Designing Your First Website

web design business

Building a website is pretty exciting, more so if you are a newbie and you happen to be building your very first website. You might be tempted to be all out and give your web site all the trimmings to make it nice looking. Here’s a word of caution: too many frills on your website could cause you to lose the most important reason for the creation of the website-visitors.

Flashy pages, colorful graphics, elaborate and heavy scripts as well as bouncing animation could cause visitors to be distracted instead of being interested with the contents of your website. Creating attractively designed websites is of course important to create good impression but most webmasters overlook the most vital part of a website and that is content. Most internet surfers or browsers come to the site exclusively to get information. And these visitors will not stay for more than a few seconds because the website is slow loading due to heavy images or because of complicated animations. Visitors would surely click on the next site. For sure you wouldn’t want that to happen.

For the benefit of your readers, you have to create pages that are clear and readable. You can do this by providing ample white space between contents. Using darker text over light background is eye catching as well as providing ease to the reader. Choosing the fonts is equally important. You can choose from the many available fonts in the computer. For a good measure, choose a font size that is readable to all types of readers. Smaller sized fonts could be the in thing for the young generation but older readers will appreciate bigger sized fonts. You will be thanked by the readers if they don’t have to install new fonts just to read your content. You may want to add graphics to your website. It is important however to be certain that the graphics would enhance the site rather than distract visitors.

For your image formats, you can use the Graphic Interchange Format (GIF) for drawings. This format is most suitable for black and white images. For more complex and intricate graphics and photographs, Joint Photographic Expert Group (JPEG) is most suitable because it maintains 16 million colors most appropriate for pictures and complicated graphics.

Another important factor to consider in building your first website: browsers are generally “lazy” people. They just scan the page. They don’t really sit and read the content unless their attention is grabbed and they are hooked by the keywords. Be sure to provide cues and keywords that will help the readers in their search for information. Write simple conversational sentences and avoid using jargons. Try to keep your paragraphs short so as to keep the readers interested.

Navigation is crucial to any website. Studies showed that left side navigation is favored by most people. Having your navigation bar on the left side of the page will provide ease to the visitor. Placing pertinent links to other sites is equally important as a lot of visitors would look for links whenever they are searching for information.

A Few Mistakes To Avoid When Designing Your Web Site

Be aware of these common pitfalls when designing your site:

• The home page does not quickly tell you what the Web site is all about. You should be able to visit the home page of any Web site and figure out what the site is about, what type of products it sells, or what it is advertising within five seconds.

• The poor use of popup windows, splashy advertising, splash pages (pages with neat animations and sound but which you have to watch for five to ten seconds before you are taken to the real Web site), and other Web design features that draw interest away from your Web site, products, and/ or services.

• Poor Web site navigation. This includes broken hyperlinks, hidden navigation, poor wording of navigational links, links that take you to pages with no links, links that take you to the same Web page, and pages with no links back to the home page (always include a link back to the home page so that regardless of where site visitors are, they can find their way back home!).

• Believing that because you have a Web site, you have a marketing campaign or overall marketing and advertising strategy. You need to understand that your Web site is not your marketing strategy. Your Web site is just a part of your overall marketing strategy, depending on your business goals; for example, if you have a successful restaurant but want to advertise and promote your business on the Web. Creating a Web site is great, but if it is not promoted and advertised, no one will ever find it. By passing out business cards with your Web site URL embossed on them, you are using a traditional marketing campaign to promote your Web site. If you offer a downloadable/ printable coupon from your Web site, you are successfully using your Web site as part of your marketing strategy to meet your goal of increased restaurant sales.

• Failure to attain Web site relevance and content updating. There is nothing more dissatisfying to a Web customer than visiting a Web site that is grossly out of date. Incorrect pricing, products no longer available, dated content, and ancient advertising all signify to the Web site visitor that your devotion to your Web site is suffering greatly. Cramming your pages with non-relevant material will detract the visitor from getting the point of your Web site (the five-second rule mentioned earlier).

• Avoid too many text effects. Forget flashing text, reversing text, gymnastics text, or other eye-popping and dizzying effects, which do nothing more than annoy your site visitor. Don’t create a “loud” Web site that contain so many blinking, flashing, twirling, and spinning icons, text, or graphics that visitors are overwhelmed by the effects and under-whelmed by the site content.

• Limit the number of graphics on your Web site so that you don’t overwhelm your site visitors with “graphics overload.” Don’t use animated GIF images on your Web site. These were cool ten years ago, but in today’s professional environment, they are just another “loud,” annoying distraction that site visitors don’t want to see.

• Don’t use Microsoft’s themes (built-in design templates) when creating a Web site with Microsoft FrontPage. While FrontPage is bashed on a regular basis, we stand by the fact that it can be used to design great Web sites.

• Don’t incorporate frames into Web site design. The use of frames within a Web site will drive customers away faster than anything!

• DO incorporate the proper Web site design elements to ensure that your Web site is ready to be found by search engines.