The best tips that I can give you are the following 25 that are basic web design tips which the majority of web designers would also agree with.
Tip 1: Ideally use a light background with a dark font, preferably white background with black text. This is so much easier on the human eye & the last thing you want is getting a visitor to your site & for them to just click off because the content was hard to read.
Tip 2: Content is very important, on every page you should have at least 100 words of copy which will include your most important keywords. Google loves content & the more up to date & relevant the content is the better.
Tip 3: Have your logo positioned top left of your website as this is the first thing the human eye will see. Along with your business or website name, e-mail address & your phone number just to the right of this.
Tip 4: If your website is quite large with many pages & products then make sure you have a Site Search option for your website. Ideally this will be placed near the top of the page.
Tip 5: Make sure your Title Tags are unique for each page & that they contain your main keywords for that particular page. DO NOT just have ‘Home’ as your Title Tag, make sure it says exactly what your site is about, for example, ‘Web Design Tips for the beginner, advice on website design’. You are allowed around 65 characters, including the spaces.
Tip 6: Make your Meta Description as interesting & as descriptive as can be, you need to capture their attention. Use your keywords but make it readable & make it more of a sales pitch too. You have around 25-30 words to play with.
Tip 7: Keep images as small as possible, yes they look great but too large an image will take longer to load & the visitor to your site will just get fed up with waiting & click on to the next site, which will probably be your competitors!
Remember slow pages are very annoying! Ideally keep your images to around 10-12KB per image.
Tip 8: Always use graphics that are relevant to the content. You would be amazed at how many sites I have seen that are, for example, about Fishing & there are pictures of the site owners Ferrari on there!!
Tip 9: Try to avoid using Flash images, as flashing or moving graphics are distracting & annoying. You want the visitor to read your content or buy your product & not look at some Flash image just because you thought it looked cool! When it comes to web design…lose your ego!
Tip 10: Whitespace on your layout is a must. Although I have said that you need content, it must be readable. Use sub headlines to separate paragraphs as people skim read.
You need to make it as easy on the eye as you can, do not cram as much content as you can in just for the sake of it…make it readable!
Tip 11: Make sure that you have Alt Tags on all of your images. They help the visually impaired & blind, as they have software that will read the Alt tags & describe the image to them.
Google also view Alt Tags as important so make sure you have keywords in the Tag but DO NOT use a keyword more than twice as Google will think you are trying to trick them by spamming. Just keep it sensible & keep it real.
Tip 12: The fonts you use for your text are important. Serif is easy to read on computers, so stick to Serif for headlines & Sans-Serif for your text.
Do not use fancy fonts just because they look good, as some will not be displayed on certain browsrers & this will make your website look awful. You want your site to look good but more importantly you want it to work.
Stick with Arial, Verdana or Helvetica fonts, may look boring but they work!
Tip 13: Limit the number of different fonts that you use to 2 at the maximum. I try to use the same font throughout my websites as many different fonts just looks amateurish.
Tip 14: Do not use loads of bright colours as this also looks amateurish. Find a colour wheel & choose 2 or 3 colours that match or are closely linked on the wheel.
Do not use ‘shouting’ colours such as bright reds, yellows or greens. Be subtle.
Tip 15: Avoid large fonts as people recognise this as ‘shouting’. Use bold text only for headlines, sub-headlines & links.
Tip 16: When using hyper-links do not just put ‘Click Here’ make sure you use your keywords as the link text. Google will love this, so for example, if I was to put a link in for this article, instead of using ‘Click Here’ I would use ’20 Tips for Website Design’.
Tip 17: Make navigation of your site simple, self-explanatory & user friendly. Remember you have just 3 clicks to keep the visitor interested, they need to get where they want to go in 3 clicks or less!
It is hard enough to get visitors to your site so you do not want to annoy them & lose them for good.
Tip 18: Stick to around 7-9 main menu categories, this may be difficult so try to use sub-menus if you have to. Apparently women can remember up to 9 things at once but men only 7!
Tip 19: Do not use images for links, always use text. Google cannot read images but will obviously read text, so make sure your keywords are in the text.
Tip 20: The colour scheme you choose, be consistent with it & use it all the way through your site.
Tip 21: Use bullet points when listing important points, as said earlier people skim read & bullet points stand out.
Tip 22: If you plan on using advertising or affiliates to earn some revenue from your site, then use them sparingly as people just tend to switch off with lots of flashing adverts but may just be attracted to the single advert amongst that text.
Tip 23: Flash intros look great but are really annoying, how many actually watch all of the intro anyway? I just tend to click to the next site rather than wait for the intro to load. In my opinion, do not use it.
Tip 24: Pop-up windows for me are a big NO-NO! I find these really annoying & most people I know do too. Try to avoid using these. Remember what I said…”lose your ego!”. It may look good to you but they are very annoying to the user of a website.
Tip 25: Make sure that all of your important content & keywords are above the ‘fold’. The ‘fold’ is the point on your website where you have to start scrolling down.
Also make sure that your site fits on most screen sizes, one most annoying thing that turns visitors off is if they have to scroll from left to right to view your site.