Website Design

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Here are some of the considerations that I use when designing a website.

Overall Design
It is important to retain the same overall design throughout a website. Keeping the same general layout and position of key components such as navigation buttons will ensure that visitors quickly become familiar with using your website.

The Home Page
The first page to be seen on a website is the home page. It should be used to give an overall understanding of what the website is all about without going into great detail. More detail can always be given on the page that deals with a particular subject. Ideally, a home page should need little or no scrolling to view it completely. Other pages can be much longer. First impressions are important. Customers may not proceed further if the homepage is too daunting.

Navigation
Efficient navigation throughout the website is very important and should be made using clearly defined buttons or menus. A user should always be able to see where they are on the website and how to get to the other pages and back to the home page.

Website Width
Websites can be designed to a fixed width that allows the full width of the website to be visible on most sizes of computer or other device. They can also be designed to adjust automatically to the width of a browser window or screen, although this can sometimes cause unsatisfactory layout effects on a very wide or very narrow browser window or screen.

Images
These will always add interest to a web page. Generally they should not be too large as they can then cause a web page to take longer to appear. This is not a problem if your visitors are using fast broadband but if they are using a slow link they may give up waiting and go elsewhere.

Colour
Generally it is best to limit the number of design colours used to three or four at the most. Background colours, if any, should not be vivid. Most muted colours will work as backgrounds although some, such as yellow, tend to be a bit hard on the eye. White or pale backgrounds are popular and together with dark text are good for clarity. White text on black or dark backgrounds can have impact.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
If internet users do not know the name of the website that they want or are looking for a particular product or service they will probably search for it by using an internet search provider such as Google or Yahoo. The position that your website achieves on the pages of these search engines can be influenced by the way that the website is engineered. This is called Search Engine Optimisation. Good optimisation will give you more chance of being placed at or near the top of search pages.

Unless you request otherwise, I will take steps to obtain a good SEO rating for any website that I build by sending submissions to the main UK Internet search providers, Google, Yahoo, AOL, etc., requesting them to include your new website in their search listings. I also insert a concise description of your website in a hidden area of the website that search engines use when compiling their listings.

The wording of the first paragraph or two of the home page can also be of help if it contains words or phrases that people are likely to use when searching the Internet for a site such as yours.
Being linked to from other websites can also help to improve the rating that a search provider will assign to your site if there is enough traffic flowing. You may want to offer to link to those websites in return.


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