How to Make a Low-Cost Website Work for You

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We all know the rule that you get what you pay for. Usually, buying a lower grade product means you end up with fewer features and the quality is compromised at least to some degree.

But sometimes the ‘bells and whistles’ version you are being sold is overkill. Sometimes you find yourself paying for things unnecessarily, rather than matching the features of a particular product to your specific needs.

When it comes to web design, choosing the right platform can be a minefield. There are so many options, it’s easy to get side-tracked and lose sight of the end goal, which is to deliver an interactive communication channel between you and your customers.

So here is a checklist to help you decide what features your website actually needs. Remember, cheap web design doesn’t necessarily mean you’re missing out.
Load Speed

A beautiful looking website that takes an age to load won’t attract repeat traffic, as people are soon put off by processes that take more than a few seconds. Apply the ‘less is more’ rule and keep your site running quickly and efficiently.

Resolution

Screen resolutions range from 640×480 to 1024×768, so the design of your website needs to accommodate all visitors. A simple way to achieve this is to work in percentages rather than actual pixels, so the proportions of your site remain the same whoever is viewing the page.

Browsers

Designing with only one browser in mind will drastically reduce the traffic that visits your website. At the very least, you should make sure your business can be easily seen on Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Netscape.

Fonts

There’s a secret code in design circles that insists anyone who uses Comic Sans font should never be taken seriously. Now, that’s fine if you’re running a site for local comedians, but not quite so good if your business is mechanical engineering.

Images

While it’s true that images are great at conveying ideas in the blink of an eye, use too many and you’ll come unstuck. The trick is to only select images that help tell your story and avoid the ones that confuse the message or take an age to load.

White Space

As with the last point, simplicity sells. Visitors are more concerned with content than design, so make it easy for them to find the information they want without having to scroll through pages of irrelevant images and text.

Links

Before going live, it pays to check your links actually work and go to the right address. You can do this in Dreamweaver or a tool such as Net Mechanic, but often going the long way round helps to understand use experience a lot better.