Web Design Guidelines
Before you begin to design your website, you must take some time to plan your strategy. Following are some website design guidelines to assist you.
- Your main page should specifically let your visitors know exactly what you're offering. If your potential customer can't find your product or service, they definitely won't waste a lot of time looking for it. They'll go on to the next site and probably never return. They're visiting your site for a specific purpose. They want something your site offers.
- Create a page about you and/or your company. Include your name, company name, photograph, biography, address, phone number and email contact information.
- Display your copyright information at the bottom of each page. It's best to include both the word Copyright and the © symbol, as some countries don't recognize one or the other. Your copyright might look like this: Copyright © year Company Name All rights reserved.
- Keep in mind, your visitors may enter your site from pages other than your main page. Make sure you include good navigational links on every page. Place your navigation links together at the top, bottom, left or right side of the page. Use tables to neatly align your links and maintain a nicely organized and uniform appearance throughout. Try to keep the number of clicks required to get from your main page to any other page on your site down to three or four and place your company logo on each page.
- Use caution when selecting your background and text colors. Busy backgrounds make text difficult to read and draw the attention away from the text. In addition, always be consistent with your background theme on each page of your site.
- Select your colors very carefully, as colors affect your mood and will have an affect on your visitors as well.
- Bright colors such as yellow and orange, cause you to become more cheerful or happy, while colors such as blue and purple have a calming effect. Dark colors such as brown and black have a depressing effect. A good rule of thumb is to use colors based on the type of effect you're trying to achieve.
- ALWAYS check and double-check your site for spelling and grammatical errors, and make sure your images and links are all working properly. If you have several errors, this will make your site appear to be unprofessional. If you are designing your site using an HTML editor, use spell check.
- If you must use frames, use them sparingly. Frames, if not used properly, can make your site look unprofessional. Avoid making your visitors have to scroll from side to side to view your content. This can be very irritating and cause your visitors to leave. In addition, it is difficult for Search Engines to index sites made up of frames.
- View your website through different browsers and screen resolutions so you can see how your visitors will view your site. Click here to test your site's browser compatibility.
- Always be consistent when using font styles and sizes. Avoid using large font sizes, as this looks very unprofessional.
- Never use tables with standard borders, as they look very unprofessional. If you'd like to use tables with borders, consider using a color border that is size one or two. You'll learn more about tables and borders later.
- Continually add new content to your site. Give your visitors a reason to keep coming back.
Web Design Tips
When designing your website's main page, instead of trying to cram all of your information into one page, consider creating sections. These sections can contain highlights of your information with a link to further information. You can set your sections up in tables with colored heading sections for information such as news, articles, products or whatever you'd like.
It's much better to keep your main page down to the most essential elements. You can then use links to additional pages to provide the detailed information. A good rule of thumb is "less is more." In other words, keep your main page as small as possible, while at the same time, include your most important elements.
To enhance your page, you can format your text using bold headlines, colored table cells, and graphic bullets and/or arrows.
If you use the same graphic bullets and arrows throughout your page, you can enhance your page's appearance, but you won't add any additional time to your site's load time. When you reuse an image, your image only has to load once. When the image has loaded, it will instantly be displayed in all of the other locations.
Web Design Mistakes
- Poor load time
- Poor overall appearance
- Spelling/Grammar mistakes
- No contact information
- Poor content
- Poor navigation
- Broken links and graphics
- Poor browser compatibility
- Large slow loading graphics
- Too many graphics
- Pages scrolling to oblivion
- Multiple use of animated graphics
- Animated bullets
- Too many graphic and/or line dividers
- Busy, distracting backgrounds
- Multiple banners and buttons
- Poor use of frames
- Large fonts
- Pop up messages
- Over use of Java
- Poor use of tables
- Poor organization
- Different backgrounds on each page
- Over powering music set to AutoPlay
- Too much advertising
- Large Welcome banners
- Multiple colored text
- Text difficult to read
- No Meta tags
- Multiple use of different fonts
- Under construction signs
- Scrolling text in the status bar
- Large scrolling text across the page
- Poor use of mouse over effects
Take your time and design your site very carefully. It may take you a little longer, but it will be well worth the extra time in the long run.