You probably work hard to promote your online business but without a Website that appeals to your potential customers, your other marketing efforts will be a waste of time. No matter how many visitors come to your website, if you don't have a comfortable stimulating environment, they just go away and never come back.
And believe me, having a great Website content and state of art navigation system will not help you if your visitors feel overwhelmed by your colors or your text is too hard to read.
Seriously, red color on blue background? I’m leaving… Surprisingly enough, red text on a blue or green background is used a lot, even though this is one of the worst combinations of colors. Same thing about dark text on a dark background and vice versa. White on black may seem attractive but it’s difficult to read and it hurts your visitor’s eyes.
Now tell me, would you be comfortable reading the book printed on the dark brick background? Quite frankly, I don’t think so. Neither do your visitors. If you use a background, avoid the busy ones, stick with the lighter shades and let the text stay black.
Also remember: graphics should enhance your web site, not detract! Use the graphics sparingly, avoid dancing, spinning and twirling animated images - they have an overpowering effect on human vision (and make your website look unprofessional). Try to keep your pages simple and calm.
Just like your navigation, you want your font color, style and size to be consistent. Don't change colors or font style on every page. Choose a color theme then pick a couple of fonts and stick with them. Just remember to use the same size and font on every page and don’t overdo with colors. Also don't set your text size too small (it's hard to read) or too large. Size 10 is an ideal size for your main text area.
Before picking any fancy fonts remember that many people may not see them: if they don’t have this particular font installed on their computer, they are going to see Times New Roman instead. So it’s better to use “Web safe” fonts like Arial, Verdana and Tahoma. In my opinion these are most suitable fonts for a website. There are other common fonts like Comics and Times New Roman but if you want your website to look professional, do not use Comics!
To make your pages easier to read have a plenty of white space and use separators, headlines or sub headlines. Also avoid long paragraphs: break up your paragraphs often (follow the 5-6 lines rule).
Your visitors will be much more comfortable if your main text is left aligned or ‘justified’ (HTML: align="justify"), and not centered.
Whether you're designing a new website or improving an existent one, follow these simple rules - your visitors will appreciate it!
By Yohana Saint-Etienne Copyright © 2005
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Yohana is creator of Beginner's Guide to Starting and Running Online Business. This guide will take you step by step through the process of building your online business. You will find FREE collection of business and marketing tips, tricks, resources and practical information to get you off on the right foot at: http://www.onlinebusinesslaunch.com