You want an outstanding website. Does that mean you need to invest in pricey software packages, and use complex templates? This depends on the amount that you would like to learn. If you don’t have the time or energy to learn about web design, then you will end up having to use a tool made by someone else. However, if you want to do it yourself and are willing to put forth the effort, then these web design tips are for you.
Avoid using so-called “mystery meat navigation”. This involves using unlabeled images or other elements for the site’s navigation. In many cases, the visitor has to mouse over the buttons to even see what they do. Navigation is best kept simple. Use text links across the top or along the left side of the page.
Make sure your webpages aren’t too long. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and if your most important content is “below the fold,” it may not even be read. If you have a lot of related content that needs to stay together, consider breaking it up into sections and adding links to each section.
Avoid using frames on your site. Once frames were popular, but there were a lot of issues with them too. Readers have difficulty bookmarking and scrolling websites with frames. There are many better alternatives to frames.
Be wary of web hosting companies who claim that they offer unlimited bandwidth to their customers. Usually there is something that is written in the small print that is far different than that. In many cases people end up having problems when it comes to fair use policies.
Always mark files that must be opened in an external program with an icon. Many sites host PDF files, and less commonly, DOC files, that must be opened in Foxit Reader and Microsoft Word/OpenOffice, respectively. These files should be marked with an icon representing the file type, and a link to download the appropriate viewer if the user does not have it.
Give your visitors the ability to search your site so that they can more easily find what they are looking for. If someone cannot find what they are looking for right away, their next thought will be to look for a search field. Put this somewhere obvious and include a search button.
Buy web design software to help you build a nice site. Professional web design programs are simple to use and will have you creating beautiful looking websites really fast. An unattractive website will not attract visitors.
If you want your site visitors to spend as much time as possible on your site, make text easy to read. One of the most common design mistakes is using graphic backgrounds with patterns or dark colors; combine this with equally dark text and you have a recipe for disaster. Unless the text is clear and easy to read, your site will not be a success.
Designing your own site isn’t as difficult as performing brain surgery. You don’t need a formal education, and you aren’t making any life or death decisions. If you can follow all the suggestions outlined above, you will be able to design a great looking website.