While running a website is definitely hard work, it is even more difficult if you are not prepared to do so. This article will provide you with a firm background of what is involved, as well as how to do it. When you’re thinking about how to design a website, you need to be sure to think about the navigation. You want your navigation to be easily accessible and easy to use. Put the navigation bar on every page in a noticeable place. Also, make sure that it flows well with the rest of your page and doesn’t distract visitors. Do not underestimate the value of a website that loads fast, with no slowdowns. If a site visitor ends up waiting for a long time for your web page to load, they will definitely leave your site in search of a similar site that loads faster and will never recommend anyone to your site. Your website needs to function properly for visitors who use any kind of browser, so be sure to test out your site for browser compatibility. A webpage that displays properly using Internet Explorer, could appear incorrectly or poorly on a different browser such as Firefox or Chrome. Go through every page with each browser and correct mistakes for a user-friendly website. Stay away from lots of graphics on your website. You want the site to look professional and well-designed instead of cluttered. Graphics should be used to improve the site, not overdecorate it. Having the right mix of graphics will improve your site’s usability, too. If users want to, let them cancel an action. For example, allow users to cancel registration for newsletters or easily back out of a search. If visitors cannot cancel an action they are not interested in, such as providing their contact information, they will feel they do not have a choice and won’t buy anything. Give your visitors the ability to search your site so that they can more easily find what they are looking for. If someone cannot find what they are looking for right away, their next thought will be to look for a search field. Put this somewhere obvious and include a search button. Make sure your website uses a consistent font throughout. Some websites change fonts willy-nilly without any design reason to do so. This makes the content difficult to process for visitors. Most websites, especially business websites, will do just fine sticking to basic fonts like Arial, Veranda, or even Times New Roman. As you work on your site, make sure to incorporate both conditional loading and independent CSS pages. This makes testing easier and helps with maintenance later. Do not forget that you simply cannot go live as the site does require regular maintenance and what you just learned makes you job much easier. Always use fonts which are legible and professional. The font type on a website is a quick indicator of how professional it is. Fancy fonts, such as those that look like gothic lettering or calligraphy, can often be hard to read. Other fonts, like Comic Sans, send a message that you aren’t professional. If you use a font that not everyone has, a default font will appear on their computer. When the font defaults it can tend to make your webpage look much worse than it really is. Always check for links that are broken. Complete your error check before uploading your site and going live. A visitor who comes across a broken link will question how dated all of the content on your site might be. To prevent this from happening, do a quick check to ensure everything is working properly. When tinkering with your HTML, you always need to save a copy. You can save a copy of your code in a Notepad doc; just save it as .html and it will save as an actual webpage. This way, you can tinker around with things and know that there’s a backup should something go wrong. Failure to save pages may result in having to start from scratch. Get advice from professionals; they can save you much hard work and grief. You’ll rapidly advance your knowledge of design this way. Remember to put your search box on your web pages near the top. Also ensure that it will hold at least twenty-seven characters. The button that puts the search query into the system should be labeled “search”, rather than “submit” or “okay.” Follow these tips to ensure that your visitors find and use the search box and can easily find information on your website. User interface tools should be consistent and easy to use. Your hyperlinks should be underlined. After these links are clicked, they should change to a different color. If your website is easy to use and consistent, visitors will come back in the future. Don’t spend so much time designing the technical features of your website that you forget about the content of the website. Be sure to take the time to write quality content, or have good content written. You want site visitors to keep visiting your site, and that will only happen if you provide them a good experience not only visually and technically, but mentally as well. Free web hosting is not always the best bet for commercial sites; over time, it may lead to problems. Although it can be tempting to save money, particularly for someone just starting out, free hosts slam your site with a lot of ads, and you will have no input into which ads appear on your site. This can interfere with business practices and design, which can deter customers. It is exciting to take on the web design that will control the flow of visitors and users for your website. What a boost to your business! If web design is done well, it can really add to your website’s marketing potential. So begin today by incorporating some of these tips into your own web design projects and develop a successful site.