You want your website to look professional and that includes using professional looking graphics. But if you’re not a graphic designer how can you compete and keep your costs low? Outside of hiring a professional to handle your graphics there are a few important factors to consider when designing your website.
Logo — Your offline logo should be on your website and if you do not have a really good professionally designed logo then it’s time to get one. Your logo will show on top of every page, on all your correspondence, and it is something that people will remember. Instead of a just a logo you can use a header that includes your logo on top of your site.
Your color palette — This is the overall colors used on your website, and these colors should match and conform well with your logo colors. By matching I don’t mean everything should be the same color, but the colors should go well together without being garish or hard to look at. The colors you use on your website will speak to your client in a way that words can’t. Colors evoke feelings of calmness, excitement and even hunger, so consider these factors when choosing the colors you will use on your website.
Fonts — The fonts you choose to use on your website are as important as the other factors in your website and they are part of the graphic presentation of your business. Choose fonts that are easy to read and that are the right size as well as the right color on top of the right back ground. Many people are attracted to light fonts on dark backgrounds. This can be very hard on the eyes, so most of the time it is best to stick to a light background with a dark text. An exception is when you are displaying art or photography and have very few words.
Flash — If you’re going to use flash, or moving graphics then spend the money to make sure they are the best graphics you can afford. There are free flash banner generators out there but they will only downgrade the value of your site. Also remember that not everyone is able to view certain types of graphics so consider your target market when you make a choice on this.
Clip Art — I have one thing to say about this, and that is just don’t do it. Do not use clip art on your website, it usually winds up looking tacky and distracts the viewer from your message, not to mention that it looks cheap. Use real vector images, and photographs on your website to make it look really professional.
Blinking Graphics — Most people will leave a website with many blinking graphics almost immediately. These blinking ads and graphics hurt their eyes and assault their senses, the best advice I can give is just don’t do it.