Most Important Web Design Rules to Follow

“Content is King!”

You would hear this every day in our life, if you are working on online marketing, SEO or web design.

And if you want your website to generate back-links and have quality content that search engines love, be sure to make it readable equally by people and search engines. The motive of search engines is to give people quality results and thus, they are looking for sites with quality content.

So, build sites for people – and the search engines will come automatically.

When creating a new website or redesigning an existing site, there are four significant rules which should be followed to make the site valuable, practical, loved by search engines – and successful.

1. Easy to Read

When creating a website, the first thing you need to be sure of is that your website is easy to read. When you write content, remember that most web site visitors don’t read every word of a page – in fact, they only scan pages to find what they want.

Break up Your Content

Use meaningful headers between each paragraph- this helps with SEO as well. Headers should be created with the H1 through H4 tags for SEO. Always use good writing structure. Also, try and avoid long paragraphs that are never-ending.

Color and Fonts

To help with the easy and better readability, use high contrast colors between font and background. Black text against a white background may seem harsh, but it is very readable.

Tip: To make a website easy on the eyes, try an off-white background and a dark gray text color.

Things to avoid with content color:

  • Avoid vibrant background colors.
  • Avoid using an image behind your text.
  • Avoid using bright text colors on bright backgrounds.

Fonts Matter

Simple fonts are the best; the more fancy the font, the harder it is to read.

Since many browsers only have the standard font set, use standard fonts. These include Arial, Verdana, Tahoma and Times New Roman. Your readers will see something different than you see if you use other fonts. Also, while designing the website try and keep all headers and designs to the standard web fonts, so that they can be easily converted to text.

Standard Compliant Browser for Development

When developing and testing your site, use a Standards compliant browser like FireFox. It is recommended that you test your site using the latest and last browser versions of IE (IE6 and IE7) as well.

Keyword Density in Content

One way to make the subject of the content known to search engines is to use the keywords that people use to search for your site in your content. Be sure to use keywords in your header tags, your first paragraph and throughout your text. The keyword density should be between 4% and 7% – but any more than that could be considered a spam by search engines and banned. Keywords should also be used in your TITLE tags and your Meta description.

2. Simplify Navigation

The menus and links make up the navigation that the visitor uses to get from page to page in a site. Always plan a site around how people will get from page to page. A visitor to your site should be able to get to what they want within three clicks of their mouse.

Repeat the top menu and at the bottom. Also create a left or right menu.

Use links within your text to other areas on your site. You can create links so that they are good for search engine optimization (SEO).

Using link text (anchor text) that describes what the link is about is the best way. Search engine web crawlers (programs that automatically index the contents of websites) visit your site, they “read” links. Spiders can index descriptive links into a subject or keyword category. Spiders have nothing to work with when reading a “click here” until it reaches the linked page.

This is known as Cross Linking – use it as much as possible when it makes sense to do so when writing your content.

3. Consistent Design

At most, one or two layouts should be used in your site design. As a reader browses your site, they should be able to get used to looking in the same place for your navigation, for your sub-navigation and for your content. That’s all there is to say about that.

4. Lower Page Weight is Better

Page weight is the total size of a page on your site in bytes – code, text and images. Your site’s page weight makes a big difference to your viewers. Lighter page weight is better for your readers because the page will download faster. The faster a page downloads, the faster they will get to the content.

What light weight page means:

  • No large images.
  • Keep the number if images to a minimum.
  • Optimize images at no more than 72 dpi
  • Use a table td bgcolor attribute or a background-color style attribute for solid color backgrounds.
  • Make gradients horizontal or vertical (not diagonal) so that you can use a small image “strip” and repeat it.

How “Heavy” Should the Page be?

Certain studies show that 64K is a good maximum webpage size. 64K is a maximum, the smaller the page, the better it is. 25K is good, 15K is even better. There is a balance between design and function. It is a good idea to focus more on function.

Ways to make pages lighter:

  • Use linked style sheets
  • Use DIVs instead of TABLEs where possible
  • Use simple duplicate backgrounds for effect

Summary

  • Visitors to your website should be able to find what they are looking within three clicks.
  • Search engines should be able to navigate easily through your site. Making a site easy to read with consistent page design, and easy to navigate will make it easy to find information.
  • When people can find information, they are more likely to refer your site or link to it – which is exactly what you want them to do and you will be on the way to building a readable and optimistically a successful website that is loved by search engines if you follow these primary rules.

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