Many people falsely believe that flashier websites are best, but that’s almost never true. The most successful sites are simply and tastefully designed for user friendliness. Outlined below are some helpful tips to keep your website simple and clean.
Don’t use splash pages for your site unless required by law, and especially don’t use a Flash intro. Most people just want to get to your content as quickly as possible, and don’t care to look at useless splash pages. If you have some amusing content that you absolutely want visitors to see, integrate it into the homepage instead.
Always mark files that must be opened in an external program with an icon. Many sites host PDF files, and less commonly, DOC files, that must be opened in Foxit Reader and Microsoft Word/OpenOffice, respectively. These files should be marked with an icon representing the file type, and a link to download the appropriate viewer if the user does not have it.
Use a descriptive title. Many site owners forget to name their pages, or name them something generic, such as “Welcome Page.” Search engines do use title descriptions in their rankings, so make sure you are as descriptive as possible, without going overboard. Make sure it is usable for your viewers and the search engines.
Learn about shortcuts, and use them often. In the topic of web design, there is a shortcut for everything. Knowing them will save you time and help you be more efficient. You can even use HTML codes to help make changes quicker so that your pages don’t need to be uploaded again.
Make sure that each different subject area in your content is seperated. If you have several topics of discussion on your site, put them on different pages. It’ll help people find what they are looking for easier, and search engines will have an easier time ranking specific pages.
Avoid using too may font types. You have to keep in mind how these fonts render on the computer screen; for example, small serif fonts are difficult to read. Verdana is used by most sites. It is easy to read in various sizes and colors.
Use custom error pages to make your site more informative. For instance, if you want people to report dead links on your site, either put a server-side script on your 404 page or have a form or email address that visitors can use to report the error. You should have custom pages for 403, 404, and 500 errors, at the very least.
Make use of your grammar and spell checker. Yes, some mistakes may get passed some of your audience, but it will not get past everyone. You could lose some of your audience because of this, particularly if you make mistakes frequently. Do your best to correct your grammar and spelling on your site.
As previously mentioned, the load times of flash sites just aren’t really worth it. Once you understand simple web design, you can build a great site. Implement what you’ve just learned, and build a site that visitors will flock to.