Design Better Web Sites Via 10 Easy Steps
There are so many websites on the internet today that it is almost overwhelming to take it all in. Every person that has ever created a web page in their life knows that there are some basic rules for formatting and making the site's design appeal to web site viewers. If you are anything like me you probably also know that your web site's look and feel can become an ever evolving work of art and is never finished.
The only problem is that the more changes that come in to play, the more chances there are to make one page look different than the rest. It is very important that you site looks nice so that viewers can get on to what they came for...content! That is why we should try to avoid design mistakes, who wants to lose visitors to an ugly site? Not me.
To help those of you who want to make you website a little more user friendly and easier on the eyes here are some good guidelines to use when creating a page.
1. Have A True And Understood Purpose.
Many times web designers put the horse in front of the carriage with this one. It is more important to have relevant content to the site's theme or purpose than it is to have a bunch of ads. Don't get blinded by advertising until you have content!
Every web site should have a mission statement, even if it is not published on the page itself it is something you should have imprinted on your brain from the very beginning.
2. Only Use 3 Different Colors.
Sounds simple enough. But in reality there are so many backgrounds, borders, headers, tables, and more that many get caught up using so many different shades of a color there site looks disorganized and confusing.
Avoid this by choosing 3 colors at the beginning of your website design and stick to it. In most cases when it comes to design, less really is more.
3. Be Consistent With Colors And Fonts.
It may be hard to stick with the same font everywhere on a site but it will make your site look much more thought out and professional if you do so. With colors, it is easy to change layouts and font colors to fit things but you should hold on to your basic site color scheme no matter what, if there is a plug in that doesn't look right, maybe you should not be using it or see if you can adjust its colors.
4. Have Easily Distinguishable Titles And Body.
Just like you see in this article the heading of each section is bold and it makes it easy for one to skim down the page and see all of the main topics we are discussing here. If you use the same font everywhere it may make the page look jumbled.
5. Design For 1024x768 Resolution.
Yes, I am sure some of you out there that have a NASA produced supercomputer do have monitors that are made for wide screen movie viewing. But, the fact is that more viewers on the internet are using 1024x768 as their standard resolution than any other screen resolution. Unless you are going to offer an entry page with different resolutions you should "tend to the masses" on this one.
6. Simplify Your Menu
It is not only preferred by search engines but is easier for real people too. The idea is to have very few items on the first level of your menu and then sub-categories in each. This makes for a logical path for both humans and search engines to navigate your site.
7. Load Time
There are many load time estimation tools on the internet and if you use a newer web page editor most have one included. Use these tools! If it takes 30 seconds to load your page on a 56K modem, you are loosing visitors and you just don't know it. There is no reason to punish people that do not have broadband connection. Optimizing images is usually the easiest way to shave off seconds of load time, so start here.
8. Talk To Your Visitor
Many people start a website and state facts and go on and on about themselves. Unless you are working on a blog about you, the word "I" can be taken out of most all content of your site. You are talking to your reader, keep that in mind as you write your content.
9. Shorter Pages Are Better Pages
Just in case you were misinformed there is not a contest on the internet for who can have the longest web page. Breaking up your larger articles into multiple pages is not illegal and it in many cases is actually suggested. The more pages a site has the more that search engines can index and the less time readers spend on trying to find their place on the page as they scroll.
10. Use Small Pictures
If you have a website that you frequently post photos, you should consider using small photos or thumbnails that link to larger ones. This helps your page load quicker and also does not take up too much of your web pages real estate with images. Using smaller pictures will also help make you page look more balanced when you're design is complete.