Web design ‘dos’ and ‘do nots’ have be a thing to talk about in the past, but as usual, it boils down to personal preference (whether layout trend, color trend, or browser trend.) I have been around for a long time and despite remaking myself through each subdomain and domain I have moved to, I have learned quite a bit. Well, that and I have been paid to design for over eight years. Also, one of my degrees that I hold is Web Site Design. That would make me a professional, even as cocky as that might read. However I took the time to go through the course and passed, so I am. I will say that I do not know it all nor ever claimed to have said, but I just have developed my own opinion that has been developed client by client, and layout by layout. For those who are wonderful with their W3 compliant sites (Note: Even though they lack some color and design. However you should try to have a balance between the coding and design.), that is fine. However, here are some things I have picked up.
- 1. Do not design your site around bulky flash sites. They might be eye-catching, but they still take forever to load. Remember, some people who live out in the boonies only have access to dial-up. Shoot for under 100 kilobytes if you are looking for a max load time.
- 2. Celebrity layouts unless they are fanart and credited properly (meaning you say they are fanart and are not selling them to others in another layout even for $1) are not allowed.
- 3. If your site has more advertisement than content, then consider yourself a commercial site. Sure it is okay to try to make money, but at least provide some content. Even if you want to make money or even try to have a decent rank in Google or Alexa, you have to have some valuable content.
- 4. If have purchased a domain (.com, .net, .org, .etc on domain TLDs) and your last update was over a month ago, why did you waste your money? Why am I looking at a nearly blank page that reads that you are on hiatus and will be back (and the hiatus started 4 weeks ago.) It was better that you either freehost or be a subdomain hostees under a generous host. If you bought a domain, why did you want to start a website in the first place? Of course, real life should be focused on, but remember, it can take 5 minutes to blog even 100- 300 words if you are average at typing. Try to blog and update instead of putting up a hiatus and leaving your site stagnant.
- 5. I get kind of confused if someone changes their layouts more than two times a month. Try instead to offer themes. WordPress users can do this and add the simple php theme include to their layout.
- 6. Please stop using Cute News. It is not cute and no longer secure, just like that annoying, slow, and definitely unsecure Greymatter. If you are a paid hostee of mine with Host Solutions, both scripts have been banned for the past 4 years. In fact, many hosts have banned both scripts.
- 7. If you want to be strict with code, great! However, if that means you feel better that your site is as plain as Cheerios and your content only contain so much (other than bashing people who are not as dull as you), I am not interested and others should not be fooled. Get in the know and brand yourself properly. As shallow as it seems, there are people who are far more visual when deciding to frequent one site versus another.
- 8. Using blinkies all over your layout is great if you are under 15. If you use a blinkie, try to use them sparingly and in places that might be interesting (example: connecting a graphic to what you have blogged for visual reaction.) I will say as a note that using them as a signature is not bad, but as a second note, use in good taste.
- 9. Using brushes can be nice, but I prefer the over-use to be for the t-shirts I buy in the store. Otherwise they look like ugly graffiti not even gang member might spray paint on train overpasses. Be tasteful and use them sparingly as accents.
- 10. If your website looks like a very bad past experience with getting very drunk and vomitting, or looking into a very bright light during a hangover, I am definitely clicking myself out of the page. I am pretty sure others feel the same. Try ColourLovers to get ideas on colors that might look well with each other on a layout.
Again, as I said, I am not some expert, but I have had a lot of experience. Take a good look at your site and see what you can do to spruce it. Fixing it up does not totally mean doing away with a layout. If you are not sure, ask someone. I have no problem. I encourage you to ask me for a review. I even give out graphics for excellent sites.