How to Design a Website

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.

Fonts

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 them?

I often see buttons in Arial size 2 (BUTTONS)and then a page typed in Comic Sans MS in size 5 BOLD (page text) which looks totally out of place.

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.

Templates

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.

Content Area

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.

Website Images

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 marketing materials.

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 website.

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.

Overall

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 are.

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 your customers.

 

 

 

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