Being a freelancer is a difficult job in and of itself, but when you add a major metropolitan area to the mix things can get downright crazy.
Pockets of civilization dot the landscape here and there, with better sections tending to be near the outskirts where people like me live. Away from all that though are miles and miles of nothing at all besides roving gangs looking to see what they can take from the next guy.
No matter what sort of website you have, it is important to make sure that it follows the principles of good web design. A poorly designed website will drive away visitors and frustrate those few who persevere. The following article can help you design a high quality website and attract more traffic.
Don’t try to fit too much onto one page when you’re designing a website. If your page is too busy it will take a lot longer to load and can overwhelm visitors. When you’re going to be putting up a lot of content, create pages for everything you can to reduce the clutter on your page.
Use ALT tags whenever possible. These helpful tags describe an image to a viewer, assisting the visually impaired, as well as those who prefer to browse without images. As an added bonus, some search engines include these tags in their rankings, so you may get a boost by using them.
Make sure that you use the right anchor text. The anchor text of a link should clearly describe what the visitor should expect to see when he clicks on the link. For instance, if a link leads to your widget ordering page, the anchor text might read “Order widgets.” Specifically avoid using “click here” as anchor text.
Test your website before it goes live. There’s nothing worse then launching your new website and having to take it down right away due to bugs or other issues. Get a group of people together who are using different web browsers and computer platforms, and ask them to use a beta version of your website, writing down any issues they come across.
Choose your web host carefully. Some hosts require you to link to them, while others may force you to install their pop-ups. You should also test their performance using one of the many tools available for free online, as you do not want to host with someone who is consistently slow or crashing.
The best web sites communicate a lot of information in a small amount of words. If you are long-winded, people will easily get bored and find another site that is more concise. Make sure any content is relevant and easy to understand – newspapers use an eighth grade reading level, which is the most common literacy level.
Organize your links and avoid putting too many links in one area of your site. Doing this can confuse visitors and make them leave your site. If you do have many low- to mid-importance links, emulate the “blogrolls” seen in many blogs and tuck them away in a column on the right side of the page.
To help your website function the way it is intended to, make sure all your links are working. If you have broken links then your visitors may get frustrated when they try to click on something that interests them. Frustrated visitors is not something you want because they end up leaving your site mad.
Use fonts that are both easy to read, and professional. The quality of a professional website is measured by it’s fonts. Fancy fonts, such as those that look like gothic lettering or calligraphy, can often be hard to read. Other fonts, like Comic Sans, send a message that you aren’t professional. Use a font that is part of the default font subsets on user computers. Sometimes this looks worse, but often times it helps the reader who otherwise may not have been able to read your website clearly.
When selecting a domain name, it’s important that you’re creative. A big part of web design is having a site with a good, on-topic name. Having a catchy, relevant name will make people remember your website just as much as any design features would. Don’t think that a name isn’t an important feature.
As you have seen, the principles of good web design are not terribly mysterious or difficult to implement. However, too many websites still ignore these basic techniques. Do not let your site fall into this category. Put these techniques into practice to design a website that you can be proud of.