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How to design your own website
a free guide for beginners

Readability

If you want to design a website that is effective and appealing to others, you will want to make sure that it is easy to read and provides useful information. Numerous research and usability studies clearly point to the fact that users don't really read but rather scan the pages for information they are interested in. If your website is difficult to read and does not offer anything of value, people will not stick around even if you have top 10 rankings.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating a website that is user friendly and easy to read.

  • Use good contrast between background and text colors.
    Common sense would dictate that dark text on a dark background is going to be hard to read, yet there a plenty of examples of websites which seem to make this mistake.
  • Keep it short and to the point.
    Create short, easy to read paragraphs and sentences. As mentioned earlier online users tend to scan and not really read. Keeping your sentences and paragraphs short definitely improves your chances of catching and retaining their attention. Pages with large blocks of text without breaks, separation, or stopping points are overwhelming to look at and difficult to read.
  • Don't type more than a few words in ALL CAPS.
    Capitalized letters are not only harder to ready but are distracting and considered as yelling when it comes to online lingo.
  • Make use of bullet lists.
    Bullet lists are easily noticeable, easy to read, and tend to drive right to the point.
  • Use meaningful headlines and titles.
    Use of attention getting and descriptive headlines and titles is very important aspect of your website design. Unless you are able to get your visitors attention and convey your point quickly they probably won't stick around. Creating clear and descriptive headlines (H1 tags) and titles is also critical in ranking high in the search engines. Headlines (H1 tags) and titles are both considered good indicators of what your content is about and thus carry quite a bit of weight as ranking factors.
  • Use white-space to break up paragraphs.
    Creating clear separation between paragraphs helps your content look more organized, less cluttered and easier to read, and provides for an overall nicer look and feel to your website.
  • Alignment and layout.
    Layout and alignment of your page content is also crucial in designing a user friendly and readable website. Try to keep things organized with good flow so that your visitors can easily scan your pages and navigate the content. To accomplish this align your text and other elements uniformly and don't scatter it all over the page. Keep the page layoutto one or two columns plus a sidebar at most. Anything more starts to look crammed in, cluttered, and becomes hard to read.
  • Use graphics and images
    to break up the text and direct users attention to certain areas of the page or content. Images like buttons can also be very effective for a call to action.
  • Double check spelling and grammar.
    Spelling errors and improper grammar will surely make your website look unprofessional, unreliable, and not trustworthy. Proofread your website manually and with the use of a spell checking program to make sure your copy is clean. Having a third party read through your website is also not a bad idea.

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