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7 Tips to a Better Web Site for Newbie Webmasters
by Chrislyn @ GayAw

As a newbie, it is hard to know where to start.  Here are seven basic tips to lead you in the right direction when getting ready to display all of the content on your web pages.

1. Keep It Simple
Although your web site will draw a mix of viewers and readers, neither will enjoy your web site if the pages are too cluttered or the background glares too much. The quickest way to lose members is if your web pages give them a headache. When you plan your site, try to make sure it is organized. Stay away from crooked designs until you are more familiar with design tactics.  You may also want to avoid frames since many surfers just don't like them.

2. Be Consistent
Try to keep fonts, background colors and styles similar on each web page.  This allows your members to navigate easily through your web site.  People want to find what they are looking for, and they want to find it quickly.  If they find that it is too hard to navigate through your site, they will find another site. Be sure that you provide a navigator for your members to move around on each page.  The navigator should be placed in the same locale on each page.

3. Learn HTML
If you really want to learn web design, don't just rely on templates and HTML programs.  Learning the HTML language itself will allow you to manipulate the code to do exactly what you want. The average user still operates a modem.  Learn HTML will give you ways of decreasing your site's load time.  The longer a member waits, the more likely he will move on. Use your search engine to locate one of the many free sites on the web with interactive HTML tutorials (like www.htmlgoodies.com).  Also, if you find a site you like, view source  and look at how the HTML is done on that site.  It will help give you ideas for designing your own.

4. Always Use Descriptive Titles and Meta Tags Before Submitting to Search Engines
Search engines rank and list your web pages based on these descriptions.  If your web page has a good story on it advertise the story and the picture in your Meta Tag and titles. If you are using a template.  Try using a free Meta Tag generator.  Depending on which generator you choose, you may want to go back and delete any advertisement placed in the description by the generator.  Some free generators are offered to direct traffic to their own sites. 

5. Request Content From Your Readers
Although pictures may have too much liability, many surfers are willing to write letters in exchange for small fees or subscriptions.  Quality content drives traffic to your web site by improving your standing with the search engines and keeping the attention of the traffic you have already earned. Make sure that you explain that their letters may be edited and that your site gains all rights to publishing the letters once submitted.

6. Specialize
Although you may know that you want to offer a gay site, take time to find out what kinds of sites are already available. Choose a site that you don't see or choose something that there is not a lot of competition on.  In writing you will find magazines that cater to popping cherries, older guy takes a younger guy, college exploration, et cetera.  You need to choose a specialty in order to know who is your audience and therefore keep the traffic coming as well as checking back.  It will make it easier to name the site and to search out the content your members want to see.

7.  If All Else Fails, Invest
If you are having a hard time with design, take the time to price designers.  There are web page designers who are willing to work with your growing business. Some of the sites that host web pages will have better templates available when you pay for your web space as a preferred member. Some will even help you design for a fee.  This will help your web site business by getting rid of annoying banners and make your site look better, thereby attracting and keeping more traffic. Also, it helps to hire a proofreader or copy editor to review your letters and pages for errors if grammar is not your strong point.

These are seven basic things to keep in mind when planning your web site.  People like stability.  Keep your web pages up and build upon them and the traffic will keep coming back. Good luck on your new web sites.
 
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