PR2 Newsletter : Issue 4

Welcome to issue 4 of the PR2 Website Promotion Newsletter.

It's been a while since the last newsletter, but I have been busy with other things. The newsletter will be fortnightly from now on. Time for the usual numbers game... this issue is going out to 1,807 subscribers.

Time for some soul-searching now. You've tackled your graphics, and hopefully cured your sites of some of the more deadly design "sins", so what's next? A little more work to make sure your site is ready for primetime. In the next issue we will turn out attention towards promotion, but in the meantime please keep on improving your site! An hour of prevention is worth ten hours of "fire-fighting" to patch up major problems later while visitors stream into your site... and leave immediately, never to return.

Spelling it like it is

Your site is you! This basic message is worth repeating to yourself ten times a day. If you are in business on the Web, unless you work for a major corporation your site is likely to be the only contact your customers have with you. In the "offline" world, it's very rare to find businesses (large or small) with blatant spelling mistakes and fractured grammar on their signs, pamphlets or other printed material. So why should things change just because you are on the Web?

If your spelling is less than perfect -- and these days, how many people feel confident about words like "palaeontology" or "numismatist" -- there are lots of programs out there to take away the drudgery. Use them! A few minutes spent running your site through a spell checker will do wonders for the IMPRESSION you make on others. And impression is what this game's all about!

Many web page editors have spelling checkers built right in. For a cheap and cheerful solution, save your site in text format, then run it through an application such as Microsoft Word or Corel WordPerfect, which both have excellent built-in spell checkers.

If you just want to check the occasional word, point your browser at Dictionary.com and use the online dictionary there.

Let Your Visitors Escape!

Have you ever been trapped in a site? I have, and it's an unpleasant experience for both the visitor and the site owner, because that particular visitor will not come back.

What do I mean by "trapped"? Simply this: you arrive at a page with no way to leave it again. Maybe you followed a link from another site, or from a search engine. It doesn't matter where you came from since the only way out is via the "Back" button on your browser... and away from the site.

To avoid this problem, make sure that EVERY page of your site (without exceptions) links to at least one other page on your site (often your "main" or "home" page is best). This is especially valid for pages such as "Thank You" pages that visitors see after filling in a form. Don't just leave them with empty words... give them a chance to explore further!

Work on Your Good Resolutions...

What resolution was your site designed at? On the PC there are three common resolutions: 640x480 pixels, 800x600 pixels and 1024x768 pixels. In the MAC world there are various other resolutions...

If you format your site so that it looks good at a high resolution such as 1024x768 pixels you are excluding lesser mortals who own graphics cards that will only go up to 800x600. They will have to do a lot of scrolling left and right to read your pages... or they could go to an easier site somewhere else. No prizes for guessing what most people will do.

If you design for 640x480 on a small monitor, then your fonts may be too small to read for somebody using a much larger monitor.

Tip: Try to check your site at many different resolutions. Go to a friend's house, look at your site at work, check it in a cybercafe or library... but try and get a feel for how your site will look when you're not at your computer.

Chase Away those Broken Links

On an annoyance scale of 1 to 10, broken links must rate an 11! Broken links to other sites are sometimes unavoidable as things change so fast on the Web... but broken links on your own site are unforgivable. There's a guide to fixing up your links here.

Until next time...

Edwin Hayward

Next: Issue 5

PR2 Links on this page
How to find and eliminate broken links
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Dictionary.com -- online English dictionary
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