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How to design your own web page

Susan Dillicar - Monday, August 03, 2009

If you choose to create your own web page, remember these four points:

  1. a) keep it simple and easy to navigate
  2. b) provide useful information
  3. c) make it attractive
  4. d) make it easy to read

In order to create attractive and effective web pages, you should consider the following design points:

  1. What is the purpose of your web page?  You need to know whether your page is going to sell your products or services, inform or entertain clients.  When you know what the purpose of your web page is, you will have an idea of how your page will appear.  For instance, a news webpage would look very different from a fashion web page.  Browse the internet to see what other similar web pages are doing in terms of design.
  2. Who do you want to attract to your website?  You need to have a clear picture of your audience.  How old are they? What is their sex, profession, wealth, etc?  This will help you design a page and write content that will appeal to these clients.
  3. What is your competition doing?  Check out their website - are there aspects that you would like to incorporate? What can you improve on? Can you offer more products or is there a niche opening?
  4.  What will you say?  Good writing and images are very important in attracting and keeping customers.  Keep your writing short and to the point.  Viewers are not interested in reading essays when they are seeking products or an concise answer to a question.  Consider providing short descriptions with a link to more information. 
  5. How will the pages look? How do you want to be perceived by your clients? For instance, will your web page design be modern and innovative or dignified and formal? Bright colours or subdued?
  6. What are your time constraints?  Don't announce your website until the web pages have been created and the website tested.  Do not promote your website when there are still pages 'under construction'.  If your time constraints are not flexible, you may need to keep your design basic and focused on information rather than flashiness.
  7. Who will test your website?  A designer cannot be the one to test his website anymore than a writer can edit his own manuscript.  Solicit some people to explore your website and give you feedback.
  8. Who is going to write your content?  Freelance writers are readily available and very affordable.  However, if you are going to write your own content, make sure:
    • your links work
    • you break your information into small digestible bits, with a link to the next page
    • important information is easily found at the top of the page - don't make viewers hunt for the information
    • provide informative titles - these help viewers to decide if it is what they are looking for, but it also helps your web page to be more easily found in search engines
    • use a style book if necessary to ensure your content is grammatically correct. Poor spelling and grammar makes your web page look unprofessional.
  9. Avoid common mistakes beginners make -

  • using the default grey colour, 
  • making the type too small,
  • backgrounds that make the type too hard to read,
  • paragraphs all in bold or capitals,
  • text that stretches right across the screen,
  • too many links or worthless links,
  • large graphic files that take too long to load,
  • no focal point on a page,
  • having to scroll sideways, and
  • cluttered page.
Following these guidelines should enable you to create attractive web pages that entice and, hopefully, keep customers coming back for more!
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