In today’s world when almost everything can be done online, website is a must for any business. The web absence of a company offering some services guarantees that it won't earn a lot. People look for your services on the web and visit your website. They buy your services online and they communicate with you on the web.
Every CEO who needs a website has thousands of questions. How should it look like? What should it contain? What a user can do there? Finally, what programming language should be chosen?
In this article you can find a number of concepts to remember and follow, and people will enjoy visiting your website and buying your services.
Make it simple
Even if you want to stuff your site with a maximum amount of information, data and content, on the main page a user must see no more than 3 or 4 sections. Multiple branches, the necessity of searching for basic components (such as a catalog or a show schedule): all these things destroy user's loyalty. Catchy but not extremely useful information has to be placed apart, in banners or contextual links. Mainstream sites with vertical scrolling can be a very nice example. Take a notebook and draw your site's mockup. Show it to your friends or colleagues and try to understand what your target users want to see first when they visit it.
Make it mobile-friendly
Mobile/smartphone traffic is increasing dramatically nowadays because of its simplicity, convenience and anyplace accessibility. In a little while mobile traffic will rich 50% line. That's great if your website appears on your smartphone as neatly as it does on your PC. However, the better way is to make a separate mobile version or even an application with additional functionality.
It doesn't depend on how much content and information you've posted on your site, there will always be a guy who wants to ask something. Just because he is too lazy to look through everything. Envisage FAQ, make a user-friendly feedback form, place contacts as handy as you can, and never, NEVER make a user fill a dozen of fields. Otherwise, you will lose your customer once and for all.
Interact with social networks
When you have a website that is good-looking and distinctive, offer to share it via Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter or to send an invitation to friends. If your site presupposes frequent content updates, offer adjustable subscriptions. Place links to your company profile on various resources, and communicate with your customers. Don't be obsessive, be attentive. Users can visit your site, add something to a cart but then change their mind or just postpone the decision. Remind about the unclosed order in a week, or when price for items in a cart will be lower. Suggest a light subscription with different sales and special offers (once per month is enough).
Search is above everything
Regardless to how perfect your site is, users visit it looking for particular items and good bargains. Direct your attention to the search field, implement key words selection, categories, make a huge drop-down with the best offers. The Search button has to be bright, big and catchy. All these tiny things will lead you to the top in the most important contest - The First Impression Contest.
Let's assume that you've already caught customer's attention. Now you have to keep it. Quick links to similar categories or pages, unique offerings, almost free little things - this is what I call “ right goods environment”. When you have a limitless number of items, you should carefully organize transition hierarchy so a user can rich anything it 3-4 clicks. And make a good search at last!
Paint it carefully
Let the website be your visiting card. Two or three colors are enough for a great site. They mustn't have an unpleasant effect upon user's eyes, your customer has to be able to look through it for hours without any discomfort. Who would like your concepts if the colors bring headache?
There is nothing worse than visiting a huge company's site, which had no updates for years. And nothing can save it in case there is no continuous productive work demonstration. Users want your site to work perfectly irrespective to screen resolution, browser or device. Obviously, they don't want to see misprints and invalid links. Check everything by yourself and/or hire a QA team.
Leave place for growth
Always consider that content can be translated into different languages, blocks can be grouped some other way and a principal can ask you to widen the functionality tomorrow. All successful projects require modern enhancements.
Adapt your site to people with physical disorders
For example, don’ t forget about people with poor eyesight. There are 124 million of such people worldwide. So why almost nobody understands that it's a huge amount of your business potential customers?
Technically, you can perform it by using a special patterns and a set of plugins. You can also have a duplicate of your site, which is suitable for poor eyesight, when a person can rich it by a simple redirection. First and foremost, it's a hyperlink unambiguously saying that it follows to the proper version of the page. Unfortunately, some place it such a way that even a person with perfect vision hardly can find it. The usual picture for such a link is an icon of an eye or a magnifier pic.
Well, let's assume that you already know how you website will look like. What vendor should you pick? Which programming language to choose?
The first thing to say is that there is no programming language that leaves others behind. Dominance of a language can be found only in the context of a particular task. But even this doesn't always work. A lot of tasks can be effectively solved with any modern programming language. It is more often that the choice of a language or framework is determined by knowledge of a software developer who will implement the project.
Programming language is just basic syntax with some limited standard libraries. Frameworks provide developers with different libraries, which make sites/applications creation much easier.
Irrespective to the programming language chosen, the core of any site is a hypertext markup language a.k.a. HTML.
ASP.NET vs PHP
PHP fairly is one of the most popular web programming language. The majority of web sites focused on large amount of data are developed on PHP. Likewise WordPress, this is a mainframe technology for extremely advanced and flexible content management systems.
PHP turned out to be considerably flexible and powerful, so it has gained wide popularity and now is used in projects of different scale from simple blogs to largest web applications. Its main benefits are the following: plain syntax, easiness to learn, enhanced database support.
There are numerous frameworks and CMS used with PHP. You even can start out working with a CMS without any knowledge about web programming. Among the most popular CMS you can find WordPress and Drupal.
Frameworks can save you from the need to rewrite basic website features over and over again. Web developer will only have to design and implement site-user interaction.
PHP is a script language created entirely for dynamic HTML output. This doesn't mean that you cannot create a huge project on it. This means that creating a huge project on PHP is expensive and challenging. PHP area is not big projects developed by a feathered team or even one person. Since PHP usage is free of charge, this language is an ideal choice for signature sites and sites for small or middle businesses.
Using ASP.NET, you can make web sites of any complexity from simple (several pages) to the most complicated ones with millions of queries per day. Key features of .NET are scalability, cross-platform, cross-language interaction and so called safe programming.
ASP.NET is dedicated mostly to huge projects, while PHP is suitable for smaller ones. ASP.NET works rather slowly with low load, but due to compiling it is much faster with high load. PHP has got many template engines, while ASP.NET has template rendering in its initial structure.
You don't need an expensive development environment for PHP. In contrast, ASP.NET novice spends a lot of time learning different environments, class models, and all necessary functions.
We can’ t forget about theenvironment hosting price. In order to deploy the ASP.NET infrastructure on a server you have to spend a huge amount of money. This is related to the Windows Server environment being more expensive than the one of Linux (for PHP), which is basically free of charge.
In terms of project stability, ASP.NET project is easier to handle in course of time: the compiler helps to avoid the majority of mistakes. PHP project needs to have a big QA team as well as unit tests (more than ASP.NET project requires).
To sum everything up, you should remember that we can’t talk about pros and cons of programming languages; it's all about different concepts and tasks. The choice of a programming technology has to be based on the following issues:
- project aims;
- target audience;
- project team size;
- system load;
- integration with existing solutions;
E.g., for a one page personal website it’s easier to use ready-to-implement PHP frameworks and CMS, whereas for large custom projects all the previous points should be reviewed. You can’ t find a common multifunctional solution for website creation. The decision must be deliberate and based on everything mentioned above.
Make you website shine; let it be a pleasure for you customer to visit it and to buy your services, and choose the most suitable programming language.