Your website design should carry match the logo, and package it in a way that presents the information to your readers in an accessible and easy to navigate way. A good rule of thumb is that there are two major components to good web design: looks and usability. But if you must only have one, choose usability. It's a much better experience using a really well thought out, ugly site than a beautiful site that makes no sense. Here are some tips for getting a website designed:
Before you can get a site designed, you need to think about what is going to be on each page. Consider what pages will be on the site, and what elements you want on what pages. For example, do you want to have buttons for adding content to social media? Do you want an RSS icon to highlight subscriptions? Do you have a lot of extra pages in the menu, or just the blog home, an about page, and a contact page?
Spend a few hours looking at other websites with an emphasis on what is working visually and what is not. Go through the Technorati Top 100 blogs, major competitors in your niche, and any other websites you are familiar with to decide which you like and which you don't.
When briefing your web designer be sure to include examples of things you think work well and things you'd like to avoid. They may not be able to actually mesh different concepts together, but it will give them a feel for what is important to you. Likewise it will help you to start thinking about what constitutes a good site design.
Good designs will guide the user's eye through the page. When you are looking at concept designs or even final designs, think about where your eye is moving. Test it out on friends and ask them which parts of the design they find themselves looking at first.
Ideally you should look at the site's logo/brand first and then down to the first bits of content in the form of headlines or content rotators. Then from there, things like the sidebar and menu. This is so that the reader first recognizes what site they are looking at, then engages with the content, and finally gets a feeling of what else is on the page.
In a bad design your eye will be pulled to the wrong part of the page. A little bit of distraction is okay, but be careful that it's not overpowering.
If you plan to sell advertising on your site, it's really important that you have considered where and how it will be placed early on. This includes getting your designer to show you layouts with real ads placed in the ad spots.
If you look at a design with empty ad spots you won't see just how distracting they might look in real life and how this is being dealt with visually. Remember you want your ads in a prominent spot, but at the same time they should feel like they are part of the design, not an afterthought.
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Note: This article was sent to us by: Sharon Reed at 02152011
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