5 Quick Tips for Creating an 'Effective' Website
© 1999, by Harmony Major
Although I wouldn't call myself a website design guru, I know
what works and what doesn't in creating a successful website.
I'm a super-fast learner, and I want to pass on my knowledge
of website design to you, in only a few short paragraphs. Of
course this isn't meant to be a full-fledged course on website
design -- I hope to tell you the main things that you should
be doing to design an effective website.
First of all, what determines whether or not your website is
"effective?" Whether or not your visitors come, are pleased
by what they see, and return! And, whether or not they feel
your website is excellent enough to tell their friends about,
write about in their ezines, or submit to any of the "Best of
the Web" awards out there is a good starting point. Here are
the things that your website absolutely MUST HAVE to be
successful in the home business world
1.) An easy-to-understand navigational system.
Can your visitors get around easily, or are they easily lost?
Do you have a link to get back to your home page and/or
"table of contents" on EVERY page or only a select few?
What if someone decides that your website is so great
they decide to link to one of your secondary pages?
Ten times out of eight, other Webmasters WON'T tell you
when they've linked to you. So, if they link to a page that
isn't connected to your home page ... how are they supposed
to find it?? It doesn't occur to most people to take the base
of the URL they've visited. 90% of the time, you've just lost
a potential customer.
2.) Your name and email address listed on your website.
Having an email address is just not enough. Who are your
visitors supposed to address their mail to, and exactly WHAT
are you hiding from?? What's the point of NOT putting your
name on your web pages? Do you just forget, does it not
occur to you, or are you afraid people are going to be able
to figure out where you live and come stalk you just by
having access to your first and last name??
Whatever the reasoning, it's absolutely ridiculous. Not
having your full name plainly listed on your website is
ruining your credibility and the credibility of your business.
So, let me break it down for you ...
JUST DO IT! If you don't plan to list your full name and email
address on your website as the BARE MINIMUM, you may as
well pack it up now and call it quits.
3.) A compatible screen size for most, (if not all), browsers.
800x600 pixels is an ideal standard for your web pages. You
can control the width of your website by using tables, and
setting the width of the outer table to the maximum size. So
in this case, you'd set the table width to 600 pixels. If you're
using percentages instead of straight pixel width, set the
percentage to no more than about 85-90%.
4.) A reasonable background image and color scheme.
Those orange and green backgrounds with bright red text
are just NOT with it -- no matter what the amateurs say.
Stick to a background/text color combination that's actually
READABLE. That makes sense, right?
If you have to squint just to read the words on your pages,
your background is WAY out of line, and your site needs a
major color scheme makeover! Use BLACK text, or very
dark colored text on a WHITE or very light colored background.
Save the white on black backgrounds for pages that DON'T
have a lot of text on them.
But, if you feel that you absolutely MUST have those stars,
triangles, or dinosaurs cluttering up your background, make
sure that you set the image as the background for the page,
and put a plain WHITE table on every page that will contain
text. If done right, this can be a very pleasing addition to any
5.) Use mood colors.
This one isn't mandatory, but it can be helpful when
setting the tone of your website. For example, green is
usually referred to as a "concentration" color. So, on
pages that have a lot of text, use a green background
pattern (with your text in a white/light colored table) or
green highlights throughout the page. But, be careful ...
dark green is seen as a money color, while the regular,
"standard" green is the concentration color.
You can use color to your advantage in website building,
to make your visitors feel energized, relaxed, focused,
more ready to make a purchase, or almost any other
effect. You're only limited by your imagination! (And, of
course ... color blindness.) ;-)
If you follow those five basic website design tips outlined
above, designing your first website (or touching up an
existing one) shouldn't be such a horror! Read all of the
website design articles that you can to get a good working
knowledge of design, and the do's and don'ts of effective
design habits. There are a lot of quality articles (recently
updated) at http://homebasedheaven.com/research/articles/#design
The articles on that site are some of the best that I've seen
online, and the site is updated regularly. Check out those
articles if you never read another word on website design!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harmony Major is the author of Yahoo! Secrets, where she reveals
how YOU can drive HUNDREDS more visitors to your site each day,
by getting a #1 listing on Yahoo. Don't just settle for "getting
listed." Use her instantly-effective tactics to boost your site
traffic with a TOP Yahoo listing! Visit: http://YahooSecrets.com