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Search Engine Optimization

Web Design Principles

These principles apply to individual pages as well as the entire site:

• Page loads quickly, ideal is 8 seconds, but NOT more than 20 seconds (at 28.8K)

• No more than 30K in text

• No more than 30K in total NEW (not previously loaded) graphics

• TITLE tag filled out with the most important search phrases

• TITLE tag is first tag in HEAD

• META tags exist and are filled out properly

• META tags are at the top of the page to have more weight with search engines

• Most important info is at top of page. Try to avoid LONG pages. Try to design page to fit everything in one screenful--(almost impossible!--but allows user to see everything at once)

• If styles are used, they should be in a separate .CSS file, so that the search engines can ignore them, and they are duplcated on each page.

• Simple arrangement of items on page, but not amateurish.

• Proper size fonts--not too big--not too small (Baby Boomers need bigger fonts now!)

• Valid HTML

• No FRAMES used

• Text on every page

• No JavaScript, Flash, Animated GIFs, unless absolutely necessary

• Clear, easy to use site navigation

• Navigation menus preferably on the right side of page for the following reasons:
    • Vision impaired visitors 'read' pertinent text first; menus last.

    • Page text is more prominent.  Menus that lead elsewhere, less so.

    • Search engines rank text 'closer to the top of page' higher.

    • 90% of people are right handed.  Menus are shorter distance.

• Visited links should change to another color so user easily knows which page has been viewed.

• No Scrolling Text, Marquees, and Constantly Running Animations

• Easy to understand URLs--Not complex--No special chars like '~'

• Standard color and easy to see link colors

• No Text, background, or table colors that are difficult to read, or are startling.

• Many fonts, italics, wide size variation or inconsistent fonts

• Current, accurate information

• Consistent look and feel across site

• No dead links

• Site map page

• Necessary information for each page:

    • Company Name
    • Address
    • Email
    • Phone
    • Copyright notice
    • Links to customer service/Contact Us
    • Link to site map
    • Company Logo

• Correct spelling, punctuation & grammar

• Graphics have an ALT tag

• Pages look almost identical in all browsers

• Clear, easy to read titles, headings, text, images--pleasant page layout, easy to view

• Marketing text should emphasize how the product or service BENEFITS THE READER/USER

• Testimonials with complete names

• Owner's photo

• Search box *IF* is a large site.  Searches should show links so that they can be bookmarked, i.e.: http://www.Google.com/search?q=us+webmasters

• Tables do not extend beyond a 640 pixel width, so scrolling left or right is not necessary

• Tables are not a set size, but rather expand to the full size of the monitor screen

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Here are some websites that we have designed, consulted on, or hosted:


Cruise Odysseys


Branson Condo


Dr. Heller
Mental Well Being

The Original Digger

John Baker Jewelry

Optical Energy

Casa Caribe


Central Iowa Delphi Users Group


Brezner Consulting

USW Start Page

San Luis Bay Inn


Twin Galaxies


"My husband and I own a small hotel near Cancun, Mexico and have had our website with US-Webmasters since September 1999.  The website is our only form of advertising and it keeps our hotel booked solid most of the year.  Site creation and hosting fees have been very reasonable for the quality work and reliable hosting.  Almost every guest comments on how much they liked the site, how easy it was to use and how easy to find.  We feel we have the best website around and have compared it to lots of other hotel websites.  US-Webmasters has also been pleasant and reliable to work with which is important to us doing business from a very long distance.

     -- Patti Davis, owner Casa Caribe, Puerto Morelos, Mexico

"Thanks for everything you are doing for us.  We really appreciate it.  When we first looked at our site, we were tickled pink.  We were extremely pleased with the quality of the site for the money we paid.  We are so happy we ran across you to help get our condo rental business going.  We know so little about computers it is scary--thanks for explaining things so clearly so we can understand them.

We have been showing off the site to all our friends and family.  A fellow condo owner was a bit jealous when he took a look.  A computer engineer friend of ours also was very impressed.  We seem to be getting good placement with the search engines already.  Thanks, US-Webmasters.  We've been very happy with the work you've done--you've really gone the extra mile for us--we love our website!."

     -- David and Nadine Bieker, Branson-Lodging.org

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