If you think every website is pretty similar to one another, carefully examine a site like Twitter, then check out some random kid’s site on Google Sites. You should notice the massive difference between the two rapidly, showing how important website design is. By reading these tips, you will feel more informed about how to go about designing your own site.
Avoid using frames. Most sites have abandoned frames on their own as better alternatives have become available, but there are still sites out there that are trapped in 1996. Alternatives to navigational frames include fixed-position navigation panels, having navigation in multiple areas (e.g. left and bottom) or simplifying page structure so that navigational links are never far away.
Test your site to see if the major translation services work properly when translating your site. Some sites receive many international visitors, and these visitors sometimes use services like BabelFish and Google Translate to translate the text to their language. Certain web design problems, especially poor server side code, can break these services.
If you believe your site may be accessed via mobile devices, you will want to keep your designs simple. The use of flash, excessive images, and complicated menus will not translate well to a mobile platform. Keep your page clean and simple, or create a specific mobile site for your users.
If you plan on having a commercial site, you should seriously consider buying your own web hosting. Most free host sites force you to display their advertisements, which is counter-intuitive if you are attempting to sell something as well. Purchase your own hosting to avoid this advertising hassle, so that you can choose your own ads.
The best web sites communicate a lot of information in a small amount of words. If you are long-winded, people will easily get bored and find another site that is more concise. Make sure any content is relevant and easy to understand – newspapers use an eighth grade reading level, which is the most common literacy level.
Use custom error pages to make your site more informative. For instance, if you want people to report dead links on your site, either put a server-side script on your 404 page or have a form or email address that visitors can use to report the error. You should have custom pages for 403, 404, and 500 errors, at the very least.
When designing a website with a lot of text, choose your fonts wisely. While serif text will work well for a title or headline, the body of the text should be in a serif font, which is easier to read on a computer screen. Try to use common computer fonts such as Times New Roman and Ariel.
Try to make sure that any music or pictures that you’re linking to is hosted on your own web server. Do not hotlink to any other website images. This can be construed as bandwidth theft and it could put you in violation of a copyright too. It’s not worth the risk.
If the design of your website needs to be mobile friendly, keep in mind that mobile devices have smaller screens and limited bandwidth. To account for smaller screens, you should try to design your website as a single narrow column so that the user only needs to navigate vertically, as opposed to both horizontally and vertically. Limited bandwidth means that you should be extra concerned about your file sizes. You can also opt to create a separate version of your website specifically for mobile devices.
HTML5 is something that you’re going to have to be familiar with if you want to be truly successful with web design. If you don’t know how to use HTML5, you need to learn.
Remember — web design doesn’t need to cost a lot. Most expensive design tools have a cheaper or a free equivalent you have to look for. You can get the same jobs done with open-source no-cost software, for instance, that you can do with corporate-funded for-profit programs. You can save a lot of money by using freeware or open source software.
Never enter into a website development course unless you already understand the basics. The vast majority of people in these courses are already far ahead of you, thus the material being taught is strictly technical. There is no buffer period. You’ll go from 0 to 60 instantly and will be left behind if you enter as a complete novice.
You may not come up with the next big thing on the web. Odds are weighted against your favor. The great reality though, is that solid design skills will help you design sites that are very attractive and work well. Your sites will be able to function just as perfectly as sites of those with much higher budgets. Use what you’ve learned here, and start designing your website today.