Getting That Expert Look

They say it takes a split second for a surfer to decide if he will surf a website or leave it. That gives you a very small window of opportunity to keep your visitors from leaving and also wanting them to come back.

Gone are the days when flashing text, or having animated flames plastered all over your front page was cool. Now, surfers want to see simple clean looking websites that are well organized and clear on what the subject or purpose of the website is. Here are a few tips on what you can do to help ensure you aren’t one of the millions of websites people leave in a split second never to return again.

1. Layout

When designing remember this term, Fold. Thats the point where the page stops due to screens ize and the visitor has to scroll down. You want your most important information above the fold, don’t make your visitor hunt for it. The maximum number of folds that you should have depends on who you ask, but really it depends on the type of site. I typically use a maximum of 3 folds, anything higher, theres too much information for the visitor to consume at one time.

Keep the layout consistent on all pages. That means your navigation, search facility etc… should be in the same place on all pages, again don’t make your visitors hunt for something thats in a different place on each page.

2. Colors

Just because your favorite color maybe pink, red or lime green doesn’t mean the rest of the world will appreiate it as a background of a website they are trying to view and read. Choose your colors carefully. Alight background needs a dark font colour, and vice versa. There are numerous color combinations that you could use that would look good, heres a great tool to help you decide, Color Scheme Generator, but there are several.

3. Fonts

Font sizes appear differently on Windows than they do on Macs. When deciding on sizes, it is recommended to use percentages instead of point sizes, this allows your visitor to determine how big the font is by there settings.

There are fonts your shouldn’t use like, Comic Sans, there are also a few that are more apt to give you that pro look. For example, Verdana, Arial, Georgia. Most pros have stopped using Times New Roman as everyone started using it and now designers are tired of it and its kind of bland.

4. Speed

Speed is crucial, ensure your website loads quickly. You can take steps to ensure you have done all you can do to make it as fast as possible. For example, compress images, Javascript, image preloaders for rollover effects, optimize your CSS (Sample), clean up your HTML (Sample).

There are thousands, if not more, of people telling you should do this and not that, but the above things are just your basic starters. There are many other things that you will need and should do, but thats only after you properly design and code your website.

Remember, every website should and needs to validate as well, this helps remove any possible chance that an error is causing a visitors browser not to work properly when surfing your website. You can validate your code here.

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