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Web Site Design***
Birth of a Professional Web Site
Part Three Basic
Web Design Guidelines
The appearance of your web site is one
of the most important aspects of your
success. Your product or service will
literally be judged by the appearance
of your web site.
Poor web design is one
of the leading causes of small business
failure. There are literally thousands
of home-based Internet businesses struggling
to make a living online. Most, make very
little or no money and end up closing
their site in defeat.
I have received many messages
over the years from struggling Internet
marketers wanting to know if I could look
at their site and tell them what they're
doing wrong. Most of the time, I can tell
them the problem as soon as their site
has loaded -- poor web design. They failed
to take the time to learn how to properly
design their sites -- how to design a
professional looking site specifically
designed to sell their products and services.
If you really want to
succeed, you must take the required time
to educate yourself.
Creating a Template
When you begin designing
your web site, your goal should be to
create a template that you can use to
create each page of your web site. This
will give your entire site the same look
A template is simply a
web page "shell" that contains
your entire page design, logo, images,
navigational links and a specific area
for your content. However, your template
won't contain any content, as each time
you create a page with your template,
you'll save it with a different page name.
Formatting Your Pages
I highly recommend placing
your entire page content within HTML tables.
Tables will enable you to have complete
control over your content and how it will
For example, you can create
three tables, stacked on top of each other,
for each section of content. The cellpadding,
cellspacing and border attributes should
be set to "0" to enable your
tables to seamlessly flow together. In
addition, the widths for each table should
be the same. The top table would contain
your page header content, the middle table
would contain your content and the bottom
table would contain your footer content.
As placing your entire
page content within a single table will
significantly increase your site's load
time, stacking your tables will enable
you to benefit from the powerful formatting
capabilities of tables, while at the same
time, keep your site's load time down.
If you've ever designed
a web page without using tables, you know
how limited you are as to how your content
will be displayed. Your text will be displayed
right up against the left border and will
span across the entire width of your page
-- certainly not a good way to design
a professional looking web site.
Tables will enable you
to display your content in sections like
a newspaper, set up a specific number
of rows and columns, and even place additional
tables within your main content table
to create special content sections with
Your main page is the
storefront for your business and should
specifically let your visitors know exactly
what you're offering. If your potential
customer can't find your product or service,
they definitely won't waste a lot of time
looking for it. They'll go on to the next
site and probably never return. They're
visiting your site for a specific purpose.
They want something your site offers.
Provide them with what they're looking
for and you'll reap
Branding will play a major
role in your success. Make sure you place
your company logo and slogan in the top
left corner of each page. This will not
only assist your visitors in remembering
your site, but it will also give your
pages the same look and feel.
Instead of trying to cram
all your content into your main page,
consider creating sections. These sections
can contain highlights of your information
with a link to further information. You
can set your sections up in tables with
colored heading sections for information
such as articles, products or whatever
It's much better to keep
your main page down to the most essential
elements and link to the detailed informational
A good rule of thumb is
"less is more." In other words,
keep your main page as small as possible
and include your most important elements.
When you begin designing
your pages, keep in mind, your visitors
may enter your site from pages other than
your main. Make sure you include good
navigational links on every page. Place
your navigational links together at the
top, bottom, left or right side of the
page. Use tables to neatly align your
links and maintain a nicely organized
and uniform appearance throughout.
Try to keep the number
of clicks required to get from your main
page to any other page on your site down
to three or four.
One of the most important
parts of a web page is text. The way in
which you display the text on your web
page will have a great impact on your
success. It can make your page look very
professional or very unprofessional.
When placing text within
your web page, always be consistent with
your fonts. In other words, don't use
different fonts throughout your pages.
The standard fonts used on the Internet
are Arial and Verdana. The standard text
size is 2. Arial and Verdana are the standard
simply because they are the easiest to
read on a computer screen.
Headlines, which require
a larger font size, are a bit different.
A popular headline font used is Georgia,
as it displays nicely in the slightly
larger font size.
Background and Text Colors
Use caution when selecting
your background and text colors. Busy
backgrounds make text difficult to read
and draw the attention away from the text.
In addition, always be consistent with
your background theme on each page of
Select your colors very
carefully, as colors affect your mood
and will have an affect on your visitors
Bright colors, such as
yellow and orange, cause you to become
more cheerful or happy. Colors such as
blue and purple have a calming effect.
Dark colors, such as brown and black,
have a depressing effect.
A good rule of thumb is
to use colors based on the type of effect
you're trying to achieve. However, it's
always best for your text areas to have
a white background with black text.
Above all else, you must
take the time to educate yourself before
you begin. I can't stress this point enough.
If you don't, you're honestly just wasting
your time. Although it may take a little
longer, it will be well worth it in the
(Continued in part four)
Copyright © Shelley Lowery