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Pictures Sell Products

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I often assist or have conversations with people who want to sell their inventions, products or collectables online and too be perfectly honest, a lot of the time I am underwhelmed at the images we use on those websites. When I receive them and ask if they have any others the general reaction is similar to the one I have when I step bare footed into a cat hairball. Unpleasant.

There seems to be three main reasons, but let's be honest they are really just excuses, for shoddy images and I wanted to go over them individually and debunk each one of them here today. You spent some decent money on that website so let's make sure it can do its job properly by looking its best.

Your Website Isn't Doing Its Job. Now What?

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A good portion of the time when I'm contacted to look at a website that's performing poorly the owner will have a tendency to want to throw the baby out with the bathwater and start from scratch.

There are a lot sites that come across my screen with their fair share of issues; code that doesn’t follow web standards, JavaScript drop-down menus, unorganized content and more but I rarely, if ever throw everything away. Even with the worst search rankings, unless you're not listed at all, it's easier to lift up poor performing pages than it is to rank new ones without some help from existing content.

The Fold Does Not Exist...Not Really

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When I create a website home page I use it as a mapping tool. It should have just enough information to tell you what the page is about with links to other pages of the site for more information.

With so many pages indexed by search engines it stands to reason that any page can become the landing page and my projects are designed with that in mind. So to a degree the home page, while still important, caries much less weight alone than all the other pages as a whole.

Occasionally when I submit a home page design a client will approve it based on their idea that the visitor will see all the information fit within their screen. It's not until it becomes a web page that they realize this isn't necessarily the case and we have to have a conversation about the fold.

What Makes A Good Website

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When people find out I am a web developer, one of the first things website owners will ask me is if I have some time to  look at their site and see if it's any good. My follow up question to them is usually, "What do you mean?".

Most of the time when someone asks me to look at their site it's because it's not performing as well as they had hoped, for one reason or another and are trying to find a solution.

Looks comes up a lot. But the way a site looks really has nothing to do with how it performs. I have seen some rather poorly designed and unsavory sites do great things for their owners. I have also seen some really well designed sites perform very poorly.

There are some factors that determine whether a website is "good" or not. Let's go over them.

The Old Web Development Model Is Broken!

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It’s time to change the way we think about maintaining websites. As most often is the case, a client will call on me every few years and say "We need a new website". This often becomes an expensive and massive undertaking even on a small website because almost every aspect of the site is now outdated. Instead of making minor changes to the site I end up having to throw everything out and start over.

By encouraging this behavior of 'the four year silence' as I call it, I don’t feel I'm giving my clients the service they deserve or should expect from me. I feel that to truly maintain a website I should meet with clients every two or three months and here are some reasons why.