The single most important step before you begin designing your website is defining the structure and purpose of your site. Once you have your structure planned out, you can unleash your creative genius.
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Define The Design of Your Website

The single most important step before you begin designing your website is defining the structure and purpose of your site. Once you have your structure planned out, you can unleash your creative genius.

What kind of navigation buttons do you want? Would animations, photos or diagrams help get your message across? what sort of layout do you prefer? how will customers navigate through your site? While keeping in mind a few basic guidelines for attractive design, feel free to experiment and be creative with the look and feel of your site.

It may help to draw your ideas on paper first. Decide which colors you want to use. do you already have an attractive logo on your advertising, letterhead or business cards? use it. Try to visualize any graphics you want to liven up your content. You may be able to find suitable images in an off-the-shelf clip art collection or on the web at one of the clip art repositories.

Depending on the size of your company or business and your priorities, you may also want to consider paying a design professional to create the graphics for your site. Alternatively, you could invest some time and money buying and learning to use one of the many commercially available image editing programs.

Most websites utilize some variations of the same two or three layouts. the most common is a left navigation setup, in which you place logos and graphics along the top of the page, include links and navigation buttons along the left hand side, and place content below to the right. This layout draws attention to your logo while keeping navigation in a set position. Another common layout places both graphics and navigation links along the top of the page. Focusing activity and attention at the top and creating more room for content below.

Before you get carried away with your newly found design freedom, however, remember that there are a few widely accepted design rules to keep in mind.

* Make your site easy on the eyes. Use high contrast colors, dark text on a light background is easier to read. Patterned background designs, though an old popular one, are usually more distracting than appealing. You don't want your customers to skip reading about your big sale just because they can't stomach the dancing teddy bears behind the text.

* Make your site easy to navigate. Place your links or buttons in a prominent place and keep them in the same place on every page. Your design should help users access the information you want then to see. To this end, keep your colors, layout and buttons consistent. Label every page so customers always know where they are. every page should provide links back to the homepage.

* Make your site professional and appropriate for your company or business. Your design, no less than your content, should support, compliment and promote your business and it's products or services. Keep the design clean and simple. remember, when it comes to design, white space is beautiful and less is more, unless you have a very unique product or service that is well served by something more avant-garde.

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