Web Marketing Your Business With Linux, Part 1 - page 3
Why Have A Company Web Site?
Countless books have been written on how to organize and build an effective web site. Needless to say, there are thousands of opinions and theories on the subject. A couple of my favorites are "HTML 4 Unleashed," by Rick Darnell and "Teach Yourself HTML Visually," by IDG Books. The Unleashed book is what you would expect for that series, at over 1000 pages. The Visual book is very easy to follow and gives great examples on how to use the various features of HTML.
For a basic informational business web site, I think the main thing to keep in mind is that you want to make your site fast, interesting, and easy to use. Nothing turns away a visitor quicker than slow loading pictures or making the user's life harder. As I said, in the opening monologue, how many times have you seen a business web site, that doesn't even have a contact email address or phone number?
Making your site fast can be accomplished in a number of ways.
- Of course, if you are going to use an old Pentium 100-MHz retired desktop machine with 24 MB of memory for your web server, you will severely limit the number of pages and clients you can handle at any given time. But that kind of machine would better serve as a test server to develop your site. Web hosting services usually have what are known as "level of service" agreements. They are contractually bound to provide certain capacity and up-times. So, if you want absolute levels of availability for your web site, you might shop around for high-end web hosting.
- Try not to get too carried away with graphics. Many sites that contain large numbers of graphics, use the technique of showing thumbnail sized pictures instead of full sized, just so the page loads quickly. When the user wants to see a better view, they can just click on the thumbnail and get a screen full.
- Liberal use of text is generally much faster than using lots of graphics. Text is low bandwidth, graphics is high bandwidth.
I don't think you will have trouble with the "interesting" part. That first list was pretty comprehensive and should give you additional ideas. Depending on your business, most users want to get something they can use, from your web site. That could be a how-to article, a recipe, directions to your showroom or your hours of operation. It could be any number of things. Only you can possibly know what information your customer really needs to have.