Essential Web Design Tips
Choosing a web hosting package tailored to your needs is 'one half the step' in building an internet presence. The 'other half' is in designing a good web site that not only brings in traffic but also sustains it. When we say 'sustain', we mean surfers who go beyond looking at your home-page.
Your home-page, they initially clicked on should create enough interest for prospects to click on the other pages that describe your services/products in detail.
If you have a well designed site with great content, most likely it will be bookmarked in the 'favorites' folder of a surfer's browser, that he/she will refer back to at a later time. The more often they refer to your site, the more likely they will eventually buy your service or product.
In human psychology, we usually respond positively at first impressions to those who are visually attractive, well groomed and attired. Our next impressions are based on peoples use of body language/nonverbal expressions and personal space. And our final impressions are based on tone of speech then the actual words that are expressed through the vocals. This natural response is universal.
By drawing the same parallel, we respond favorable to those sites that are aesthetically pleasing, fast loading and incorporate a good navigation structure. These factors weigh heavily in determining whether surfers are drawn to the actual site content.
Your site should be fast loading. That means your home-page should download in under 10 seconds.
Keep your graphic sizes small. Preferably, under 60k for a single page. Avoid using Java applets unnecessarily. If you use Flash, then offer both options on a doorway page; a html option and a flash version.
- Your site should have a good navigation and menu structure. That means your site should have a consistent look and feel throughout, using the same colors and menus. Your most important links or buttons should be placed near the top, without having to scroll down to see them. All your other pages should have links to your main page if not all of them.
- Your site must have browser compatibility for the most popular versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Google Chrome. Most of the popular web editors such as Dreamweaver, use both browsers to preview your site simultaneously, so you can make the adjustments where necessary. You usually get problems with fonts i.e. different size displayed for different browsers. To resolve these problems, it is best to do your editing in HTML using notepad. Arial and Verdana are good fonts to use, since they are usually displayed almost the same in both browsers.
- Your site should fit most Screen Resolutions - from 800 x 600 to 1024 x 768 pixels. The most widely used are 800 x 600 for 15' to 17' monitors, and 1024 x 768 for 19' monitors and above, although, less and less people are using a screen size of 800 x 600. The solution to this is to design your menus, tables etc... in percentages rather than pixels.
- Your site should be visually appealing.
Keep paragraphs and the sentences in them short! If you have plenty
to say on your first page, then split your content into columns
using tables. List your main benefits on your main page and use
a link to lead on to your other pages that describe your service
or product in detail. Use 'bold' text to highlight
your most important benefits.
Use bullets. Even better, use graphical bullets, icons, arrows and pointers. Also use, indentations (from the left and right), ellipses... color text.
Use color in tables to highlight your main benefits or even testimonials.
Use dropshadows, glows, bevels and borders for images.
- Keep your site uptodate. Add new articles and content on a regular basis. The articles that you add should be related to the services and products you are promoting. List them as 'hot', 'new', 'latest'. This will also lend credibility to your site.
One timely advice for you, is to get into the habit of bookmarking sites that you feel are well-designed, and compare them. You'll soon develop a sense for knowing a great site when you see one, and you can the apply the same format and style to your own site.