It has been said for ages that "first impressions last a lifetime" and not only that, but more importantly "you have only one chance to make first impression right". Having said that we have to make sure that we all leave this first impression ... Here are some tips for such achievement.
First Tip: What is Your Site About?Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when designing your site is that there is by no means one site design that is best. In fact, the nature of your site, its content, and its theme should all be carefully considered in order to ensure that your site has the look and feel you desire, without sacrificing the user-friendliness that will keep the hits streaming in. So before you open up Dreamweaver and start creating tables, and inserting text blocks and images, sit back and think about what it is you want your website to portray, and how you want visitors to feel when they visit your site. If your site is a personal website, think in terms of how you can exhibit your personality and style. If your site is a commercial website, think in terms of how you want your customers to feel about your products and services. A good deal of planning beforehand will allow you to choose the correct theme for your website, saving you the headache of going back and trying to get it right afterwards.
Second Tip: Research, and after you have come up with the look and feel that you feel is most appropriate for your website, the next step is to research what other websites with similar objectives have done. Spend some time looking at existing websites, and make notes of their respective positives and negatives; then think of how your site can incorporate the positives, while avoiding the negatives. You can learn a lot about what works and what doesn't by looking at the layout, color scheme, text, and images of other websites, and then use that knowledge to get the most out of your site.
Third Tip: Planning Once you have completed your research, and come up with an idea of what you want your site to look like, the next step is to plan your site. The best way to do this is to start by drawing a sitemap, covering all of the pages you plan to create. By drawing a sitemap, you will be able to see clearly exactly how your site will work, and which links you will have to create to make it work the way you planned. Drawing a site map is easy and will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Fourth Tip: User Friendliness Regardless of how beautiful your site is, if users can not navigate it, they will simply find another site. Try to lay out your site in a clear, logical manner, and avoid using image-based mouseover links. This will help ensure that your site is easy to navigate, and will still leave you plenty of room to add your personal design touches.
Fifth Tip: Images/Page size As we all know, images add a lot to a website, but it is important to understand that they also add a lot of size to web pages, size which can increase loading time. As a result of this fact, you should try to use the minimum amount of images on each page. Try to limit your pages to a total of 30kb, including text, background images, and images. This will ensure that all pages will be loaded in about 5 seconds, even if the user happens to be using a dial-up connection. Another thing to consider when deciding the amount of images to use on your web pages is that each file on a web page requires a separate HTTP request to the server. What this means is that using a lot of small images, which add up to less than 30kb is still going to slow down your site considerably.
Have fun. See you soon and talk more.