There are millions of websites on the World Wide Web, each with its own particular style and flair. Links, pictures, videos, embedded content and other items are all in the mix. When designing a website, the creator must balance a number of these elements to end up with a successful product when all is said and done. This can be a difficult task, and in some cases it can be far easier to know what not to do rather than what to do.
A Huge Budget Isn’t a Requirement
This isn’t the 1990’s. The internet isn’t “new” anymore. In the 21st century, sharp, functional websites can be created on a fairly limited budget, and spending extra dough on advertising may not be helpful. Advertising is of course going to increase the public awareness of your business, but it does not necessarily mean that more of these people will come through the doors. Therefore it is better to simply have a website without all the fancy banners and such which will likely be seen by the same number of people as one that does. Set a budget before you dive into the project to help things stay on track.
Don’t Reinvent Site Navigation
Take a good hard look at some of the better websites you visit typically. What do they all share in common? Likely one thing: location of the navigation bar, also known as the place you look when you want to go somewhere else in the site. When creating a website, place the navigation bar in the top, left, or right. Not the bottom, not the center, not diagonally across the page. Only use one of those three locations. Make no mistake, creativity in website design can be a good thing, but if visitors can’t quickly and easily find what they’re looking for, they’ll quickly be gone and your website will be toast.
Don’t Design For One Browser
It’s happened to everyone. You’re searching and searching for that one thing and finally find the site that offers it. You click the link and are redirected to a page that says right across the top “this page works best in blah blah internet browser”. How annoying. You might even say a bad word while you painstakingly open a new browser window and copy and paste the URL in the search bar. Don’t be that guy. Make your website smart enough that it can run on any browser.
Kill the Clutter
Links to other sites, videos, music in the background, articles, pictures, and flash content; some websites have it all. Some websites give you nausea and an overwhelmed feeling. These websites are one in the same because they are cluttered. Leaving no “white space” for the visitor is like leaving no place to think, and makes finding anything at all very difficult with all the “stuff” in the way. Clear it out, leave some space, and go for a clean, organized look.