Basic Website Design Considerations
When you look at templates, you can, of course, just choose one particular template. But be aware that we use templates more in a "conceptual elements overview" manner, such that we pick and choose different elements from different templates as we see fit. In this way we're using templates more as kick-starting a process of thinking about what we want to do in designing any particular website.
There are four basic areas to think about when coming up with a design for a website:
We look at website design as a process of bringing together different elements into a cohesive whole that brings your message to life on the web and communicates effectively, usefully, and with a pleasing appearance. When looking at templates, you may find that you like the general layout from one template, but you prefer the color scheme used in a second template, while you like a font style used on the some of the graphic elements in a third template. Just let us know what you like, and we will bring these elements together. Feel free to use ideas from other websites you've seen, besides what we show on our website.
Layout generally has to do with the geometry of how content is layed out on the page. Things to think about:
To get your own brain-storming started, you can look at templates that we have on our website:
Website Design Samples
Here are some other ideas we look at:
The color scheme you choose is one that should complement your message and your design. Be aware that the scheme is an integral part of the layout as a whole. A color scheme that seems very handsome with one scheme might seem so-so with a different layout.
You can play around with colors using this color scheme tool:
There are also many other online color tool resources listed on one of our internal resources pages here:
The font selection to use in regular text on your website is fairly limited, because you are restricted to "standard" fonts that all browsers will display more or less the same. This is only a handful of fonts. Your main concern is about whether you want a non-serif font (such as Arial or Verdana) or a serif font (such Times Roman), and the relative sizing between headings, subheadings, main text, and sub-text. Be aware that for business professional website, sites are done almost exclusively using non-serif fonts, due to superior readability in a browser.
However, for specific items, such as part of a banner, or for certain headings, we can use any font you choose by simply turning the text (in that font) into a graphics file that is then used on the web page in place of the text at that point. You'll see this done occasionally on web pages where a stylized font is being used, such as a highly stylized cursive font. Since it's being turned into a graphics image, we can also manipulate the text in various ways such as giving the letters a 3-dimensional raised appearance, and/or putting a shading behind it.
Content, of course, must come from you. But here are some things to be aware of:
The Home Page content should be short and concise, with careful attention paid to the specific wording that is used.
One very basic element is the content of the page title (what you see in the top banner area of your browser window; this is specified in the HTML <title> tag). For a business, for the Home Page, this is typically the name of the business.
When writing the Home Page content, you also want to think about the specific words and phrases that you consider to be important, that people using a search engine such as Google would enter as search text in the search engine, and that will separate you from the crowd. The tricky thing about the selection of such wording as that you actually do not care about words and phrases for which you would simply be "swamped out." This refers to words or phrases for which there would be such a vast amount of returns in the search return listing ("the crowd") that you would end up on, say, the 58th page, the practical effect of which is that these just don't help you at all.
So you want to come up with key terms that are relevant to your website, and at the same time are not terms that are used by a zillion other websites, and these are the key terms you want to work into the wording that you write for your Home Page.
Here are a few online tools you can use to help you with key words/phrases:
Additionally, note that if your site is oriented in some way toward geographical localization (say, for example, the site is for a business in Lansing, Michigan and your business is predominantly with customers in the Lansing area), make sure that you put the names of the cities and towns of the area where your customers come from on your Home Page in some manner. (This can be as simple as having a little box in the sidebar, with "Serving the cities of..." with a list of city names.) The purpose of this is so when someone enters a key term in the search engine along with the name of the city, this will greatly improve the ranking of your site in the results since you have "localized" your site by mentioning the relevant cities on your Home Page.
In regard to improving your ranking in search engine results, one other factor to bear in mind is that Google specifically uses the number of external links to your website in their ranking system. In other words, as more websites have links to your website, this will improve your ranking in Google search results. (Note that this applies to Google specifically and may or may not be a policy other search engines use.)
Please note that Active River Computer Solutions makes no guarantees, stated or implied, about your search engine ranking. Also, we do not charge for search engine placement (as do many other website setup companies), because when your website goes live on the internet, the search engines will pick up your website automatically (which can take several weeks). We're not going to charge you for what's going to happen automatically anyway.