How to Design a
The hardest thing about
running pageBuzz.com is that everyone has to design their own
website. Of course, they can just as easily hire someone more
experienced with design, but most choose not to.
We get frustrated daily with
the design aspect of building your own website. It seems like a
simple concept to choose a color scheme and create a clean
looking design for a website, but more than half of our customers
struggle with making the design look professional.
We even adjusted the setup so
everyone gets a clean looking professional website right when
they sign up, but most people quickly change it to some
hodgepodge of crap.
So lets talk about the most
common mistakes people make and hopefully it will help you
understand why your site looks like a 5th grader built it.
The Colors Scheme
If you have a business you
should have business colors and a logo or some type of branding.
At pageBuzz we use back and yellow and the whole bee theme which
works well as a color scheme and well as branding.
Limit the colors to 2 or 3 at
the most not including the white page background if you use it.
Too many colors will not work well. If you have too many colors
it is like not having a color scheme at all. Remain true to a
central color palette.
Your colors should work well
together. Using harsh colors is less friendly to viewing, so
light tones, pastel or gradients work better than harsh solids.
Our back and yellow are harsh colors but we make them work by
buffering the pages with white backgrounds which is easier n the
eyes. If we used black pages with yellow letters you would need
sunglasses to read the pages.
One advantage you have is that
there are only 5 fonts for text, Arial, Verdana, Comic Sans MS,
Times New Roman and Courier, so it is harder to make a mess when
you only have a few choices. But somehow, everyone still does.
You need to choose a font and
a size and maintain it through the entire website. It is a simple
concept, so why do I see single pages with 5 different fonts on
I often see buttons in Arial
size 2 (BUTTONS)and then a page typed in Comic Sans MS in size 5
text) which looks totally out
This usually occurs because
the buttons are part of a template or theme which set them up at
a perfect size, then the site owner editor wants to make sure the
visitor reads the page text so they make it huge. Why they use
different fonts, no clue, but don't do it.
The use of themed templates
occurs less and less because of all the great tools we have on
pageBuzz that allow for layout editing and titlespace building.
That actually makes the sites worse, because the webmaster has to
choose the colors.
The preset templates always
have a clean color combination and look chosen by a designer. But
rather than using what is in place people will take a red white
and blue themed template and add purple or green buttons. Usually
much larger than what is needed and totally out of place.
Again, if you stick with a
simple color palette this will not happen.
The content area is the most
important element in the design. Without content, the site is
just a template with nothing in it.
It is important that the
content follow the same rules as the rest of the site. Same color
palette, same fonts and sizes, same flow.
When typing pages, keep the
fonts, sizes and look of each page similar.
This is a serious problem for
people. The images need to match the website, colors and theme.
If you have images of a trade show you did in a big red booth and
you don't have red in the pages it can contrast and look horrible.
Another great reason for having colors for your business and
If the images do contrast, try
keeping like images together and buffer them with borders,
backgrounds and try to get some commonality between the colors.
If you are building an
ecommerce shopping website then you want your product images very
consistent. Make sue they are all the same aspect ratio, meaning
don't flip the camera sideways for some and not others and do not
crop them unless the copping is consistent. Take all images on
the same background color ad make sure that color matches your
Crappy images of your products
can make an otherwise professional website look like a complete
mess. It is probably the #1 problem people have trying to make
the website look professional. Photos of your products laying on
a dirty carpet just don't help you at all.
pageBuzz does have an autocrop
option that can make the thumbnails all square but it cannot
correct for just bad taste in background colors or media.
When you look at a website, it
should match overall. It should look consistent and be pleasing
to the viewer. If text or images look out of place they probably
If you look down a row of new
cars and there is one that is smashed and broken the lot looks
like a mess. Take out that smashed out of place car and you are
back to professional looking row of cars. Whether its a row or
cars or cereal boxes on a store shelf, if one is out of place it
just look wrong.
I am not sure why people can't
see that on their own website. But one sure tell is to ask people,
not your mom or sister or brother, someone that can give an
objective opinion. If it looks good to people, you are on track,
if it looks bad, try to figure out why and correct it.
In all likelihood, it is a
simple fix, a color change, some font changes and maybe an added
graphic or two.
Many people like to just give
up. They say, I can't do that, and quit. But the fact is, you
need a website to compete in todays market, so unless you make
enough money to hire a full time webmaster you better get with
the program and learn how to do this.
Without a good website, your
business will not be able to sustain sales into the next decade.
So learn how, or move over because someone else will be getting