Designing a Web Page is an art. Any suggestions on how to design a
great looking web page can consequently only be a subjective opinion.
For those of you that are relatively new to web page design, there
are some guides that you can follow to help make your web pages work
better. If you follow these tips, your web page may still be as ugly
as sin, but at least it will be efficient, well-designed sin. .
Use Meta Tags
If you want your web site to be properly listed with the search engines
(why wouldn't you?), then you must make full and proper use of the
Meta Tags. These include using a page Title, Meta Description and
Meta Keywords. You should also try to include similar text and keywords
in the Body of your web page if appropriate.
Simply State the Purpose of your Web Site
There have been quite a few web sites that I have left without ever
fully understanding their mission. It may be obvious to you but don't
assume that your first time visitor will know. Although your design
may constrain how you do this, the simplest solution often is just
to write it. If it matches your Meta Description it will also help
with your Search Engine ranking.
Use a Simple Intuitive Navigation Scheme
There is nothing more frustrating than a web site with a poor navigation
scheme. This is not the place to let your creative juices run wild.
Keep it simple and think in terms of a first time visitor that is
not familiar with your Web Site.
What looks great in Internet Explorer could be a mess in Netscape
Navigator. It is a mistake to assume that all browsers are created
equal. Install both browsers on your machine and test your web pages
with both, especially Netscape, which is currently the fussier about
at Multiple Resolutions and Font Settings
It's easy to make a great looking Web Page at 1280x1024 and 16.8
million colors. You should see what a mess you have at 640x480 and
256 colors. You need to test at multiple resolutions if you want your
web site to look good to all your visitors. Also be sure to test with
both Large Fonts and Small Fonts selected from the Control Panel in
Windows. It could significantly alter the layout of your page.
GIFs and JPEGs appropriately
GIFs work best with computer-generated images or images with large
blocks of solid colors. JPEGs are better for real-life images and
photographs. BMPs should not be used unless you have a good reason.
They are just too large. In all cases, keep your images as small as
is appropriate for your design.
a Domain Name
A free site or a site included with your Dial-Up Service Provider
is fine for casual users. If you are serious about having an on-line
business then you must have a commercial domain. These are ".com"
names, or ".co" or ".uk" or whatever country code applies in other
countries. Commercial sites will be more easily indexed by the search
engines and will increase your credibility.
a Good Host for your Web Site
There are many professional hosting companies around. For $20 to $30
per month you should not have any trouble finding one that will provide
a minimum of 60meg disk space, several GIG transfer allowance, CGI
support, visitor logs, stats, plus a host of other professional services.
Keep your Site Fresh
There is no such thing as a finished web site. It is a work in progress.
You are bound to find things to improve upon and correct. You must
also include new content and even occasionally change the look and
feel in order to avoid that same old stale look that is a sign of
a forgotten and neglected web site.
Test, Test, Test
It is easy to design a Web Site that works and looks great on your
computer. The trick is to make it look good on a computer that may
be configured in some strange ancient (3 years old or more) manner
that you have never experienced. Ask friends, relatives, acquaintances,
and anyone else to check it out. Post a Webmaster feedback email to
have visitors tell you about bad links and design problems.
If you have a good reason to use Frames then do so. If not, avoid
them. Frames are less likely to be indexed by the search engines,
they will increase your download time, and will cramp the viewer's
Again, if you have a good reason to use audio then do so. If
not then avoid it. If audio really were a great way to make your web
site look cool, then everyone and their uncle would be using it. Audio
Wave files are very large while Midi files will sound like alley cats
in a fight on some systems. If you do decide to use audio then use
both the BGSOUND tag and the Embed tag to ensure it will
work in both IE and NN browsers.
Not everyone has a cable modem or T1 line. Even the very best compacted
streaming video will demand a major undertaking for your visitors.
If it is appropriate for your web site be sure that it is optional,
the file size is clearly stated, and any special plugins or other
requirements are clearly identified.
We all know when we get it but it is a lot harder to identify when
we send it. Windows that open automatically, Meta Refresh tags with
0 time, Meta Tags that include competitor's product names, may all
be potential forms of Spam.
This is not an all-inclusive list. Not every web site or audience
is created the same. What is great for one may be a major problem
for another. Know your web site and know your audience and be willing
to make changes as needed. That is what makes a dynamic web site.