Web site design principles


Color Psychology

Use Pale Blue for large areas of colour and headings. It is a calming colour. It can be contrasted with another colour, such as orange, for emphasis.

Red is a "danger" colour and has negative connotations, related to "danger" and "don't..". Avoid using red unless it's an essential part of your image.

White is the best background colour for text, although you may get away with an extremely pale "colour wash". Don't use a picture or patterns in the background. It makes the text difficult to read and many people won't bother to try. Use black, charcoal or an extremely dark colour for the text itself.

(White background makes reading easier for most people. It also minimises ink use if the page is printed.)

Colours and Typeface should be consistent on every page. A sans-serif typeface is best for on-screen reading. Use fonts such as Arial, Verdana and Helvetica. You can use italics for emphasis. You can use a different font for, say, an "information box" but try to keep the relative character size roughly the same. This may require increasing the point size. In general, I wouldn't use a point size smaller than 14 if you expect older people to read the text.

Me me me

Put the emphasis on "You" and "your" and avoid "I" and "We". If you refer to yourselves (e.g. on the "about us" page) then use names; for example "Mike has worked for 25 years as... and has the necessary experience to help you decide..."

Note the emphasis on the benefits. Although it's ostensibly about "Mike", the emphasis should be placed on the reason that Mike's experience/knowledge will be useful to YOU (the reader).

Be sure to include the page title, "meta description" and the hidden descriptive "alt" text for every image. This insertion will make your site more attractive to search engines and to blind people.

At present your web site is probably like a brochure nailed to a tree in the middle of a forest. It's not going to be found by many people. You should add an Information section, comprising pages relating to items or services that you sell. It doesn't all have to relate to what you provide, as long as it's loosely related. The more information pages you have, the more likely it is that someone will find your web site. Each page should contain at least 200 words and preferably more.

Google Loves

Google loves expanding web sites. If it sees at least one new page each month, the web site goes higher in its rankings.

You could also add a "blog" section where you discuss anything you like. I do a monthly "blog" page and it isn't all about my products. In fact I got more subscribers when I started to discuss personal matters and introduced my "Monthly Whinge"!

You can mention a success story on your home page and link this to its own page where you expand upon the story. This page should have its own title and will show up more readily in search results.

Repeat this with similar stories. Make them up if you have to; just make them sound plausible. If you can make up a story about somebody buying in bulk and selling on eBay, that will attract eBay buyers. Although I have a conscience and fairly high moral values, I am prepared to "make up a story" if I believe it will benefit people. You can give truthful examples of buying and selling prices and the probable profit margin. If making up a story really makes you feel uncomfortable, just limit it to giving the examples of the profits that could be made. If you remind people to deduct the eBay- and Paypal fees from their profits, they will trust you more. (Let them work out what the actual fees are because they vary a lot.)

Make Your Site Sell

In order to get people to buy stuff you have to make it easy. You need a link named "Order" or "Shop" or whatever works best. Make an "Order" page, which explains how to order. If you can arrange a "shopping cart" system, you'll get more orders. I use Mal Stewart's E-commerce, which is free and can be linked to Paypal and/or other payment systems.


I know it sounds like hard work but, once it's set up, it just works and it's very satisfying to see the orders arrive! (There is a discussion forum where you can ask other users for advice.)

Viral Marketing

This is about "spreading the word". Here are some examples:

1. Downloadable price list. That gets your information directly onto the prospective buyer's computer where he will find it later, either by intent or accident.

2. Facebook. Do a weekly paragraph on Facebook and publish them all in your

2. Monthly "blog". People will email your blog URL to friends if they find it interesting.

(BTW it's important to have the blog on your own site because that's where you want to attract the search engines. I must repeat: Google loves expanding web sites. If it sees at least one new page each month, the web site goes higher in its rankings.)

The TITLE of each page should reflect its contents. Try something like "Buy your xxx in bulk from the cheapest UK supplier". This is the phrase that people will see in Google's search results. It is "localised" by having "UK" in it, so you don't attract people from other countries (unless you want to, in which case omit it).

Your "meta description tag" (hidden text in the HTML) can add another sentence to describe what you offer.

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