Square buttons, round buttons, flashy buttons … will they match my shoes, my handbag or my tie? Are you stuck in a maze of buttons, headings, bullets, sub-headings and color schemes?
STOP! Take a deep breath and read some practical tips for professional looking websites.
If your company has a logo or preferred colors on its stationery that’s a good start. For those of you starting from scratch, choose two or three complementary colors and stick with them - don’t change colors on every page.
The most common color schemes include:
If you’re not sure what color scheme to choose, surf the internet and find a website that you like. You can then model your color scheme on what already exists.
Can’t find a website you really like? Another option is to choose a template. There are many templates or preset designs. These come as part of your web design software (such as Dreamweaver) or you can check out some websites that specialize in designing templates.
Visit these sites:
This is one of the most important issues to consider when designing a website. You need to ensure your visitors can find what they are looking for easily. Most websites either display their navigation bar on the left or at the top. And since most people are used to this type of navigation, it’s best to stick with it.
It also helps to include your navigation bar at the bottom of each page to save your visitors from having to scroll back to the top.
Whilst it is OK to have one or two special effects to jazz up your website, spinning graphics and logos often distract your visitor from the content, not to mention they can take too long to download. Your visitors may click away even before your spinning logo finishes loading.
Ensure your visitors can read the text on the background, ie. no black writing on dark blue background or yellow on white. Also be careful that your links are visible before and after being visited. The default for links in most programs is blue (before being visited) and burgundy (after being visited), so if you have a dark background, ensure your links are light.
It is a good idea to open links to other websites in a new window. That way your visitors can easily return to your site when they are finished browsing the external link.
If your website is more than 15 pages, it is useful to have a site map or a “Search” feature to ensure your visitors can easily find what they’re looking for.
While it is important that your website looks clean and professional, it is far more important that you concentrate your efforts on the content and promotion.
If you want a professional website, things to stay away from include:
For best results, build your website with the intention of wanting visitors to return over and over again. In the early stages, get other people to test and review your website, as this will help you stay focused on what to include on the website and the best ways to promote it.
Would you like to build a high quality website that’s capable of consistently driving traffic? Well here are eight straightforward steps that you need to follow, in order to achieve effective website design for massive traffic.
Plan and think about your content. Think big, have a vision of at least a 100-page site. The pages should have "real content", as opposed to link pages, resource pages, about/copyright, etc pages.
Invest in an easily brandable domain. For example, "google.com" is more brandable than "mykeyword.com". Keyword domains will go nowhere, whereas branding and name recognition continues to be the trend. The value of keywords in a domain name is not a major factor in search engine optimization.
You must develop your website sot that it is compatible with popular web browsers. Your webpages will load faster by using less of the “heavy code” such as Flash and Java. Arrange the site in a logical manner with directory names hitting the top keywords you wish to hit.
Don't clutter and don't spam your site with frivolous links like "best viewed" or other counter like junk. Keep it clean and professional to the best of your ability.
Visit sites Google.com and learn from them. A simple, easy to understand design is what visitors want. In other words, in most cases, “less is more”.
Your site should respond almost instantly to a request. If you get into even 5-6 seconds delay until "something happens" in the browser, then your website has issues that need fixing. That 5-6 seconds response time may vary for site destined to live in other countries than your native one. The site should respond locally within 3-4 seconds (max) to any request.
The smaller the better. Make sure to compress any images that you are using. It’s best to use the JPEG format, as this format allows you to significantly reduce file size while maintaining an image quality that’s good enough for the web.
Build one page of content and put online per day at 200-500 words. If you aren't sure what you need for content, start with the Google’s Keyword Suggestion Tool and find the core set of keywords for your topic area. Those are your subject starters.
Use the keyword once in title, once in description tag, once in a heading, once in the URL, once in bold, once in italic, once high on the page, and hit the density between 5 and 20% (don't fret about it). Use good sentences and spell check it. Spell checking is becoming important as search engines are moving to auto correction during searches.
Link to on topic quality content across your site. If a page is about food, then make sure it links it to the apples and veggies page. Specifically, with Google, on topic cross linking is very important for sharing your Page Rating (PR) value across your site. You do NOT want an "all star" page that out performs the rest of your site. You want 50 pages that produce 1 referral each a day and do NOT want 1 page that produces 50 referrals a day. If you do find one page that drastically out produces the rest of the site with Google, you need to off load some of that PR value to other pages by cross linking heavily.
Make sure the site is "crawlable" by web spiders. All pages should be linked to more than one other page on your site, and not more than 2 levels deep from root. Link the topic vertically as much as possible back to root. A menu that is present on every page should link to your sites main "topic index" pages (the doorways and logical navigation system down into real content).
Don't put it online before you have a quality site to put online. It's actually worse to put an unoptimised site online, than no site at all. Submit your website to Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex to begin boosting traffic and make sure to update your website regularly.
You probably know someone who has created a web site all by himself or herself. So if they can do it, why use a professional at all? Can't you create your own business or organization's web site in your spare time and without the services of a professional web site designer? The answer is, probably yes ... but the following are some reasons why it may not be a wise idea for you.
Many non-professionals use WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) web page creating software. While this kind of software is nice in that it's similar to working with a word processing program, many of these programs don't write "valid" HTML code.
The problem with invalid HTML code is that while the page may look fine on some browsers (Chrome, Firefox, etc.), it may not look even acceptably good on some other browsers or even on different versions of the same browser.
For most of us, time is a precious commodity. Is it better to take the time away from your business and other activities to learn how to create and maintain an effective web site? You need to decide if you have the time to follow through on these necessary parts of web site design:
Saving money is the main reason most would consider designing their own web site. But by designing their own, are they really saving? It's takes a substantial monetary investment to purchase the necessary software to create a professional looking web site. It also takes a considerable amount of time to learn how to use the various programs effectively.
Many business owners don't have that kind of time to spare and are usually better off investing their time in what they know best - running their business.
When a professional web designer is hired, the customer receives the benefits of their business experience, artistic talent, technological skills and the expertise to help you establish an effective, highly visible presence on the Internet.
They will work with you to analyze your competitions' web presence - their strengths and weaknesses. Using that research, they will construct your web site based on your business strengths and the weaknesses of your competition. Your web pages will be built to load quickly, be user friendly, appeal to your target audience and encourage repeat visits.