50+ Key Points for Your Homestead Website

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Thanks for viewing this message. I thought it might be helpful to have a list of things to consider as we build our Homestead websites. So I’ve spent a few hours condensing some of my design standards into the below key points for your quick reference purposes. I hope you can rip through them, and occasionally refer back to them as needed:
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Posted 5 years ago

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Color Scheme

- Choose up to 3 colors that work well with your logo, theme, etc
- As needed, use different shades of those same colors for tasteful variation
- Maximize your aesthetic influence to captivate your audience and drive sales
- Taken for granted, poor choices may cause your visitors to lose interest
- Keep it consistent and pleasing to the eye throughout your site

Background

- Use neutral colors and/or subtle patterns by today’s standard
- When matching your color scheme, be sure not to distract from content
- Tiled images are a bust with the exception of seamless patterns
- Keep it consistent with the general styling of your design

Page Headers (and/or general header area)

- Likely to convey the overall quality of your site
- Typically consist of wide images by today’s standard
- May alternatively include other eye-catching graphics
- Include your phone, business hours, and/or locale for convenience
- Are a pinnacle from which to place your logo on display

Logos

- Are simplistic by today’s standards
- A must for being recognized above your competitors
- May include concept graphics, or be implemented as text only
- Done well, are effective even without taglines
- Should make a lasting impression!

Call to Action

- Easily implemented with buttons
- The “X” Factor in customer conversions
- To be notably displayed on your homepage, and as otherwise necessary
- Encourage visitors to shop, download, subscribe, contact, etc
- Focus: What should be your visitor’s next action?

Connectivity

- Blog to provide important updates
- Guestbooks enable visitors to post positive feedback
- Contact buttons and forms provide a quick messaging option
- Add a “Subscribe” option for your newsletter or video channel
- Now throw in some social media icons... Boom!

Domain Names

- Should never be disclosed until secured through a registrar
- Correlate with the name of the individual or entity to which a site’s devoted
- The fewer characters used, the better for marketing purposes
- Afford professional email address personalization

Building Trust

- Use reputable payment integrations and ecommerce systems only
- Provide information about yourself, your organization, mission, and/or locale
- Present your credentials, experience, networks and/or trade associations, etc
- Getting good reviews?.. Publish comments from your satisfied customers
- Got VIP’s?.. Sometimes (especially locally) it’s about “who” you know!

Layout

- Create well-balanced pages with highly visible navigation
- All pages should be “properly centered” and the “same width” throughout
- Consistent content alignment prevents jumpy page shifts during navigation
- Limit page widths to common screen resolutions - no horizontal scrolling!

Content (in general)

- Focus: Minimalist design by today’s standard
- Please avoid lengthy pages to appease the short attention spans
- As needed, compress and/or resize images to prevent slow page loads
- Text color should contrast with its background for the visually impaired
- Limit off-topic content and advertisements to sidebars and footers
- Minimize the need to navigate for higher customer conversion

Content (specific to index page)

- Honestly, is your homepage “really” interesting?
- Try to grab their attention as soon as your homepage has loaded!
- Pictures are worth a thousand words, especially when added to image sliders
- Challenge: Clarify your product or service onscreen (before having to scroll)
- Written content focus: What makes you stand out from the crowd?

SEO

- A critical element to your success online!
- Keeping pages organized and uncluttered with extras is a necessity
- Use (actual) page names and inviting descriptions under “Page Settings”
- 250+ word minimum on homepage, 100+ word minimum per page thereafter
- Ensure that written content is relevant to each page to boost keyword density
- And tricking the search engines?.. Don’t even think about it!




Make no mistake, this is by no means an all-inclusive list of solutions to our design issues. It is simply a way to highlight some things that may be missed during the design process. But more importantly, it’s a way to get us to really think about how to design our websites more effectively, rather than simply adding text, images, and other content to pages, as there are inherent differences between the two.

By the way, I’m no expert so don’t be fooled (LOL)! Please let me know what I missed. And if you have any ideas, then I look forward to you contributing to the list.

SiteBuilderPros
Thanks in advance if you 'd this post!
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Thanks Mike! As time permits, I'd appreciate it if you'd elaborate some (post links, etc) on SEO using the "Reply" option - that is of course, if you don't mind.
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Mike F., Alum

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Absolutely!
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Sorry to put you on the spot, but I know from some of your other posts that you're well-versed in this area of design, LOL!
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And I hope that other members elaborate on whatever may be their strong suit as well.
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SEO and web design go hand in hand and ideally a site should be constructed with that in mind.
Here is a web site design checklist : http://www.homesteadconnection.com/We...
For SEO for SiteBuilder sites: http://www.seobuildingblocks.com
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Mike F., Alum

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This is a great post and I think each category above deserves a discussion. I'll start by commenting on the Logo and Color scheme. A lot of people select a template or color scheme first, then try to force their logo into it and never really achieve that memorable or professional look.

A better approach to starting your site is to begin with the logo. If you can't come up with a good logo on your own, it's probably worth hiring a pro to design one for you. Choose a logo as described above, then use a tool like the one on this site: http://www.degraeve.com/color-palette/ as a resource for selecting a color scheme for the rest of your site.

I hope this helps!

Mike
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Awesome link! Whenever I ditch my landing page and publish my revamped site, I plan on offering logo and other discounted design services. Better get busy I guess.. way past due!
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Mike F., Alum

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Here's some great supporting information on color schemes.
http://www.homestead.com/blog/07/2013...
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Regarding SEO, It's a great idea to do a little SEO research before you dive in too deep with the construction of the site. Much of the SEO work can be done during the initial building stage. Learning a little about SEO up front, can keep you from redoing much of your site later on. Visit this blog for some great SEO tips that just about anyone can do. http://www.homestead.com/blog/05/2013...

If you struggle with some of the more technical things, you may want to take a look at this SEO ebook. https://community.homestead.com/homes... It does sell for $50 but will be the best $50 a novice webmaster can spend when it comes to marketing a site.

Anyone who wants the ebook can reply here and I can contact you personally for the details.

Thanks!
Mike
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You're killing it Mike.. and I'm taking notes! Thanks so much!
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Welcome aboard Drew! What I like about parties is that there's always room for one more, especially admins. For future reference if you further elaborate on any of the above key points, you might want to use the "Reply" option.. if you know what I mean ;)

Thanks so much!
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Drew N, Community Manager

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Excellent point, I moved it.

Drew
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Smart move, LOL!
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Clearly with you providing this kind of supporting info, this has the potential to become one of those monster threads!
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Drew N, Community Manager

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Good morning and sorry for being slow to the party. This really is great stuff. Thanks for posting it. My biggest, clarification, really, is that while a picture is worth a thousand words to your site visitor, it is extremely important to remember that to the search engines content is king. That means text. Any word(s) you could want to be searched by, must be in the natural flow of your website's text content. Get the search engines interested and more folks will come and see those pictures.

Thanks

Drew
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Drew N, Community Manager

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I love this thread and I hope tons of people are reading it and just not posting, but I want it back up in the recent activity, as it really is excellent stuff.  Everyone that is doing it themselves can benefit.

So a little more I thought about.  When naming and describing pages, don't forget to actually name the page file something appropriate to the page content.

Also short domain names are better in some ways, but slipping keywords into the domain name can be a great help.

ex:  icansellyouipadscheaperthaneveryoneelseontheplanetnomatterwhatyouread.com is not a good domain name, even if it is true.  A better name would be cheapipads.com, or something similar.

Thanks

Drew
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Needing Help.


I am building my first website to market and display unique jewelry. I am having a struggle choosing layout. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to find what i am looking for? There is no option specifically for jewelry that I see
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Mike F., Alum

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This is a common question. Before you choose a template, review the content on this thread and you'll have a better idea of what to use for a template.
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Recipe template?.


I'm just setting up my website and I need a great template for recipe's and for archiving those recipes, along with a search engine so that recipe's can be searched by ingredient. Any idea how I can go about finding that?
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I recommend reading this thread before selecting a template as it will give you a lot of information on which way to go. As far as a way to archive recipes and have them searchable by a search engine, it could be more complex. Are you wanting a search feature that searches your site, or are you referring to the major search engines ie. Google, Yahoo, Bing etc?
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Thanks for commenting so fast! It would be a search engine just within my website. Let's say someone wanted to make a dish with chicken in it and based on what recipes I had within my website, it would pull those up.
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Having your own personal search engine would require some pretty intensive custom work with a search tool that queries a database. This is something that is not feasible for the average DIY webmaster. My recommendation is to research Google's Customer Search Engine to see if it will meet your needs. https://www.google.com/cse/
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Emma

You wrote recipes once, and recipe's twice. Obviously this is a word that will be appearing on your site frequently; best to make a habit of getting it right.
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
What page can I use for Catering Services?.


Im looking for a Catering sercive page that can help me out on my website, and give me an idea of it.
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Mike F., Alum

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It's really hard for us to recommend a template without consulting with you first. This thread is usually very helpful. If you read the tips above I'm sure it will help.

Mike
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ggryak59477942

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Confused what to pick.


I sell foreign cd's and dvd's by mail order, I don't know what template would suit this purpose
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Mike F., Alum

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Every business tends to have it's own style, but if you read this thread it will probably help you out.

Mike
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Mike F., Alum

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It's hard for us to tell you which template to use, as every business seems to have it's own style. I think if you read through this thread, you'll find it helpful in getting started.

Mike
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
i am new to all this and need help with it all.


i rely need help in getting started with all this can some one give me some ideas
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Getting Traffic.


I signed up for the traffic booster on October 12th (approx. 5 wks ago) and have not seen ANY traffic to my site. I've done as much as I know how according to Google Webmaster Tools but I keep thinking I'm missing something- HTML markups or other pertinent steps. Would like some guidance and insight, please?
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This thread is about design, but has some search engine hints too. You want at least 3 pages, with at least 250 words of original content on each page.

If the content is copy/pasted from a source, you want to personalize it significantly. Many people used sourced material. Search engines see that and then penalize you for not being original.

Hope this helps improve things, but keep in mind that building page rank is very difficult and can take many months, depending on your location, business type, and the competition and what they are doing.

Drew
I'm new to the website and feel overwhelmed. I know what I want but it's hard to visualize it. I want a website the lets people know that with "IB AT UR SERVICE UR WATER QUALITY COMPANY" you will be able to relax because IB will be at ur service. I need help with piggybacking off the website templates listed. I saw that you said that it will be hard to get good search engine ratings if I copy and paste. And that's what I've been playing with.
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If you really have no idea of where to start, and you feel overwhelmed, you are not alone. Many first time website builders feel the same way. My advice is to first decide what your real goals are for this website. If this is a serious business which you want to do everything possible to make it succeed, then I would consider having the site build, and optimized by a professional. Weather you choose Homestead to do this for you, or you find your own designer, it is often worth the extra money to get off on the right start. I have seen too many people fail because the learning curve takes too long and some people go years paying for a website that has never paid them back because it was not designed professionally, and/or could not be found on the search engines.

If you would like to speak with one of our consultants, you can reply here and I'll arrange for someone to call you.

Mike
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
taxi?.


taxi templates
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Mike F., Alum

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We don't really have any templates that are that specific, however, if you read through the items above, it will give you some good ideas for getting started.
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
new templetes.


hello

I am reconstructed one of my sites and building another. I was told that once my system was upgraded I would have many choices for templetes to use to build my site however when I click on it to change it there are only 6 choices for animals can you help Mary 406-581-5486
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Mike F., Alum

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You may want to start with reading this thread as there are some very good ideas here. Once you find a template with the color scheme, layout, etc then it's very easy to change the look by removing the stock photos and replacing them with your own, or some from our image library.
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Hello. Which design would be best suited for building a corporate website..


I am just looking to build a site specifically for CPA network affiliates to get information on who I am and what I do. I will only be sending them here for the approval process. It will basically be used as a resume in a sense. I would like it to be a corporate built site for professional look. Thank you.
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jacobitz7335

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
setting up my online buisness.


how to create a good domain? how to get traffic? how to put my pop ups on other sites? how to make the money? how to transfer it into my bank.
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Mike F., Alum

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The tips above are a good place to start. When it comes to marketing (pop-up ads) etc. then you may want to speak with one of our advisors. There are dozens of things that can be done but the best strategy depends on every business and it's goals.

Let us know if you would like to speak to an advisor and we'll arrange for someone to call you.
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Shonte1048

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
bbq.
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Mike F., Alum

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It's difficult for us to recommend a template to anyone without a discussion, but this page has some great advice for getting started.

Mike
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Harry4020

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
how do i start building my web site.
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
I make and sell jewelry. I want to know the best template to compliment my business. Please help..


In your catagory list you only list retailer that would fit my business. We make and sell wire wrapped and hand beaded jewelry. What templates would best suit my business?
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Mike F., Alum

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All the templates are very customizable so you can use almost any template. If you view the items above, this will give you some good ideas and things to think about as you select a template and begin the construction of the site.

Mike
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
good web page for singer entertainer with different venues.


good setup with guest page and upcomming events
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Hi cpet10124, and welcome to the community,

It looks like you are just getting started.  Give this topic a read.  It will help you get going.

Drew