When you start a new web design project or you want to improve an existing site or even if you want to check the functionality of your site you should take into consideration a few rules or best practices. These usually target new visitors; old clients will generally judge the site using different criteria. These best practices will help you pick a suitable “look” for your site so that you can make a good impression and get results.

One of your first concerns should be how fast your page is loading. Internet means speed, fast searches, fast purchases and quick information. You won’t achieve these things with a slow loading page. Avoid using large images and optimize them correctly, keep any multimedia elements at a minimum, use external links instead, clean your code and use as much text as you need. Make sure that your hosting solution is acceptable (servers, uptime, bandwidth).

Avoid posting annoying things on your landing page; you will lose your visitors. Don’t use background music, banners or animations that appear while visitors are reading your content and don’t cover the page with pop-up screens and expendables. Only use these elements when you are sure that the users will stay on the site. Multimedia content is great for a website but don’t overwhelm your users from the beginning. Also, monitor the content of ads if you’re selling space on your website. The type of ads that you show on the page will influence visitors so even if the web design of your site is flawless, a single element can ruin your entire work.

If you want your visitors to enjoy themselves while navigating your site choose a coordinated design: suggestive logos, a certain color palette, use the same navigation buttons; all of these elements contribute to the unity of the design. This doesn’t mean that you can’t change the colors or some parts of the site, but avoid being too obvious. If you choose a clear logo, a good navigation tray and you have a certain consistency in the placing of the navigation buttons and other graphic elements then you will have a unitary design. For example if you change the colors on a certain page but you keep the other elements in the same places your visitors won’t feel lost on your site.

Once you’ve captured the attention of your visitors you should make it easy for them to navigate from one place to another. This is called easy navigation. There are 4 basic placement areas for navigation elements: top, left, right and bottom. Usually you should keep the navigation elements either at the top or on the left side. Studies show that most people begin reading a pagefrom the top left. In case of wider monitors the right side of the screen could be outside the visual area. These limitations can be reduced with a web design that uses mobile menus and pop-up windows.

Easy navigation is closely linked to content design. This means that the users shouldn’t guess the content but easily access it throughout the site. You need a clear title, followed by a clear text. If they understand the message quickly they will read the rest of the page and continue navigating. The visitors will receive the information quickly and the will be satisfied.