Sure, if you build it, they will come. Here are 10 tips to keep them coming back.
1. Keep it small.
The total size of a Web page should generally be 50 KB or less, to accommodate the majority of Web users who have relatively slow modems. The size of each page equals that of its HTML file plus the sizes of all the images.
2. Keep it simple.
Use two fonts and just a few colors. More is messy.
3. Keep it consistent.
A clean, coherent look makes a site easier to navigate. For example, don't put links on the top of one page and on the bottom of another.
4. Give it a byline.
Identify yourself and provide contact information on your home page, so visitors know who is responsible for the site.
5. Include dates.
If you're publishing time-sensitive documents, such as market reports or product descriptions, put the original publishing date at the top of the page.
6. Plug the plug-ins.
If your site requires plug-ins, include links to sites where visitors can download them.
7. Avoid frames.
These multiple boxes for scrolling are a design eyesore, and will prevent visitors with incompatible browsers from correctly viewing your site.
8. Check compatibility.
Look at your pages in different screen resolutions and in different browsers. There are tens of millions of people on the Web, and they don't all use the same setup.
9. Avoid "Under Construction" signs.
Web sites are always under construction. Just post a note that announces when your site will next be updated.
10. Keep a backup.
Sure, my site resides on a monster computer at the hosting service, but no computer is invulnerable to hiccups. Keep a copy of your site on your own machine.
A version of this article appeared in the June/July 1998 issue of Fast Company magazine.