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Tutorials > Webmaster > Fundamentals of Good Web Design


Learn a few fundamentals that will help improve your web design skills.

Updated quality content is not the only way to keep visitors happy during their visit to your site. In order to get visitors to stay at your site longer, you will need to practice a few fundamentals of good web design, which will make the visitor feel more comfortable at your site.

Site Consistency
Maintain some type of consistency to your web site. Visitors should easily be able to tell whether or not they are still at your site or not when a link is clicked. If each page of your site is arranged differently with a completely different look to each, visitors will get confused. They start asking questions like, Am I at the same site? Or, Where is the navigation, it was at the top of the page but now its not there anymore? As more visitors ask these questions, they are more likely to give up and find another site with the information they need. All pages of your site should have a consistent appearance and navigational methods.

Brief Pages
Whenever someone is searching for information on the internet, they expect to find it quickly. By cutting down your pages to at most a few mouse scrolls, information suddenly becomes easier to find since there is means of organization and obviously less content to search. Cutting up pages also help break up large pages into smaller ones. Let's face it; visitors are more likely to read an article that has been broken up into multiple pages as opposed to articles that have not been broken up.

In addition to easier site organization, creating brief pages by breaking up long pages into multiple pages help reduce page load time since there is less content on each page. Many people still use dial up and will thank you for keeping your page's length to a minimum.

Short Load Time
As I mentioned briefly above, load time is crucial to practicing good web design. Everyone is happy when pages load quickly and become frustrated when they take over thirty seconds or so to load. This is not an issue with the growing number of high speed internet users, however this is a problem for those still using slower connections. In order to make everyone happy, keep your pages short, use images sparingly, and optimize all images on your site. One way to easily cut down on load time is by using the same image on all your pages, if possible. Therefore once the first page of your site has been downloaded, the image will already be loaded in the browser's cache, decreasing page load time.
(Note: Learn more about Decreasing Load time.)

Quality Navigational Methods
Streamlined navigational methods allow visitors to easily find their way around your site. Whether your site uses horizontal of vertical forms of static or interactive navigation, navigational links should be clearly visible and laid out in a simple and constructive manner. Even with clear cut navigation, there will always be a few visitors that will get lost at your site. To help these people, each site should have a site map that lists all of the pages on your site. As an added bonus, search engines love site maps since they provide links to all of the pages on your site to crawl and index. Not only will they help lost visitors, but they may also improve your search engine rankings.

Good web design fundamentals will make any site with quality content that is updated frequently even better. By practicing good web design fundamentals, your site will be more appealing by increasing your site's ease of usability.



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