By Alain Houle, Alco Web Design LLC
- Header: Every page of your website must let your visitors know that they are at your website. Here you have your logo, banner, business name, etc.
- Navigation bar area: The navigation bar helps your visitors finding their way through your website. Side navigation bars support an unlimited number of items while horizontal navigation bars leave more width for the content of your web pages. Think your navigation system thoroughly to make it simple, efficient, and to minimize the number of clicks required to navigate through your website.
- Footer: Every page must let your visitors know who you are and how to contact you.
- Main content area: The main content area is what your visitors actually come to see. A useful and content rich website will convince your visitors about the seriousness of your business and will invite them to return to your website. Plan ahead and don't make your content an after fact.
- Background and colors: The newspaper industry figured out a long time ago that black letters on white paper are easy to read. Other dark font and light background combinations could work but are always harder to work with. Stay away from dark backgrounds.
- Pictures, logos, and artwork: Use pictures, logos, and artwork to differentiate your website. Save time and money by reusing or scanning printed documents you might already have. Use a digital camera and take your own pictures. Many websites, including Microsoft, offer great royalty free pictures.
- Flash animations: Flash technology is sometimes used to create animations or sounds effects. While it can sometimes be cool, some people (like me) find it extremely annoying: They take time to download and are a distraction.
- Outbound links: They are cool but do not help you. You worked hard to get visitors to your website and the last thing you want is to lose them through outbound links. At a minimum, make sure outbound links open up a new window so your web pages are still opened.
- Page width: The look of a web page might change slightly on different computers. I usually use a narrower fixed width page that will look good for the majority of my visitors and print well on a regular 8½" X 11" sheet of paper.
Please do not hesitate to contact Alco Web Design if you have any questions about how to create a successful web page layout.