If you are new to building websites, try not to get too hung up on creating fancy intro pages, flash or other gimmicky design tricks to interest your viewers. People search the internet almost exclusively for one thing: information.
I see so many new webmasters worry so much about creating a wonderful design for their site that they lose sight of the most important part of creating a website, which is content.
Now, don’t get me wrong, a good site design is absolutely essential to a successful website. But there is a difference between a good, solid site design and one that is unnecessarily busy.
So what should you be concerned about when it comes to web design? Have you ever heard the phrase, “less is more?” This holds true for good web design. You want the viewer to be able to “see” your content, not be distracted by flashing banners and graphics.
A good website should load quickly. If your site loads too slowly because it is image heavy or running complex animations, you run the risk of losing your viewer before your page even loads. Most viewers won’t wait more than a few seconds for a page to load so a quick load time is essential.
Your site should be easy to read, with enough open space so that the viewer can stay focused on your content. Keep your text/background colors complimentary, contrasting enough to be easy to read, but not glaring.
Site navigation is crucial. Statistics have shown that left side navigation is the most user friendly for the majority of people, so ideally you should have your navigation bar on the left.
Never send your viewer on a dead end. There should be a link back to the previous page and/or the home page at the end of each page. Place other relevant links to other pages on your site at the bottom of each page.
Images should be relevant and quick loading. Before adding any kind of graphic to your website, ask yourself, “Is it relevant to the content of the page?” Your graphic images should enhance your message, not distract from it.
I am not saying you should avoid adding images to your site. Can you imagine a successful travel site without pictures? It would last long. What I am saying is that any images you add should be on topic and help convey the information on your site.