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5 - TEST, TEST, TEST with every browser!
Take a look at your site in every type of browser, because there are no standards on Internet yet. That means that every web browser interprets code differently than next, and can display a page horrendously when another makes it look perfect. Without testing, you might never discover that you're running off a large percentage of your visitors just because your site looks terrible in their browser.
6 - Proofread your ENTIRE site.
Poor grammar or spelling is end-all, be-all of presenting yourself unprofessionally online. After all, if you can't spell correctly, you probably won't pay attention to details or those "small things" that make a product or service great, right? Well, that's what your visitors will think. So run your pages through a spell check once or twice, and have someone else proofread them.
7 - Keep your design consistent.
Ever visit a site that changes designs, backgrounds, and navigation systems completely whenever you click a link? Kind of makes you feel lost, doesn't it? You feel as though you're at another site. So, keep your web site's design consistent, and make it clear to visitor where they are on Internet and on your site. (Note: Consistent does NOT have to mean boring!)
8 - Stay away from backgrounds, for most part.
Backgrounds have a tendency to make a site feel very unprofessional. If you don't know what you're doing, stick with a plain white background with well contrasting text. It's simple, and it's very clean and easy to read.
9 - Use small images.
I don't mean that you should use visually small images. I mean that you should use images that are small in terms of file size. The best way to go about doing this is to compress your images to a more reasonable size. Try something like Ulead's SmartSaver Pro - http://www.ulead.com
10 - Be Careful With Your Fonts.
Perhaps biggest indicator of someone who doesn't have a clue what they're doing online is a web site with lots of different (and conflicting) font types, colors, and sizes. Keep your fonts consistent, and only use one or two, or, if you really have to, three. And please, keep size down, will ya?
Micah D. Cranman owns and operates Sybren Design, a web design firm specializing in helping small businesses build effective and attractive websites. Visit Sybren today at http://sybren.net or call 770-971-9868.