How To Make a Winning Site Tips
Reading these tips might help you set up a website that is ready to win the BTDesign Awards.
- Your site must offer something interesting for most people, not just those who know you. I particularly appreciate sites that show a clear interest in sharing information, research results and cultural topics in a easy to understand and friendly way. A personal webpage offering the owner's own poetry, drawings, thoughts and family and pet photos can be a winner if this material is objectively good - be critical to yourself - and presented in quite an original way.
- Adding images is surely helpful to keep the visitor on your page. If you have a site presenting an ethological research on ducks, adding some duck images will attract also those visitors which are not really interested in the "imprinting" but do love those cuties and maybe collect duck images.
- Copyright - When using material which is not your creation give credit to the author and always respect copyright. You have the right also to ask respect for your own work which is displayed on your site. Add a copyright note on an easy to find place, preferably on your main page. If you use linkware or free material add a banner or a text link to the author's site. You can also use ALT tags to add information about a graphic's copyright.
- Suitable content - Almost all award programs disqualify sites that deal with pornography, racism, hatred, warez (pirated software, movies, mp3's) and other content which is internationally considered illegal so if your site belongs to the dark side of the Internet you'd better not apply for web awards.
On the other hand, if you maintain a site dealing with subjects like eroticism, politics and religions remember opinions do vary much on these arguments. The best way to present them is keeping in mind commons sense and legality. Freedom of speech and criticism are always accepted as long as you are extremely respectful of the cultural differences and the various and personal views of your perspective visitors.
A site presenting a total degradating view of sex is quite different from another site offering artistic nude paintings or photos. A serious political debate is different from mere propaganda, like historical research is different from negationism and distortion of reality or religious criticism is different from hatred, falseness and insult.
- Ease of navigation and good organization - Don't make me and other visitors get lost in your site. Use a navigator or a menu and also text links on your pages. Put links to all the different sections of your site on your main page and make sure we can always return to the home page from everywhere in your site for choosing another section to visit.
If you have an award program do not hide it around but place an easily identifiable link on your home page.
- External links - It is recommendable to use a "target=_blank" option, that is open a new page for external links. This will offer your visitors another page to visit thus not leaving your site. On the other hand, all internal links should preferably open in the same page.
- Dead links - A 404 Error occurs when one of your site's pages if not found on server. This is quite annoying and is caused by a link pointing to a inexistent page. Check if all your links are working properly. Sometimes the 404 is caused by a page which is incorrectly named, like "page.htm" instead of "page.html" for example, or a page you removed. If the link points to an external resource the 404 might occur because the site doesn't exist anymore. A wonderful free tool for checking internal and external links is Xenu by Tilman Hausherr.
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