Some of us do it every year, but if you are anything like me then you don’t end up keeping them very long; New Year’s resolutions. This post came about thanks to the huge number of iWeb sites I take a look at on a weekly basis. It is supposed to be a lighthearted, slightly serious but tongue in cheek look at a few ways you can possibly improve your iWeb site over 2010.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not class myself as the world’s leading authority on web design and I know I am not perfect, but I do feel I know a little of what is good in web design and what isn’t.
1. Stop using the Darkroom theme inappropriately. This (for me) is one of the most frustrating things I see when I look at an iWeb. Many of you write me e-mails asking to carry out a review of your iWeb sites and the amount of you who use the Darkroom theme is amazing. I admit, it is a nice cool theme, but if you are a country n western singer, a hotel or even a dog kennel think about what image you want to portray and pick a different theme accordingly. In reality this isn’t restricted to just the Darkroom theme but it is the most common one used.
2. Lose the animated GIFs. These were ‘big’ in 1999, they are not ‘big’ now. Please, please please stop using animated gifs.
3. Create a sitemap and register with Google webmaster tools. Once you have set up our iWeb site and published it to the www for all to see don’t just sit back on your laurels and expect Google to find your site after half an hour. It won’t happen! Register an account with Google’s webmaster tools, create an XML sitemap and register your site with Google. Then sit back and wait. Be warned, it can take months!
4. Look for inspiration in non-iWeb designers portfolios. Just because a web designer isn’t using iWeb doesn’t mean you can’t look at their portfolio for inspiration. In fact you don’t have to stick with one designer, there are loads of CSS galleries on the www now to take a look at and the majority of them are achievable in iWeb. That doesn’t mean go out and copy them exactly though, just make your iWeb look a little different. Check out CSS Drive, CSS Elite and Best Web Gallery for starters.
5. Sort your iWeb site’s colors out! There are many services available to web designers now that allow you to pick a suitable color palette for your web site. Adobe’s Kuler is one of the best and I use it a lot, especially when I am designing iWeb themes. Once you have a color palette stick to it. You don’t need anymore than 4 or 5 colors.
6. Name you iWeb site properly. You know when you give your iWeb site a name (on the left-hand side of iWeb!!) and then that name appears in the URL address bar of a browser, make the name something short and memorable. Use a keyword or 2. Do not call it (for example) ‘the_personal_web_site_ of_Fred_Bloggs_from_London_England’ because that looks really rubbish in the address bar. If you must give your iWeb site a long and pointless name speak to your web hosting company about domain masking.
7. Don’t embed video directly into your iWeb site. Okay I know that iMovie and iWeb work seamlessly together (most of the time) but you will really save your page loadings times by uploading your video to YouTube, Vimeo or any of the other video sharing sites and linking back to them on your iWeb site. Not only that but it saves space on your server.
8. Download and use Rage’s iWeb SEO tool. This is not a cheap plug and I’m not being paid. If you want keywords and Google analytics in your iWeb site quickly and easily you cannot do any better than the iWeb SEO tool from Rage Software. And it’s completely FREE!! (Oh and wait until you see what’s coming in the next update!)
9. Change the default images. There are some fairly nice photos that come with the default iWeb themes, I am the first to admit that, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them for your iWeb-site. It only takes a few seconds of dragging and dropping to update a photo in an iWeb site and then at least you bring a bit of individuality to the site without much effort (which is what iWeb is supposed to do).
10. Don’t upload a blank or unfinished page. If you have big plans for your iWeb site and know just what you want on every page of the theme you are going to use but just haven’t got round to adding it all yet then don’t upload the page. There is nothing worse than clicking on the pages in a nav-bar than to be taken to empty page after empty page. If you have nothing to say, don’t upload it. If the only reason you uploaded an iWeb site is to show a domain name as active then just upload one page saying something along the lines of ‘This iWeb site is still being built, call back soon or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org’.
Have you made any iWeb New Year resolutions? Why not leave a comment and let us know what you plan for your iWeb site in 2010.