If you want to design a website as a hobby, for your business or even as your own career, a solid foundation of knowledge will help you get your foot in the door. From learning HTML to knowing search engine optimization techniques, there are many facets to web design.

Read on to find some advice which will cover all of the basics.

Keep the size of your web pages small. A lot of modern web pages are full of unnecessary elements, including huge images, Flash advertising, and lots of AJAX. Many people, especially those in rural areas and other countries with less-developed internet infrastructure, don’t have high-speed Internet and will have to wait forever for a large page to load.

Before going live, test your website against NoScript. Download and run the NoScript extension on Firefox and find out if the site is readable? There will be content that needs scripting like order systems. However, if the site is blank when the scripts are off, you have a problem.

Create an easily scannable website. Usability tests indicate that the majority of online users fail to read content in its entirety, scanning instead for bits of information that are of interest to them. Using bolding, color changes and breaks between sections of text makes your content easier to scan and makes it more likely that visitors will return. Keep the most pertinent information near the top of the page. This helps the visitors see the important stuff first before checking out the rest of the site.

Learn what you can about site design shortcuts so that you can use them. Nearly everything in web design has a shortcut, and if you check them out carefully, you can find quicker ways to accomplish most items. HTML codes are one shortcut that allows you to fix things on your pages without the need to re-upload them.

When designing your site, try to come up with three or four keywords that you expect users to input into search engines as they try to find your page. These keywords should then be repeated frequently throughout the title, page body and description meta tag. This will make it easier for users to locate your site on the web.

Use breadcrumbs and make it so that clicking on the site logo returns you to the homepage. Breadcrumbs are markers that show where the visitor is in the site structure. For instance, the breadcrumbs might read “home > furniture > beds.” When the user clicks a link in the breadcrumbs, he can return to a page further up in the site hierarchy. Clicking on a business logo should generally take the visitor back to the homepage as well.

You’ve read the advice here and are ready to put it into action, so get ready to design your site! Start by sketching out a design and making lists of the content you’ll need and you’ll have your website online in no time.

Don’t forget to keep reading and learning so you’re never left behind.

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