The design of your website is crucial to the success of your
ebook publishing business.
People have gotten wise to Internet amateurism and a poor
looking website will turn many visitors off buying. Similarly, a
site that lacks focus and tries to be too many things to too
many people will not have visitors scrambling to give hand over
their credit-card details.
In short, if your website is to succeed, it must inspire visitor
confidence, be clear about its purpose and give off a general
air of success.
Fortunately, you don't need specialist training in web design to
create an effective and professional website. Just keep it
SIMPLE and keep it FOCUSED and you'll make life easier for both
yourself and your visitors.
Here are 27 things you can do that will give your website a
1. Aim to capture your visitors' interest as soon as they arrive
on your page. It's important that you let them know IMMEDIATELY
what they'll find on your site and what they gain by being
there. Try to come up with an opening headline that will capture
the attention of those people you're trying to reach.
2. Be consistent in your design. Each page should have the same
fonts (text style), the same navigation links, the same general
layout, the same color scheme, etc.
3. Choose your colors carefully. Don't put inappropriate colors
together. I read an article recently that suggests that
designers should look at the colors they're putting together on
their web page and ask themselves if they would put wallpaper
with that color scheme in their living-room.
4. Use a plain color background (i.e. no fancy textures or
designs). Make sure your text contrasts STRONGLY with your
background color -- black text on a white background is the best
5. Optimize your pages to download quickly. Avoid using
excessively large images (both in terms of memory size and
actual on-screen size). Images which are too large will slow the
download time of your page, often look bad and are usually
6. Don't make your pages any longer than they need to be. Pages
that scroll down forever can be tiresome and, unless they're
well written, keeping your visitor's interest is difficult. Be
sure that you NEED everything on the page. It's worth critically
examining the contents of a page, sentence by sentence, and ask
yourself which stuff is really necessary and which stuff can be
7. Don't be afraid of empty space. Don't clutter up your page
with loads of 'stuff'. If it's not essential leave it out. You
can draw attention to the important things by giving them space
to breath rather than making them big or loud.
8. Be sure to put a link to your home page on every page of your
site. Links marked 'Back' are no good to people who've arrived
directly onto one of your pages from a search engine.
9. Include your contact information (company name, address, link
to contact page and perhaps even tel./fax. numbers) at the
bottom of each page of your site. This will save visitors having
to search for it, and it will reassure them that you're a real
and credible business.
10. Don't put a graphic counter on your page. People will not
buy from a site that has something like "Visitors since 1998:
00001471" in a glaring graphic at the bottom of the page. Just
don't do it. You'll have all the statistics you need about your
visitors from your webhost (or third-party stats services like
11. Don't clutter your home page with banners, ads, and
unnecessary graphics. Less is definitely more in website design.
If you want to place ads on you site keep it to a minimum -
especially on your home page (maximum 2 banners - preferably
none). These only take up valuable download time and distract
your visitors from your central product(s).
12. Make sure your site works well with the main browsers and
screen resolutions. Verify that you've no broken or outdated
13. Check and double-check your spelling and your grammar.
Mistakes on this front will kill a sale quicker than you can say
"How do you spell disastor?".
14. Don't even consider putting background music on your site.
Nothing sends visitors running away faster than a woeful,
repetitive midi file tinkling away in the background.
15. Avoid overusing gadgets - again if you don't need it and
your visitors have nothing to gain from it, leave it out. There
are very few gadgets that impress nowadays. If you want to
impress your visitors give them clear information on clearly
laid-out pages that download quickly.
16. Your navigation bar should contain links to the MAIN pages
of your site only. Links to additional sub-pages can be made
from those main pages. Try to ensure that nothing on your site
is farther than three clicks away from your home page.
17. If you're using graphics for your main navigation links, you
should consider including text links also (at the bottom of the
page, for example). This will be appreciated by visitors who
can't (or don't want to) download graphics. Also, Search Engine
Robots can only follow text links, so if you only have graphic
links they will not be able to get to the other pages of your
18. Don't put 'under construction' signs on a page. If it's not
finished don't make it accessible.
19. Keep Your Links Honest. Don't put a link that says "Click
here for a free gift" that actually sends your visitor to
another site that is offering nothing for free.
20. Use CAPITAL LETTERS sparingly to highlight important words.
DON'T TYPE LARGE BLOCKS OF TEXT ALL IN CAPITALS. IT MAKES YOUR
TEXT HARD TO READ AND LOOKS AWFUL. YOUR VISITORS WILL NOT WANT
TO READ IT. IF YOU WANT TO HIGHLIGHT SOMETHING IMPORTANT, TRY
USING SPACE OR COLOR INSTEAD.
21. Don't put large blocks of text in BOLD. You should use bold
text sparingly, for emphasis or for headings.
22. Don't UNDERLINE any text on your page. People will think
it's a link (that isn't working).
23. If you have links incorporated in your text, make sure
they're visible. The best way to get your links noticed is to
use the standard blue-underlined link look.
24. Avoid the use of frames (i.e. when the screen is broken into
two or more parts). These add a whole heap of complications that
you can do without.
25. Avoid using one of those 'Click here to enter' entry pages.
They're a waste of your visitor's time.
26. Get others (who have some experience with surfing the
Internet) to check out your site. Did they find it easy to
understand? Did they find it appealing to the eye? Did they get
lost or find themselves stumbling into a dead end? Would they
feel confident buying from a site like yours? Leave a message at
webmaster forums asking fellow website designers to give a look
at your site and make comments.
27. Concentrate on keeping things as simple as possible -- both
for you AND for your visitors.
About the author:
Michael Hopkins is owner of BizzyDays eBook Publications. Visit
now to download original ebooks for FREE at:
http://www.bizzydays.com This article first appeared in
Michael's newsletter 'Ebook Times'. To subscribe visit: