Important Website Design Tips
If you do not have a lot of experience in website design can feel intimidating. Although this is totally understandable, don't let that deter you from trying. Keep in mind that nobody knows what your website or business is about better than you. In the long run you will also appreciate having the freedom and ability to make changes and updates right when you want to. No more waiting on designers to complete the task\'85you are in charge. If your website requires frequent updates and content changes, being able to perform these tasks yourself will also save you a ton of money in maintenance fees.
Here are some important tips that will help you with the design process and enable you to create a website that is user friendly and looks professional.
- Don't make your website too wide.
People will find it annoying if they have to scroll sideways to see all of the content. When creating your website keep in mind that people visiting may have a different size monitor or their monitor is set to a different resolution. This means that your website may appear differently to them than what you see while designing it. A good rule of thumb is to keep the width to under 1024 pixels wide considering that 1024x768 is probably the lowest resolution for monitors in use today. There are probably some people out there that still use 800x600 resolution but these users probably amount to 1%, and that number is rapidly decreasing.
- Keep important information near the top of your site pages
so that visitors do not need to scroll down to find it. As internet use becomes a large part of our everyday lives, we learn to scan through information quickly and your website has about 30-60 seconds to present the user with what they are looking for before they navigate away.
- Stay away from using image backgrounds.
We already discussed the importance of good contrast between the background and the text. Image backgrounds are just as bad when it comes to readability. What is even worse is that they also make your website look low quality and amateurish. Just think, in all of your internet searches how many professional, or respectable websites have you seen that use image background under the text? Hmm, probably none because it's not good practice. Aside from those facts, image backgrounds also contribute to load time of your page, making them slower to load.
- Don't force your visitors to endure excessive advertising or pop-up windows.
Let's face it, nobody likes obtrusive advertising or annoying pop-up windows. If you run a legitimate website/business, there is probably no reason to do any of this. Even if you are trying to earn from advertising revenue, overdoing it will make your site look like junk or spam. The search engines also pick up on this when they analyze your website and see it as a sign of lower quality which could easily and negatively affect your rankings.
- Don't distract your visitors with blinking text, animations, or auto loading sounds.
All of these things are distracting to say the least and just like image backgrounds they make your website look cheap and amateurish. Background music although may seem appropriate in some cases is still something to reconsider. For one, it will make your pages load slower, sometimes very slow depending on the size of the file, its format, etc. Worse, it will most likely use up quite a bit of data or bandwidth which could increase your hosting costs.
- Avoid using frames.
Frames make it easy to display content from other sources within your own design, and in many cases they also make design a little easier if you know how to use them. They do pose some usability problems when it comes to clear URL structure, linking, as well as sharing and bookmarking. One of the biggest issues with frames however, is that search engines have a hard time reading them and interpreting the content within. This of course can have a negative impact on your rankings. Although the search engines have improved their algorithms to be able to index flash content, more advanced website design and SEO experience is necessary to properly configure flash websites.
- To Flash or not to Flash?
In the past the biggest problem with Flash websites was the fact that the search engines could not read such content and thus not able to determine what the website was about. This of course would prevent flash websites from ranking well in the search results. Although advances in search engine algorithms have made it possible for them to read text content imbedded in flash, you probably have a better chance ranking well with a simple html website. Unless you have the necessary flash design and flash SEO experience we suggest staying away from flash designs.
- Maintain consistent look and feel throughout your website.
Keep your web pages and website as a whole looking consistent and uniform. This includes font styles, colors, headers, and other design elements. Don't make your visitors feel like they are going to a different website when they navigate your pages.
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