There are many purposes behind a good website. It can serve as a hub for information, a platform for social networking, or a portal for entertainment. Regardless of how a website is used, it needs a webmaster who knows what he is doing to design it right. Here are a few web design tips to help you create your own website for any purpose.
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.
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.
Ensure that you save personal information that the user might need to enter again into your site. For example, if a person has to enter their information to register for an account, and then is filling out a form on your website that requires the same information, you want to have their data saved, so that they do not have to take the time to fill everything out again. Keeping information “sticky” like this will make it simple to sign up for things on your site, and visitors will appreciate that you have saved them time.
Test your website before it goes live. There’s nothing worse then launching your new website and having to take it down right away due to bugs or other issues. Get a group of people together who are using different web browsers and computer platforms, and ask them to use a beta version of your website, writing down any issues they come across.
Use images wisely. Bitmap images do not tend to fare well for internet use, and some GIFs do not work well with lots of color. Image size is important as well, as larger images may make your viewers have to wait for them to download. Choose smaller images, and use them sparingly to make your site more manageable.
Avoid use of too many different fonts in any one web design. You need to also be mindful of how some fonts appear on monitors, since smaller serif fonts are difficult to read. The majority of sites utilize Verdana, which is easy to read in any size or color.
Learning some basic HTML will help you add some interesting extras to your site. For example, you can have words that follow your cursor, or a banner that flashes important information. Make sure to change the colors and fonts occasionally, so you seem more involved with the web site and its design.
If you desire feedback from your visitors, design your site to include a feedback form rather than a guestbook. A feedback form lets your site visitors contact you without having anything negative be shown to everyone else who sees your site. If you have a guestbook then everyone can read both good and bad comments, something you really do not want people to see, especially when the comments are negative.
To help make sure your website works as you are designing it, test it one of the browsers like Internet Explorer. When you test the website as you go along building it, you can quickly correct any problems that might show up once you live. When your website goes live you want your visitors to be able to see everything working correctly.
Put some thought into the “About Us” page. These pages are often dull and uninteresting. This is an opportunity to make your website stand out. Give people a glimpse into who you are and why you love web design. Let them know what has inspired you and what your goals are.
Make sure that you periodically go back and try to remember all that you’ve learned thus far. One of the biggest problems people have when they first start out with web design is that they learn one or two things and forget them a couple of days later, which can hurt their website progress.
When designing a website, you want to keep the privacy of your customer’s information in mind. Set up proper encryption for submitting data, and never store customer passwords and such in a text document. Make sure you set up your website properly so that your customers know that visiting and interacting with your site is safe.
As was mentioned earlier, there are many different websites on the Internet. Every website created requires some design knowledge. Utilize these suggestions to maximize your efforts.