As a web designer myself, I can say that learning as much as I could from experts was how I got started. I looked at their sites, checked out their code, and even borrowed from their designs. Today there is a great deal of information available to help you get into the game, and this article is a great place to start learning.
Make sure to view your website in a variety of browsers. What you see might not be what users will see. Design your site with the limitations of the different browsers in mind. You will also want to send your site to someone that’s using a different operating system so you can see that their browser is compatible with yours.
Avoid using so-called “mystery meat navigation”. This involves using unlabeled images or other elements for the site’s navigation. In many cases, the visitor has to mouse over the buttons to even see what they do. Navigation is best kept simple. Use text links across the top or along the left side of the page.
Always, always remove old or outdated information off your website. You will lose the attention and credibility of your readers if the promotional offer on your page expired months ago. Allowing information that is outdated to remain on your website is a sign to users that you have not taken the time to update your site and it implies that you don’t care about their time. Set a schedule to review the site, to ensure that outdated information is removed, and fresh new content is added in its place.
Make sure that you use the right anchor text. The anchor text of a link should clearly describe what the visitor should expect to see when he clicks on the link. For instance, if a link leads to your widget ordering page, the anchor text might read “Order widgets.” Specifically avoid using “click here” as anchor text.
Use shortcuts often. Just about everything in web design has some sort of shortcut and learning what it is can save you a lot of time. You could even opt for editing the HTML first hand to make super-fast changes.
Use images wisely. Bitmap images do not tend to fare well for internet use, and some GIFs do not work well with lots of color. Image size is important as well, as larger images may make your viewers have to wait for them to download. Choose smaller images, and use them sparingly to make your site more manageable.
Avoid the use of pop-up advertising. It’s annoying to visit a website and get ambushed with a lot of pop-up ads. Most visitors to your website will not like pop-up ads, even on big sites, they are aggravating and cause people to leave. Avoid annoying your customers, by staying away from these irritating advertisements. Is your host making you use pop-ups? Time for a new host.
Wherever your logo appears on your site, you should accompany it with a complementary slogan or tagline. Ideally, this tagline should be catchy and informative, and should offer some basic summary of the purpose of your site or product offering. The combination of your logo and tagline should appear on every page to create a sense of cohesion.
If you have several pages on your web site, use a navigation bar at the top to help visitors find the information they need right away. Include contact information, so they can speak with you if they’d like. Headings should be clear and visible, and paragraphs should be concise as well as easy to read.
If you want more visitors to your site, you need to design it in a way that makes it easy to update content. If your site can be easily updated it helps you to be able to quickly add new and relevant information. A site that is constantly updated will keep your visitors coming back for more.
Now that I’ve been designing websites for over a decade, I feel that I can give some advice back. Use the tips in this article, continue learning as much as you can, and stay on top of trends to ensure your websites stand out in the crowd. If I can do it, anyone can!