I see alot of posts on what to avoid when building a website and alot of them are very technical. What if your a user who wants to get your hands dirty. There are tons of sites that allow for a user to change the design them selves either by giving options to choose from or even by uploading their own images. Some of them include. Tumblr, Blogspot, WordPress. so what must you look out for when starting you design:

1. Plan, Think and Design on Paper.

Decide what you want and what type of feel you want. Before jumping into something and just start plotting things together. Remember colors work on emotion and a website with a wrong color combination can be overwhelming and scare visitors away. Think about what your website is about and what you want your visitor to experience when they visit your site, what must be firstly visible, etc. Once you have the content and points you want to emphasize on the home page, then start thinking about the design and the colors. Every color has an emotion related to it for example:

Warm colors will normally bring out warm emotions and are linked to happiness and joy. In 2009 the world went through a dip and companies used Yellow on their sites to make visitors feel happy and comofortable.

Cool Colors are used on professional and clinical sites. Cool color combinations normally say, “cool and corporate”. Cool colors stir up emotions of Establishment and trust.

There are tons of articles on the web explaining each color’s emotional symbol. I suggest you do a bit of googling.

If you need help choosing colors, Adobe has brought out a wonderfull tool called Kuler.

2. Use of Images and your Design together

Another important thing is a combination of images and design of your site. If a visitor visits your website they must almost immediately know what your business is about. So The design and images ( and large text if used ) must portray what your company is about. Or have them hooked enough to have them scroll down or browse a bit longer.

3. Use Fonts the right way.

Avoid using 10 different fonts on your website. choose 2 fonts you like and use those for the whole site. For example. You can use a nice looking Font for all page Header titles and menu links maybe, and use a simple easy to read font on your main content where the body of the text is going to be. Its just good practice to use 2 fonts on a website ( 3 Max )….  The font named “Comic Sans” is also not a very popular font..

4. Avoid using Flashing Images and Too Much Moving images on a page.

Since the web started out Animated pictures ( aka GIFS ) was HEAVILY used, and I typed heavily in Caps because website owners abused it. When used to heavily it can make your site look cheap. Alot of technologies have replaced the classic Gif since a few years back. ( Technologies namely, flash and HTML5/jQuery ). Although these technologies require a bit more know-how to deal with there are tons of companies who can help with that. Even me! 🙂 Drop me E-mail if you need help.

5. Simple and Readable ( scannable ) Text.

When putting content together for your site remember to make it easily readable, or scannable for the hurried visitor. dont make the content to involved, make sure it is easy to understand and avoid very long paragraphs. Too much text and no images can be very discouraging.

Its also good practice to have a “call to action” button. In other words when a visitor visits your site and sees what its all about a “call to action” button makes it easy for the visitor to sign-up or contact you when they are interested.

Also important is a About Us page telling the visitor a little more about you. how long have you been in the business, your vision and mission etc.

Thats is a few basic guidelines to get you started.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or question.

Janes Oosthuizen

Author Janes Oosthuizen

Programmer and Tech Junky from Bloemfontein, South-Africa. I have been programming for 8 years in various languages including ( CSS, HTML, jQuery, PHP, MySQL, Wordpress and many other ).

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