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Tips & Tricks for making better looking websites

1. Look at other websites with a new and critical eye

When you want to improve the way your website looks the first thing you should do is look at other websites.

You have browsed through thousands of websites. Do you have any favorites? Check your bookmarks. Now go back to them and look at them differently. Now that you have some basic skills with webmaking you can look at these websites in a new way.

Look at them with a critical eye and ask questions. How did they lay out their pages? Where are their links? What colors do they use? How do they place their graphics? Is navigation clear from page to page? What feeling does this website evoke in me and why?

Learning Web Design Book Learning Web Design


2. Draw sketches

Draw sketches of the websites you like. Include all the important points. This is extremely helpful because you are not controlled by the requirements of the program you are using to design websites. You can do rough sketches real fast and this helps the creative process. You can erase or overwrite quickly. I draw several monitor shaped squares on a large piece of paper and do some free sketching -moving the main aspects of the web site around to see what it would look like. You can even use colored pencils or crayons to get a sense of the color.

3. Treat links as part of the Design of your site

Don't design the look of your site then add in the links when you are done. the links are an integral part of the design.

From the very beginning of site design you have to consider how the links will look and where they will be placed.

I highly recommend you use text links on your site. If your site uses clickable images to navigate you lose a very important component of search engine optimization. The search engines don't recognize graphics.

If you do use graphics as links be sure to keep them simple and clear. They can enhance your site look and navigation. Where do you think this graphic will take you. To the main page of course.

storm the castle button


4. Pick a color scheme

This might sound simplistic but one of the most important things you can do to create a great looking website is settle on a color scheme.

Experiment with combinations of colors and see how they look together. And keep it simple. I recommend you use no more than three or four colors maximum.

This website here uses a predominantly blue/orange scheme. with an occasional violet font to draw attention to the visitors eye.

Clarity is very important in your color scheme especially if you are going to have a lot of graphics. Make sure the colors are easy to see and don't interfere with each other.


5. Create small images that enhance the look of your website and use them regularly.

Between this column and the column on the left there is a long vertical black bar. Do you see it? I created this bar with a paint program and use it everywhere on this site. It creates an excellent separation between the two columns.

Under the title of this page I have a short (one column width) blue graphic that is the same as the blue columns on the right and left sides of the page. This enhances the look of the site and brings the blue/white color scheme into the text of the page. It gives a good continuity. I use this graphic everywhere. I have even placed it in my template so it automatically pops in whenever I create a new webpage.

6. Don't sacrifice clear navigation for great looking web pages

A fantastic looking site is useless if people can't find what they are looking for. The design has to lend itself to easy understanding of how the website is built and how the information within can be found.

Get feedback on your site. You are very close to your website and it can be difficult to see it with an impartial eye. After all, you understand everything about the site. But other people don't. You know where every link goes and what's on each page. Other people don't. It could be very difficult for other people to navigate through to what they are looking for in terms of content.

If you want me to take a look at your website send me an email with the url and I would be happy to give you my opinion. Just put in the title of the email "Please look at my website"

Thanks, Will has lots of great books on Web Design and almost all of them come with free and trial software that will help you design great looking websites.This one-click link will take you directly to the selection.