Design the Website Meticulously..

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The best website designs can be simple but effective at the same time.  They can be subtle and yet very informative, and efficient at conveying their content.

The best website design is first and foremost for the visitor.

Your website layout should not be overpowering.  Avoid excessive variation in font use (unless the subject matter is fonts!).  Colours should complement each other and not clash.  Navigation should be logical and not fiddly.

Design the website to ensure that your website does not end up with too many gimmicks, e.g. Flash animations, animated gifs, or pop-ups - these prove to be more of a hindrance when used in excess they can distract a visitor from the rest of the site content.

The best website layout fits neatly in a maximised window on the most common screen resolutions.

If you consider yourself not to be a very creative person, you could make use of web design templates to get the momentum going.  Website templates may seem like a bit of a cheat but they can be very effective - and aren't necessarily tacky.

If you prefer the personal touch then be sure to take time in your approach. Roughly sketch out the way you would like the pages to look and draw out a site map which shows how the pages link together.  It may be a case of trial and error to start with but eventually you will get there.

It's important to have a feel for a good, professional website design.  Too often sites are created with a complete lack of awareness with regards to the level of tackiness.  For a business in particular, an amatuer looking website can turn customers away in a second.  If in doubt when embarking on DIY website design - consider web design tutorials or even consult an experienced website designer.

Use your research to steer the design.

Good planning will save unnecessary amendments later on.

Avoid impersonal styles of writing.  Be chatty and informative if you can.  Be a friend to your visitors, as this way they will feel more like staying on your website.

If you're paying a web design company to design your website, they will advise you from experience on the most appropriate format, but keep in mind our guidelines, and be hesitant about steering completely away from any creative ideas you may already have in mind.  Professional website design services can be expensive - get as many prices as you can - website design quotes can vary a great deal.
Where you are ready, move on to the next step..
Best Website in the World - Grey Line | Best Website Design/Promotion Guide