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Web Design Tips

This tutorial is simply a list of short, easily-understood tips to help you become better at making websites. It is intended for people who have a basic understanding of how the internet works and how HTML is used to create web pages. You don't necessarily need to be able to write HTML (although that will help) but you should know how it works.

For more information about how website works, see our beginner tutorials.


Before You Start

(1) Learn the Language

Just in case you didn't get the hint in the intro, learn a bit about HTML. It's not hard and it will be the single most useful thing you ever do to get better at making websites.

(2) Establish Sources of Help

The internet is crowded with people who want to help you - make the most of this resource. Find newsgroups and website forums, read the discussions and join in. Once you're used to interacting in this way, you will find that solutions to almost any problem can be provided almost immediately.

(3) Have a Purpose

Many people create a website because they feel they should have one, or because it seems like a good idea. Invariably these people then find their website doesn't live up to expectations. Why not? Because they weren't clear about their expectations in the first place. Before you begin, you must have a very clear reason for the site to exist and very specific goals. Don't make a site just because your competition has one or because you feel under pressure to do so - make a site to achieve specific, measurable benefits for your organization. Identify these benefits and write them down. If you can afford it, seek help from a recognised professional internet strategist. It will be money well spent.

(4) Have a plan

You must plan everything from the design, content and promotion of the site to the statistics analysis process. If you don't have a plan you will get lost.

(5) Get your domain name right

If you're the slightest bit serious about your site, you need a good domain name. Don't rush out and get the first one you think of - seek advice and get the right name from the right provider.

(6) Use the right tools

You don't necessarily need the latest version of the best web design software, however you should also avoid certain sub-standard software. See our recommendations for web design software.

(7) Keep it simple and realistic

Don't try to run before you can walk. Plan and create things which you know you can pull off well. A simple site done properly will be far more impressive than a complex site which doesn't quite work 100%.

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