How do you develop a good website?
Many of our clients inquire about the best way to start the development of their website. This is mostly the case with people who have little or no experience in the computer/Internet world and are afraid to set that first step.
We think of it as simply knowing some tips and tricks (combined with a lot of patience...) useful in the development of your website. The Internet is the prime information medium to find out about this subject, but leave also enough time free to learn from others!
Following are some tips you may want to consider when thinking about the design of your site:
Select a suitable colour scheme
The very first thing to do is decide on what colours to use to present your website. Look for a suitable colour scheme , with two or three colours and stay with those colours. Inconsistencies in the use of colours make your website look disorderly.
Also choose colours that match. Another possibility is to use the colours that are already present in your company logo . Well-known brands such as, for instance, Coca Cola and Ford use this technique.
The best learning experience is to visit different sites and to study how they have made use of their colours. Below you will find a list of the 5 most used colour schemes:
- Red, yellow, and white
- Blue and white
- Red, grey, and white
- Blue, orange, and white
- Yellow, grey, and white
Another important aspect of webdesign is to make the browser independent of your site. We mean by this that your website should (approximately) have the same look on Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and Opera (to mention only the largest three). You should always test this out.
The result of this approach means that you won’t be able to make use of all of the whistles and bells of a given browser but have to opt for the "least of all evils". Browser-specific "tags" are thus excluded.
Use an intuitive, easy-to-use navigation system
Always make sure that the visitor to your site does not become lost! This means that you should in advance set up a proper navigation system. Most sites use a navigation system at the left side, or possibly at the top, or in both places.
Think carefully about the links you want to show to the user (e.g. Homepage, Contact us, our products,...) and ensure that these remain always visible. As a (bad) example we refer you to http://www.isonsw.com.au. After spending some moments on this website, you will agree with us that it runs a bad navigation system: you completely lose your way! Compare this to amazon.com... Here you always know where you are!
Use "Cascading Style Sheets"
CSS offers you the possibility to define a number of styles (as, for instance, in Word). With the right tool it is quite easy to use. There exist countless (free) tools on the Internet that will assist you in creating good-looking stylesheets for your site. Also make use in your CSS of your colour scheme!
Images and buttons
You say you are hardly an artist? No cause for panic! The Internet features countless free images and buttons to make your site more attractive to your visitors. For, confess it, what could be more boring than a website with only text copy? For instance, go to www.google.be and look there for "free buttons" or "free images".
Adapting your pages
You have set up a basic lay-out for your website. What next? We recommend a number of packages for the creation/adaptation of your website. The most important are Frontpage from Microsoft and Dreamweaver from Macromedia. These packages enable you to develop your own website yourself, without having mastered the language of the Internet (HTML or Hypertext Markup Language).
@iPower also offers the opportunity to use these packages to immediately upload your files to your hosting account. There are, of course, numerous free packages that you can find on the Internet to help you create websites. One known address for handy tools is for instance http://www.tucows.be
When you want to learn the real HTML, you can go to the Internet to consult free tutorials and to learn at your own speed; alternatively, you can buy yourself a good textbook on the subject!
Use interactive extras
Also pay attention that your website does not become too "weighty". We mean by this that visitors to your site do not wish to be kept waiting for long and will quickly go surfing elsewhere when they find it takes too long for your page to load!
Keep your website well organised