Colin Miller Web Designer, Owner ~ OneGraphic.com

Colin Miller-Web Site Designer

OneGraphic.com

Top 10 Signs You Need a New Website

10. You have animated gifs (like a little flipping over envelope for your email links).

9. Your menu selections are oval images that roll over when you hover over.

8. Your main heading on the front page says” Welcome to My Home Page”.

7. You have a funky script font for your main body copy.

5. Font colors that clash with the background, or hurt your eyes in any way.

4. You have a “hit” counter displayed on your front page.

3. You use a background image that OBVIOUSLY is small and repeating.

2. You have auto play music ANYWHERE on your site.

The number one sign you need a new website is……. (Insert animated drum roll here).

1. Your site says “Under Construction” even though you launched it 5 years ago.

Web design of course is a very subjective topic; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Staying away from the top ten list above is a good start, but what else can you do? Read on for a few things I have learned over the last 18 years of building websites. I have found that websites, like movie stars, don’t always age gracefully. Websites often have the shelf life of cabbage, maybe shorter. But if you are careful, you site won’t be that rotting tomato in the produce aisle.

Following some of these suggestions below will help with your site’s appeal and longevity.

ColorTheme: Be sure that your colors are harmonious. Having complimentary colors won’t keep your visitor engaged by itself, but garish colors might send them packing.

Use of Space: You site should not be cluttered, give the visitor some room to breathe. Call to Action: Yes, you need good copy on the front page for SEO purposes, but keep it organized and easy to read. Let the visitor know what they will find in your site in short paragraphs above the fold. Don’t make them hunt for your site’s purpose.
Typography: Choose your fonts carefully and use an easy to read font for the body, something bolder for the headings. Don’t use too many fonts. Be consistent. Navigation: Make sure your menus are logical and make it easy to find what the visitor came in for. Ideally they should be able to find the page they are looking for in two or three clicks. Be sure to have a search field on every page.

Optimize ALL your images: Don’t just resize them. You can use a graphics program (like Photoshop) to “save for web” this will reduce the file size dramatically. There is no need for files over 100k in any one page (unless it is launched by the visitor, “View Full Size”). A slow loading page will send them running to the “back” button.

Buttons: Use “semi-flat” or “flat” Buttons that are generated from your CSS Style Sheet. Drop shadows and bevels are so “90’s”

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Video: Use video to explain or showcase you or your product, make it short, 2 minutes or less. Most important is the video quality, use professional lighting and a tripod. Nothing says “Amature” quite as loudly as a shaky, badly lit video. Never use autoplay.

In the end, whether you like or dislike a website’s layout and color scheme will be based purely on your own taste. The trick is to make your site visually interesting and easy to navigate for the majority of visitors.

Colin Miller Is the founder of http://OneGraphic.com . OneGraphic builds websites for clients worldwide and has been in business for 18 years and is based in Western North Carolina. colin@onegraphic.com

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