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good web design

Anyone can build a website but how do you build a great website and keep your visitors returning again and again?

It seems that the secret of good web design is achived by avoiding bad design and on this page you will find tips and tricks to help achive just that, so what are the sins and how are they avoided?

under construction

the first thing to avoid is under construction signs, how come people have the time to add under construction pics to their page but don't have the time to post any content there anyway? If you have ever visited a website and seen these awful under construction notices and promises that the work will be done soon then you will know that neither you nor anyone else will ever return to that site for a second visit

so whats the fix?
well, all websites are constantly under construction and yes it's OK to point that out to visitors but don't promote or even link to pages that have no content, if it's under construction it should not be online.

browser incompatibility

There are vast differences between the two main browsers (Netscape and Internet Explorer) and you have probably come across sites that have been 'optimized' for one of these, for example when a website is created by someone using a Netscape browser, often the layer tag is employed and all that IE users see is images and text that overlap, rendering the page unreadable and useless. (This problem can also occur when stylesheets are used, find out more about stylesheets at

of course it works both ways, people will create pages optimized for IE at the expense of losing visitors that use a Netscape browser, there is no excuse really and there is only one fix for this problem and that is to check all work with both browsers
Netscape 4.7 and Internet Explorer 5.01 are free to download

filesize & layout

Not everyone has a fast internet connection and to put it simply if a webpage does not download within about 10 seconds visitors tend to click the 'back button' and end up never visiting the site in question.
The fix for this is to keep the filesize down and get rid of some of those 50K pictures replacing them with much smaller thumbnail versions that link to the large version

As far as layout goes, having to scroll sideways induces the same kind of rage in many users, the fact is that the creator of the website designed it on his large 1024x768 monitor and forgot (or just did not know) that not everyone uses that size and websites look different on different sized monitors.
Although an 800x600 monitor seems to be the minimum qualification for a PC screen these days people still do use 640x480 resolutions
The fix is simple, use a html table and set the width to 100% this will stretch the page to fit at all resolutions, if an absolute pixel width is used then the safest bet is to set the table width to 600

fonts & colors

design sins involving fonts include allowing text to run all the way across the page from one edge of the screen to another, using exclusive fonts and using font colors that clash to much with the background. All of these can be painful to the eyes
to stop text wandering across the page confine it inside a html table (check out how to use a html table as a webpage at

Not all fonts are considered 'safe', and any fonts used on a webpage which are not installed on a users computer will be rendered as the users default font, so it is always a good idea to have 'back up fonts' in your font tags.

<font face="georgia, helvetica, courier, arial">

the use of unusual fonts should be kept to a minimum, a page such as the one you are reading now would be painful on the eyes if a font such as flat brush or balthazar were used for all of the text, even a font like comic sans ms can be something of a strain

the following 12 fonts are installed on both pc and mac and are considered as 'safe'
arial, arial black, comic sans ms, courier, courier new, georgia,
helvetica, impact, palatino, times new roman, trebuchet ms, verdana


Ever visited a website and clicked a link to the next page and wondered if your still at the same site? The home page had a black background but the page you arrived at has a funky blue background and the next page will probably have a framed page or something...this is inconsistent and unprofessional
the fix?
A consistent design is the key to a professional looking website and is achived with the use of a template, a basic page that will be used over and over giving the entire website a uniform look, take a look at these free templates


Have content, lots of content so much content that visitors to your website probably will not have time to see every thing on their first visit and will bookmark and return to your site, this means putting in a lot of work, devote a certain amount of time each and every week to developing and maintaining your website, try and stick to a theme, this will make it a lot easier to get listed in directories.
give them something for free, there is no better way to entice visitors to your website than to give them something for free, information, a download, anything as long as it's free
Keep adding to your website constantly, make use of add-ons like guestbooks, polls, plug-in email, make it interactive
Ask your visitors for feedback, let them tell you what they like or dislike, ask your visitors to bookmark your website and ask them to tell a friend
just press CTRL & D to bookmark this site
If you like this site please tell a friend

And finally don't be afraid to be whacky, even Yahoo have a whacky name, there is one thing that you can give your visitors that no-one else can, You!

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