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Web Design Tips for Beginners

The Design Tips area was created to give beginners who are making their first site with some guidelines before they start. I have been designing sites since 1997 and my first site broke every "rule" in the book :) These tips are all basic, easy to do tips that can have your personal or small business site look like you have been doing site design forever.


  • Do not use multi-colored backgrounds with text that clashes with it- If you are using a dark colored background, use light colored text and visa versa.

  • Do not use dark backgrounds and light text if you have alot of information to convey - Reading light text on a black background strains the eye.

  • Do not use "rainbow text" (this would be having each letter a different color) - Another tough thing to read.

  • Do not use allot of animation - Not only does this create a slower loading site, but if the visitor is going to be staying awhile, it gets annoying.

  • Do not add several pop up ads for each page. They are irritating and will most likely drive the visitor away from your site.

  • Do not put music on your site unless the vistor can turn it off - another annoying feature - I have been known to leave sites that have midis on them - after hearing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" for the 100th time, I can't take it anymore.

  • Do not put huge photos on your page - create thumbnails for those who would like to view a larger version

  • Do not use a million frames to cut up your page.

  • Do not use obscure fonts - unless the visitor has the bubblegum font installed on his/her computer/ they will only see their default font

  • If you need to use a unique font, create is as a graphic.

  • Do not center align EVERYTHING on the site.

Go to Web Pages That Suck for the whole enchiladi. This is a great site to learn what NOT to do when designing your site.


  • When designing business sites- use a white or subtle bordered background - It looks more professional

  • Do keep a theme throughout the site - a logo and navigation on each page - This way the vistor knows he is still at the same site

  • Do use the same font throughout the site - don't use verdana on one page and arial on another

  • Keep animation to a minimum - Use it to draw attention to special offers or information

  • Do use browser safe colors whenever possible

  • Do make your site browser compatible - do not use scripts, applets, DHTML, etc. that are only compatible with one browser

  • If you use cutting edge technology, design a second site for those vistors who still have a an older browser

  • Do keep your vistors in mind - Design the site for the people who are going to visit, not for yourself You might like bold, bright colors, but a funeral directors site should use subtle colors and hues

  • Do use height and width tags for your images - this loads the page faster and also is useful to search engine spiders

  • Do add proper navigation on each page - At the very least you should have a home button on each page

  • The ideal is both text and graphic "toolbars" on each page so that a vistor can get to any page on your site.

  • Do design for the "three click" theory - this means that any section of your site should only be 3 clicks away

  • Do use a site map for complex sites - this way if your vistor gets lost, they can always go back home or to the site map

  • Do have fun!

    The above tips are things that I have learned through allot of reading, trial and tribulation. As I said earlier, my first site was a train wreck. Keep reading and learning and every site you design should be better than the last.

    AOL Tips >>

1997-2004 Designed to a T