Promote Your Business With Effective Web Design 101
Web Design 101 for Business
Your Virtual Storefront
I’ve been creating website for over 15 years now, back when Netscape was the top browser. I’d like to share some of my tips regarding effective website creation and design. I come across poor website design all the time when surfing the net and there’s no shortage. When you first create a website you should think about layout and how others will navigate around your site. Do your research and find out what others are doing before you just toss together a site. Think of a website like a storefront in your local shopping mall. Your home page is much like a storefront because it’s the first thing your visitor will see. If its eye catching and always up-to-date then visitors will stay and view your site. If you walk by a store with a bad window display or the same as your last visit, what are the chances you are going to check things out? So you can see the importance of designing a functional home page.
Keep it Clean with Relevant Content
Don’t overwhelm someone with a lot of information on your home page. I recommend a mix of 70/30 depending on the type of site. Give your users about 70 percent content mixed with 30 percent graphics/images/ads to compliment your content. Ever had a hard time finding your keys in a cluttered room? Keep your visitors engaged in your content to keep them coming back. Make sure your content is relevant and optimized for search engines. Relevant content will keep the visitor on your website and hopefully purchasing your product or service. If someone walked into an electronic store and found books they would turn around and leave.
One of my favorite sites is DynamicDrive.com which offers lots of free cool stuff for web designers. Stuff that helps make your website stand out from others in the crowd. I mainly use the navigation tools they provide on my websites. Both SpreadViralVideo.com and MyVolunteer.com used navigation menus that I found on DynamicDrive.com. I’ve also used code that disables the “Submit” button after its been clicked. That way the user cannot click it a 2nd time, preventing duplicate information when they submit a form. There are lots of other resources out there to make your site look like a pro did the work.
Research Other Sites
Web Design Tools of the Trade
I want to finish up with briefly talking about some of the tools of the trade. I have hard coded(straight HTML) websites in the past however I mostly use WYSIWYG(What You See Is What You Get) software when developing my current websites. I don’t know about you but I don’t have a lot of free time, so I used FrontPage which became Expression 4 and is no longer available from Microsoft. I’m not part of a website team so I’m on my own when it comes to developing my websites. Therefore I use web design software that lets me crank out pages and a fast pace with a professional look. Besides Expression 4 other editors on the market were Adobe® Dreamweaver CS5 and Adobe® Creative Suite 5 to name a few. Most of these allow you to use a simple “Compose” mode to create your web pages. These editors make it easy for you to add images, navigation, links, create tables and other aspects of a web pages quickly. Those who know how to code can switch to the HTML mode to have more control of the design.
Update 05/11/16 – Microsoft has ceased development on its Expression Web product. However they still offer free downloads Expression Web 4 but offer no support. It is possible some of the information in this post has become outdated and some products might not be available. I have since moved on to using WordPress as my choice for website creation.
More web design software applications can be found on CNet’s site Download.com and are either free or try and buy trials. Most of the above software can usually be downloaded and tried out for 30 days or more before you buy. Give them a spin today and see what types of creations you can come up with.
Do you have any tips to share with others? Have a favorite HTML editor? Feel free to comment below.