Spit-Shine Your Web Site

While you're busy spiffing up your printed materials, don'tforget to give your Web site a once-over. Search your site for glitchy navigation elements, badspelling, blurry graphics, and gimmicky sound files andanimations, then give them the boot.

While you're busy spiffing up your printed materials, don't forget to give your Web site a once-over.

Search your site for glitchy navigation elements, bad spelling, blurry graphics, and gimmicky sound files and animations, then give them the boot. Run a free compression tool such as NetMechanic's GifBot over your graphics so your pages load faster, and use Link Check to ferret out any bad links.

If an overhaul of your site is overdue, you'll need to decide whether to do it yourself or hire out the job. You can build a professional-looking site in a few hours with NetObjects' Fusion 4.0 (US$300). However, when it's time to redesign from top to bottom or incorporate an online shopping cart, credit-card processing, or other advanced options, your best bet is to hire a pro. At WebDesignList.com you can search for a design firm or Web developer to build exactly what you need at a price you can afford.

Once your tuned-up Web site is ready for prime time, you'll need an objective critique. For US$495, a WebCriteria Site Profile will rate the performance and usability of your Web site in terms of speed, ease of navigation, freshness, and composition. It compares your results to three of your competitors and an industry benchmark. Within 72 hours it e-mails a 15-page, PDF-format profile, along with tips for making your site better.

Bonny L. Georgia is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer who specializes in small-business technology.

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