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Best of 2008 (So Far) - Website Design, Part 1

Why do some websites fail to achieve objectives? How can you whip an underperforming website into shape? Which elements are the most critical when initiating a website redesign project? How can small businesses cost-effectively add sophisticated capabilities like custom search and social networking features to their sites? What separates effective navigation from poor design?

Learn the answers to these questions and more in some of the best blog posts and articles on website design published so far in 2008.

A Small Business Year-End Web Site Checklist by Search Engine Land

Search marketer Matt McGee provides an outstanding 10-point checklist of items that site owners should check (at least) annually, including domain registration, contact form operation, autoresponders and outbound links.

15 Ways to Get Your Website in Gear by iMedia Connection

Lisa Wehr, CEO and founder of Oneupweb, writes that if your online marketing efforts are coming up short, it may be a good time to take "a systematic look at how your website is performing and (develop) a strategy to address its shortcomings." To this end, she recommends reviewing 15 areas, including navigation, interface design, architecture, PR and SEO.

Site Redesign: 4 Vital SEO Tips for Web Designers by Search Engine Watch

Noting that, "Many times when companies consider a site redesign...their rationale may be that they need better 'marketing fluff'...Rarely do you hear companies say, 'We need to redesign our Web site because it wasn't built for SEO,'" Mark Jackson, President and CEO of Vizion Interactive, outlines the four essential considerations in a redesign. Included in his analysis is an intriguing suggestion for a CMS, and the introduction of the term "Flashterbation" (using Flash for no real reason) to the web lexicon.

Write in the Quiet to Get Your Point Across by E-Marketing Performance

Michelle Montoya provides three writing tips for getting your message across to "scanners," the significant portion of online readers who "want the message as quickly as possible and don’t want to have to read through a bunch of muck to get to it." Key to this is using "quiet times"—those short sentences mixed in among your paragraphs that really get your point across.

Top 10 Reasons A Website Fails To Perform by Internet Search Engine Database

You spend significant time, effort and money on a website redesign, and then get lackluster results. Why? Gary Klingsheim, Vice President of Moonrise Design, nails it in this list of 10 factors to examine, including poor definition of your target audience, underestimation of competitors, and inconsistency in design and content. Obviously, this is a great post to read before undertaking that redesign effort.

How To: Create a Great 404 Page Not Found Error Page by Conversation Marketing

Ian Lurie supplies step-by-step instructions for creating a more engaging and friendly 404 error page for your site than the standard "This page cannot be found." As he points out, if someone mistypes a URL or follows an incorrect link from another site, why drive them away with a boring standard message? For some really creative ideas, check out 404 Pages - Funny, Geeky, Disturbing from Squareoak.

Using Google’s Custom Search Engine for Internal Site Search by Ask Enquiro

Manoj Jasra, who writes a lot of great stuff on web marketing, explains why Google's Custom Search tool is excellent way to add this functionality to your site in this brief but informative post.

Google Wants to Help Web Sites Make New Friends by The New York Times

Saul Hansell, editor of the New York Times Bits blog, explains the features of Google Friend Connect, which lets small website publishers add social networking features to their sites. As Hansell writes, Friend Connect gives website publishers an easy way to let users log in then link their profiles from other social networks (including Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Hi5 and Google’s Orkut), and "add OpenSocial applications, written by Google and other companies."

The 19-Hour Website Analysis, in 20 Minutes or Less by Internet Search Engine Database

Stoney deGeyter, website design expert and owner of Pole Position Marketing, explains that "Investing in SEO and PPC marketing, without having performed a thorough (usability) analysis of your website is largely an exercise in vain." He then provides a 19-step guide, with links to prior articles, to analyzing and improving your site's usability looking at factors like on-site search, about us, contact and FAQ pages.

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Website Navigation by Search Engine Guide

Yet another highly useful checklist from Stoney deGeyter, this one detailing 21 considerations for effective site navigation, including consistency, proper categorical divisions, and the use of absolute links throughout the site.

Previous posts in this series:

Best of 2008 (So Far) - SEO Guidance, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - SEO Guidance, Part 2
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Search Engine Marketing, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Cool Web Tools, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Social Media Optimization, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Blogging for Business, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Web Marketing Research, Part 1



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