Web Design and Development: The Right Tools for the Right Job

As any webmaster knows, designing and developing a website can be a daunting proposition. There are millions of websites out there to compete with, and whether your site's purpose is to promote your business, inform, or entertain; web design is an important consideration if you want traffic. It's tough to attract visitors and even tougher to keep them on your website once they arrive.

Fortunately, there are many tools out there for webmasters to make the tasks of design and development easier. Wading through the sea of web tools can also be a time-consuming process. In designing your website, you should be aware of all the components that go into successful development and how to use them to your best advantage.

The first step, other than developing great informative content for your visitors, is to put everything together in an attractive, user-friendly format. If you need a little help in manipulating HTML coding or CSS (cascade styling sheets).

Once your site is developed, you must then undertake the task of optimizing your website for search engines. There are many ways to do this. One is to use relevant keywords throughout your content and page tags--without overusing them--that will help visitors find your website when they're looking for information.

Another component of website optimization is getting your website listed with search engines. If search engines can't find your website, neither can visitors! After you have created great content with relevant keywords and lots of user-friendly extras, you should then begin the process of getting your website out there for people to find. You can submit your website URL and descriptions manually. Major search engines such as Google, MSN and Yahoo include links to their submission process for manual submission. However, these links can be difficult to find. You may want to consider using a search engine submission service to submit to several search engines at once; there are many good, free submission services that cover multiple search engines. It is important to remember that submitting your website once is not enough to get it noticed on the Internet radar. You should carry out the submission process on a regular basis. However, you also must realize that submitting your website too often can get your URL banned from some search engines. It is a good practice to submit to search engines every 30 days.

Beyond search engines, you should also list your website in as many relevant directories as you can find to increase your site's exposure. Strive to find directories that don't require linkbacks to your website for listings, because reciprocal links carry far less weight with search engines than strictly inbound links.

If you have multiple websites or long website URLs, another great tool for you to use is URL redirection. You can get a short, easy to remember and easy to post URL for your website that will sit well with search engines and make it simpler for you to advertise your websites on forums and in e-mail messages and signatures.

Tracking visitors to your website is another important aspect of running a successful site. You should install a web counter that is invisible to visitors, but allows you to find out where your traffic is coming from so you can concentrate your promotion in effective areas. For example, a good web counter will not only tell you how many hits your website receives, but whether they are new or returning visitors and how they found your website, whether through a directory, a search engine, or an e-mail promotion.

There are many components that figure in to web design and development. Today's webmaster is fortunate indeed to be able to find free tools for optimization and integration. Make your website interesting, interactive, and accessible to search engines through submissions and directories, and the visitors will come.

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