101 Dos And Don'ts Of Website Building

There are many aspects to consider when building your own website. The following is a list of 101 common issues.

Page Design

  • Use a contrasting colour scheme. Be careful not to alienate those with colour perception difficulties

  • Keep each page under 40K in size, people will not wait for your web site to load, they will go to your competitors

  • Keep images to a minimum, not everyone uses software that displays them. This is more important than ever now with the multitude of mobile devices available.

  • Validate your work. If you write clean code, it will work on all platforms. Use www.w3c.org or any of the other free validators.

  • Do not use images larger than 544 pixel width. It will be sliced on WebTV.

  • Do not use proprietary tags, not everyone uses the same web browser as you.

  • Avoid Flash, Java and JavaScript introductions. Not everyone has them installed.

  • Use CSS to keep your page file size smaller. Ideally, use it so that people can disable it to view a "printer friendly" page.

  • Structure the layout so the page makes sense.

  • Use san-serif fonts. like Arial, Helvetica, Verdana and Tahoma etc. It will make the text easier to read at smaller browser settings.

  • If you use pixel width instead of percentages for your page, ensure you do not exceed the 544 allowable for WebTV, there is no horizontal scroll on WebTV.

  • Avoid using page counters, they are inaccurate and misleading. Do you really want your competitors to know how well your site is doing?

  • Avoid using too many effects on your pages, think minimalist - less is more.

  • Avoid using frames, it is safe to assume your visitors know how to scroll the page up and down. 



  • Use a simple navigation system, do not risk confusing your visitors, they won't be back.

  • Check your links, make sure they are all working correctly and the pages they are pointing to are still on-topic.

  • Avoid using relative links, search engines will crawl full (absolute) links.

  • Avoid orphan pages, If people want to stay on your site, let them. Always offer them a page to go to when they are finished with a section.

  • Avoid using images for links, those with images disabled will not be able to use your site.

  • Keep navigation under 3 pages deep. Use more links in a menu if you have a large site like www.engineers-international.com 

  • Logically structure your links, visitors are offended if they are forced to hunt down a link in an irrelevant area. 

  • Make sure all external links open in a new window, let your visitors close your site down when they are finished with it, don't pre-empt their intentions.

  • Avoid using JavaScript or Flash stand-alone navigation systems as those with out the facility will not be able to get where they want.

Web Graphics

  • Keep your largest image 544 pixels wide or less, or the end will be sliced off when rendered with WebTV.

  • Images add to the file size of your page dramatically. Keep them small and use them sparingly.

  • Check your image in both .gif and .jpg formats and use the smallest file size. You may find this useful: NetMechanic

  • Always include the 'alt="att" ' attribute in the image tag. Browsers without image rendering and speed surfers with images disabled will know what was intended.

  • Opt for using images at 72dpi to avoid too much distortion on many high resolution platforms.

  • Use web safe colours for images where possible. Consider your viewers. New portable browsing devices and many older browsers support only black and white or 256 colours. Dependent on their set up only 216 of the 256 colours are cross platform compatible. These 216 colours are known as "web safe" colours. Read more about them here: web safe colours

 Next, the "dos and don'ts" of Typography, Copy and Backgrounds

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