The design of your web site is like the paint on the front door of your business. It is your first impression you offer to your potential customers and a way of saying, please check out what I have to offer. Make this a professional looking and interesting offer, your income depends on this as well as many other items.
Don’t overdo it with images, they do make the site load up slower and if the possible customers is on a slow dial up connection they will get impatient waiting to see the main information they came to your site for. If you do need several images to promote your products then make sure they are edited and the size has been lowered for the web. You will still have a nice image and it will load 10 times faster than an optimal large image.
A good navigation setup is a real bonus to help your visitors make their way around your website. A best practice is to have navigation at the top of the pages as well as the bottom. Your terms and conditions along with about and contact pages should be easy to find. You want your site to be as open as you can make it, if someone has a question they need to be able to find an answer easily or they might lose trust and look elsewhere.
If you need extra help designing your site to make it compliant and meet the standards to cover all types of customers, then you need to consult the W3 web standards. Their site can be found here; www.w3.org . Simple things like having images names that mean something, not just a number etc.. Many handicap programs and users need this information to truly make their way around your site.
As you build your website make sure it will perform the way you want in several different kinds of browsers. Look at it and check the navigation and input areas in Opera, Firefox, Explorer and any other types to make sure the little differences do not break your website or you will lose many prospective customers.
Avoid using scripting languages on your website unless it is absolutely necessary for a certain aspect of your site. Use scripting languages to handle or manipulate data, not to create visual effects on your website. Also, different types of scripts are not supported across all browsers, some people will have crashes or other issues and some do slow down the loading time during pages loads.
Keep your text paragraphs at a reasonable length, you want it to be a easy to read piece of information. Don’t try and put too much information into one large group as people will not fully read the paragraph and visitors will not get the full grasps of your post or article. You want to gain their interest and promote your product or how to article to keep the person on the site.
Using HTML and CSS to control the look and feel of your site is very important and should be learned to make simple changes when you need to. Just the easy stuff like changing colors and text control can be picked up fairly easy. Learn as you go so that you, not the designer have some control on how to keep the site fresh looking.