When someone comes to me in desperation, I can usually guess that they’ve tried to build their own website with no luck.  They are embarrassed to even show me the current site because it is so bad.  It’s so painful to hear the frustration they’ve been facing as they’ve attempted to learn web development.

What they thought would be a two hour job has turned into months of anguish.  Each step of the way, they have cemented the fact that they are not professional web developers.  They are good at what they do, but this isn’t something  you learn overnight.  It takes plenty of time.

I’m going to go through the things that I’ve learned that have helped me to create beautiful websites.  Maybe this will help someone to avoid the extreme anguish that can come from not knowing the ropes.  Believe me, I’ve seen a lot of ugly sites.

  1. Keep the design simple.   Why do something the hard way, when the simple is most often better understood?
  2. Avoid background images with text on top.  Text needs to be readable above all.  So, use a plain colored or lightly textured background behind the text area if you want an image background for your site.
  3. Stick to a few colors that go well together.  You can use a tool like http://kuler.adobe.com/ if you need help picking out colors that go well together.  Many times, I will use colors from a logo or an image that the customer wants to use on the site.
  4. Keep your calls to action clear.  Don’t expect your readers to know what you want them to do.  You need to tell them clearly with words as well as visually what’s most important on the page.
  5. Take out extra clutter on videos.  When a video has a clean look to it, it appears to be a higher quality website.  This means getting rid of title bars, frames, and controls.
  6. Purchase high quality images for sliders and use good quality fonts for graphics.  Nothing cheapens a website more than poorly made graphics.  If you can hire a graphic designer for a few well made graphics, it will be well worth the cost.
  7. Solid borders and overly rounded corners on everything are a little outdated.  Try looking at new designs and find ideas to help you.
  8. Be consistent with font styles and colors.  Don’t feel like each paragraph needs its own styling.  There’s no faster way to look cheap than to color all of your text with bright colors and different styles.

If you’ve got an ugly site, give me a call.  I can solve all of your website woes in a matter of days and get you up and running with a beautiful site that you’ll be proud to show.