to succeed

Many people get frustrated when they try to create a web page simply because they don't do any planning. If you jump in and start writing HTML with no plan you may find yourself lost and so will your visitors. Before you start up your computer get out a pencil and some paper. Create a diagram that illustrates how your website will be layed out.

Build your website one page at a time focusing on one topic per page. As you add new content expand your website diagram adding new pages in a logical order. This will make it much easier for you to build your site and for visitors to find their way around. If you follow a plan you will avoid leading viewers to blank pages, dead links or having them run in circles trying to navigate your website.

Don't worry if you think your website is not perfect. No website is ever totally finished. You should always be fine-tuning and updating your content. You should continue to learn web site design from books and other websites. Website construction is an ongoing process. Build - review - add new content - repeat.

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