Website Basics 4 – Navigation and Images
Continuing in the thread of website basics, it’s time to delve into a couple of additional facets of the online game. We’ll have a look at two website components, your navigation, and the images which you use to compliment your content.
The navigation of your website, while a basic component, fulfills a number of other functions as well. Depending on the visual aspect you desire for your site, your navigation can fill in an accent role in a color scheme, to being an active engaging portion of your site. But while you’re using your navigation to help make your site more appealing, you need to bear in mind that people aren’t the only visitors to your website, you have to think of the search engines as well. It’s not unusual to find new clients whose navigation menus have been built with fly away java scripts, animated roll overs, or even a menu built entirely in flash. While these elements sometimes provide a great visual experience, when the search engines are concerned your navigation menu is invisible. Many of the fly aways and flash aspects for your navigation can actually be written by CSS scripting, which is all text to the search engines, and they’re sole goal is to index text. When you’re building your site, or having it revamped, be sure to take the time and spend the extra dollar, and have your navigation built as much as possible via CSS. You’ll thank me later.
Secondly, the images which you use on your website is an important feature to bear in mind. While you’re building, or updating your website it’s good practice to pepper your content with images which can be used to accentuate your content for quick consumption. The number one point you need to bear in mind, is the size of the image you wish to include. The internet is often referred to as being a system of tubes, and if your images are too large, you can slow down your websites performance. A good way to keep your images under control, is to have your graphic designer provide you with a jpeg or a gif version of your completed image. Graphic designers often work with very large file types, and website owners try to upload these images directly to their site and then become worried why their pages begin taking much longer to load. To give an idea of how large some of the graphics become, it’s not uncommon to receive a finished image in the area of 40 megabytes and up. In terms of comparison, the average jpeg file is only a few kilobytes, it’s like filling a shot glass with water from a tap as opposed to a bath tub. The more appropriate way to be able to link your large, beautiful images to your website, is to embed the jpegs within your content, and create a link to your larger image, so that it’s not loading each time your site is brought up.