Small businesses are no longer limited to a website that looks like a small business. Affordable, quality web site design is available for the do-it-yourselfer or the budget-minded business owner. Even companies with a single employee can look like a million-dollar enterprise with a few tips, a little money and time.
One of the most important aspects of an affordable, quality web site design is that it be fast-loading. While many people are on high-speed connections, you donâ€™t want to alienate those that are on slow dial-ups by owning a site that takes too long to bring up. Less is absolutely more in this case â€“ less content, less graphics and simplistic design is best.
The layout should be clean, neat and uncluttered. White space will actually enhance the look and feel of your site. Keep your visitors focus on your content or products rather than fancy mouse trails or flashing, neon lights.
Keep it consistent. All of the pages should have a basic design. Consider changing the colors while keeping the buttons in the same alignment. You donâ€™t want to keep your visitors guessing as to what the next page might look like; you want visitors to see what other products or services you offer. This should be the goal of any affordable, quality web site design.
Too many links and buttons can clutter your pages. If you have more than a few choices, utilize a drop down menu or fly-outs from your main topics. Consider a horizontal graphic-rich menu along the top of the page and contextual links to the same sections along the bottom of your page. Repeat this throughout the site.
Add some graphics and effects but use them sparingly. Image swaps are great for menu buttons. Rollover buttons and drop shadows are also effective, minimalist uses of graphic effects. Remember, less is often more.
Avoid sounds unless your product or service absolutely requires it. Some passive interactions with guests are fine but donâ€™t overdo it. A survey, poll, guest book, calendar or newsletter sign-up is great and not invasive if spread out over the entire site.
If you plan on building an affordable, quality web site, design ideas can be hard to come by. Visit large businesses in the same industry you are in (for computers, visit Apple and IBM; booksellers should take a gander at Barnes & Noble and Borders sites.) Take notes listing what you like and dislike about each site. Look at color schemes, interactivity, menu layout and how graphics are used. Use a program published by a developer you already know to decrease the learning curve.
When hiring someone to build you an affordable, quality web site, design should be guided by you. Bring the list of features you like and features you donâ€™t like about competitors sites. Communicate your needs for a high-quality, modestly designed site without bells and whistles.