It today ‘s marketplace, the lack of an online presence means a loss of revenue. However, just having a website won ‘t guarantee an increase in sales.

All successful websites have common elements, which work to grab and then hold the attention of the consumer. When designing webpages, consider these top tips for creating an effective website.

To have an idea of how the site will look published, start by creating an outline with a web design, word-processing or desktop publishing program. Decide on the total number of webpages and create each webpage on a separate page in the software program.

Keep the site as uncluttered as possible. Increase conversion rates and customer retention by focusing on the message.

Graphics create an appealing visual effect, but keep photos and illustrations relevant to the topic and adjacent text. Use only high-quality graphics; fuzzy photos make even the best designed site look amateurish. Purchase message-relevant images from a stock photo agency if necessary.

Break pages down into short paragraphs, as people tend to scan when reading online. Also, keep pages short enough so readers do not have to scroll more than a few inches.

Make menus easy to read and navigate by keeping page titles short.

The most effective websites present information in a logical format so the reader doesn ‘t have to hunt for that information.

Before copy is created, an online keyword search tools should be used to find relevant keywords for search engine optimization, commonly referred to as SEO. Keywords must be logically and seamlessly written into the copy if the pages are to rank well in search listing. Articles stuffed with irrelevant keywords that have no bearing to the topic, or over use of relevant keywords, will damage the site in the search rankings.

Keep text short and to the point. With so much information online, consumers become bored quickly with excessively wordy copy. Have copy professionally written, if necessary, or at least proofread by an outside party to insure clarity, flow and proper grammar and spelling.

List company contact information in a clear and concise manner on a dedicated “Contact Us” page. Include company name, address, phone number and email address. Include state registration information, or a link to registration information on the state ‘s website if possible. With so many spammers, scammers and fly-by-night companies on the web, being as transparent as possible only helps to establish credibility – and conversion rates.