* Effective Web Site Design, Development, and Graphics Since 1996 *

How's Your Site Today?

Shirley Kaiser, Editor
January 2002
Vol. 3, No. 1

Copyright © 2002. Shirley E. Kaiser, M.A. All rights reserved.

Welcome to all the new subscribers! This is an opt-in only newsletter, so if you're receiving this, it's because you subscribed through the SKDesigns Web site or by email. If you do wish to unsubscribe, you can unsubscribe via email or via our site.

I value and welcome your input. Send me topic suggestions, questions, comments, whatever is on your mind regarding this newsletter. Please contact me at any time.

Latest News at SKDesigns and WebsiteTips.com

Site Redesign for SKDesigns

There's a fresh new look to SKDesigns! Content has also been streamlined, and the behind-the-scenes markup takes better advantage of current technology with XHTML and CSS (style sheets). Feel free to check out the redesign!

For more details about why and how, I wrote an article about the redesign process at my daily column, aka weblog, Brainstorms & Raves, When is it Time for a Redesign?

WebsiteTips.com News

Books and Software Recommendations!
All during the fall and into the winter here in California, we've been busily adding book and software recommendations to corresponding sections at WebsiteTips.com.

Here's one that I wholeheartedly recommend to my clients, designers or developers:
Don't Make Me Think!
A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
by Steve Krug

And for Web designers, I especially recommend
The Art and Science of Web Design
by Jeffrey Veen

You'll find many more recommendations throughout WebsiteTips.com now, and a WebsiteTips.com store is slated for later this year, too.

New Categories and Sections!

Several new categories have been added this fall to WebsiteTips.com at websitetips.com following its major expansion this past summer:

On to this issue's newsletter....

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Introduction

The beginning of the new year is a good time to think about a plan for your Web site for 2002. How can you make the most of your site and within your budget? This issue will cover some checkpoints.

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Changing Technology

Like home maintenance, it's good to give your site a check-up regularly, learn about the latest trends and where things are headed, and consider your Web site maintenance budget for the coming year.

For example, during this past year new browsers do a much better job implementing W3C recommendations and browser standards. Why does that matter? You need to make sure your markup is standards compliant to not only continue to be viewed in older browsers but also on the newer browsers and forward. Doing so provides far more versatility, accessibility, and other benefits, including improved visitor experience and access. It makes good sense, just like having your car tuned up regularly.

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Establishing Goals

Have you thought about your site for this new year ahead? Do you have any goals established? Do you have some new ideas? Last January I reviewed some things to consider for the coming year, and they still apply:

Things to Consider:

  • Where would you like to see your Web site by the end of the year?
  • Learn what needs to be done to accomplish the above.
  • Set up realistic time frames to accomplish your goals.
  • Follow through.

Things to Do:

  • Keep your content fresh and alive.
  • Make sure your site works well with the latest browsers and with older versions (based on your stats and specific needs).
  • Promote your site online and off.

In figuring out your goals for the coming year, it's also important to evaluate where your site is right now, which we'll talk about next.

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How's Your Site?

Is your site in good shape right now? Here are some items to consider.

Content:

  • How's your content?
  • Especially on the main page, is your content current and fresh?
  • Do you have a good copywriter who writes compelling content?

Site traffic:

  • How are your search engine rankings?
  • Are you pleased with your traffic from search engines?
  • What about your other marketing and the overall picture of bringing in visitors to your site?

Visual appeal?

  • How does your site look?
  • Is it fresh and alive?
  • Does it maintain interest and bring return visitors?
  • Some sites don't look out of date even if they were designed two or more years ago. Other sites look worn and tired in less than a year, they look horrible in certain browsers, or may not even work in other browsers.
  • Does it give a great first impression?
  • What kind of impression does your site give overall?

Feedback?

  • How's the feedback about your site?
  • Do people complain about getting lost at your site or not finding what they're looking for?
  • Do they complain about broken links or wrong information?
  • Do you get rave reviews and lots of praise?

Site maintenance?

  • Does your site have any broken links?
  • Stale content?
  • Do you have new information that hasn't been added to your site?
  • Outdated HTML markup with lots of hacks that won't be forward compatible?

Goals Met?

  • Has your site accomplished what you'd hoped during the past year?
  • If so, is there anything to be done to make it even better?
  • And if not, do you know why not and what can be done about it?

So, how does your site fare?
Is it in good shape?
Do you have some rust and dust to remove?
Is your site meeting its goals?

Perhaps your site is in great shape, perhaps you need some updating, or perhaps you're due for an overhaul. If you're wondering whether you need a redesign or if you just need some updating, feel free to read my article about why SKDesigns was recently redesigned, When is it Time for a Redesign?

For some sites I've recommended redesigns starting from scratch, while other sites I've recommended just small updates. So each site truly needs to be evaluated on its own merits, needs, goals, and budget.

I wish you all the best of success with your Web sites, plans, and goals for this new year, and a memorable year ahead.

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That's all for this edition. I hope you've found this information helpful. If you have questions, let me know. I'd also be happy to address them in future issues! I invite and encourage your feedback.

Best wishes,

Shirley Kaiser
Owner, SKDesigns
and WebsiteTips.com

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Also available by SKDesigns:
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