Jim Westergren
A blog about me, my projects, SEO, Web Development and Personal Development.
"If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves." - Thomas A. Edison

My Secrets of Web Design

I have now finished making my third web site. The first two I made in 1999 and this one I finished today.

I was very satisfied with the result and by considering that I spent not more than 5 days making it (all texts cut and paste of course) I decided to write this essay on the subject.

First I can mention that I write myself the HTML and the program I use is mostly Notepad and I use CuteHTML to run "Replace all" in as many as 35 files at the same time.

Some basic guidelines I want to give you in designing a professional web site are the following:

  1. Use only one or two colors with different tones. In this web site I only use different tones of blue with black background. In my first web site I use red with gray text and black background; my second web site blue on white background. I consider the colors the most important factor in web designing. Use something that looks nice and are relaxing to the eyes. Avoid blinding neon light in the visitors eyes.
  2. Be consequent. Use one specific color or symbol for links. One color for the general text etc. and have the same on all your pages. To do otherwise is to confuse the visitor.
  3. Have a brief navigation panel. Like that the visitor gets a good fast overview what your site contain and can easily navigate. You maybe have about 5 seconds from many visitors in which they judge to push the "back" button or explore your site. Your navigation panel is what is looked at and I think the most crucial in the visitors decision of surfing on your site.
  4. Don't overwhelm. Be simple and don't put too much information on one page. I recently saw a site (no name) in which I literary got hundreds of links thrown at me with maybe 20 new symbols to learn and buttons, different colors, 5 pages of introduction text, about 6 different navigation panels and all on the same page! If you go to my index page you will see that I have it totally opposite, and I still consider it to be on the limit and one paragraph should go out.
  5. Use good Fonts. Use an internet friendly font such as Verdana or Arial for the basic text and a nice one such as Georgia or Times New Roman for the head lines. Don't use Times New Roman for the basic text (if you don't have size 3 or above).
  6. Create a "template". This is a good tip to save time. If you have similar pages make one that is perfect and note in the coding where the text/pictures is to be cut and paste then copy that file. In this way you can also "Replace all" using a program like CuteHTML to change for example the color or some minor HTML on all the pages at the same time.
  7. Be professional. After writing some HTML look at your site and ask yourself "Is this professional?" if not then go back and change it. Take your time.
  8. Pretend to be the visitor. Sit back in a new unit of time and pretend you are the visitor. Enter the index page and see what you see. What comes up in your mind to be corrected? Correct it.
  9. I hope by this essay you got some ideas on how you could improve the design on your own web site.

6 Jan 2005

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About the Author Jim Westergren Jim Westergren is a Swedish web entrepreneur. He is happily married and has two lovely children. Some of his interests are web development, SEO and writing. He is the Founder and owner of TodaysWeb offering SEO, web development and manages projects such as DomainStats and N.nu. Read his ..

Design, text and CMS (N.nu) by myself.