My previous article on information architecture dealt with planning the content properly. Now, that great content needs a great design to sit inside. This is where the web design part steps in and it is equally intricate. Many people will say "I don't know where to start." There is no requirement to be a professional designer to create a web site.
Designing the Elements of a Web Page (Page 1 of 6 )
It has much more to do with understanding how the design elements flow across a web page than whom can produce the flashiest graphics. As I stated in the "Content is King" article published on SEO Chat, unless the content is taut, visitors will click elsewhere. The design should also be appealing as it contributes to the aesthetics of the pages. Good organizational structure along with creative visual design enable users to become familiar with how to navigate the site and its underlying principles.
The Initial Design
Each page will contain links via hyperlinks to each page. The pages must be consistently designed. By this stage, there should be a network diagram to refer to for mapping out how each page of the site links to the others. Not to worry, I will cover that shortly.
The initial template will exemplify the use of a consistent style that will be recognized while browsing the site. Certain links will be present on each page like the main menu, title of the page, author name and date on the footer. The pages must possess clear graphical identities and text immediately informing visitors of their location. If they cannot find what they are seeking, that visitor will leave the site for good.
The main menu is a good place to add a link to the home page. While browsing around the site, visitors may need to return to the home page to pick up on some other links. Most of the main navigational menu options will begin on the home page. These simple practices will mean that visitors will not get lost and retain interest in the site. Do not make the mistake of creating pages that omit the menus so no links exist. These dead end pages will only confuse your visitors.