Seven Tips to Improve The Design Of Your Website

Whether your website is a small personal site with just a few pages or a bigger conglomerate website, it is always crucial to have a good design. It is important for your visitors and will determine whether they come back or not. Below are a few tips to help you obtain a good design for your website:

1. Your pages must load swiftly. The majority of visitor’s will leave a site if it takes longer than ten seconds to load. Bear in mind that even if you have a fast internet connection, not everyone does and 56k modems are still on the market.

2. Text should be easy to decipher. The text size should be the right size, and the background colour of your site must not be too dark. A more conventional bet would be to use black letters on a white background. If you want to try something more daring, be careful that the text is still easy to read.

3. You should find your site easy to navigate. Each link should be in a place that is easy to spot, as well graphic navigation elements like buttons and tabs, which should be easy to read and use. It would be a shame to loose your visitors because your graphics are too flashy.

4. The layout and design of your website should be regular in order to avoid confusion. If the design changes too much from one page to the next, your visitors will think that they are on a different website.

5. Avoid adding music and sound samples. Most people prefer not to hear music when they land on a website, especially if they are already listening to something on the radio or internet. If you must, start with the sound off and make it switch on when the visitor chooses to.

6. Make sure your website design is compatible with most browsers. Bear in mind that people don’t only use Internet Explorer on Windows, but also Mozilla Firefox and Opera (if you can, you could even try testing on a Mac). If your site targets the technology market, make sure your site is up to date as your readers will be more likely to use new browsers and appliances such as PDAs.

7. Finally, make sure your site fits all screen resolutions. You might like to surf in 1240×1080 with your new screen, but always remember that some people still use 800×600, or even 640×768! A site that looks good in high resolution could be impossible to view properly in 800×600.

If you have any uncertainties, it won’t cost you anything to make some tests. You can also ask your colleagues, friends and family for their advice. A fresh eye can always see things which you might’ve left out.

J. M. Stevens is contributing editor at This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.

IP Addresses Explained

On the internet, every server is given a unique number, or what is called an IP (Internet Protocol) address. This number can be regarded as a ‘telephone number’ which will allow other computers to find and gain access to files regardless of where they are. The IP address is equivalent to 4 bytes (32 bits), and each byte is known as an octet and can have a value of between 0 and 255, so IP addresses are written in the form of numbers, such as 123.456.78.9.

IP addresses of 32 bits allow in theory more than 4 billion unique addresses, but in actual fact, the real number is much less. Certain varieties are set aside for special purposes so the number of available IP addresses is restricted. Web sites can however get around this limitation by using shared hosting or virtual servers. Instead of using one server for one web site, shared hosting can enable several sites (sometimes hundreds) to be hosted on the same server. Each of these sites will have the same IP address, and they will be uniquely identified by their domain name (e.g.

With the introduction of version 6, there are plans to expand the number of IP addresses (We currently use version 4) of the Internet Protocol. IPv6 has IP addresses which are 128 bits wide. This will give you an almost unlimited number of unique addresses, but will also take several years to carry out because of the very costly process of upgrading the Internet infrastructure.

Shared hosting explains the problem of limited IP addresses for web sites, but there is also a requirement for IP addresses for each personal computer which connects to the Internet in order to browse the web or to send emails. Rather than allocate each PC a unique IP address, Internet Providers is able to use a system of ‘dynamic addresses’. This implies that each time you connect to the Internet through a dial-up or DSL modem you will be assigned a different IP address.

We have previously discussed how to use a web hosting company in order to host a web site, but there are no reasons why you cannot host a site on your home computer. For most people, though, the biggest technical difficulty is that they connect to the Internet using an IP address which is dynamic. Dynamic addresses make it more difficult to host a web site from your home. As the IP address is constantly changing, nobody would be able to find your site unless you somehow inform them of your current IP address. There are many dynamic DNS services, nevertheless, which will allow you to assign a domain name to a site with a dynamic IP address. Every time you are given a new address your computer will automatically notify the service, which will in turn update its DNS (Domain Name Server).

Hosting your web site on your computer at home, however, might not be a good idea. The computer will need to operate server software and will need a high speed Internet connection. Your home Internet connection might probably be a lot slower than those used by hosting companies, so it is possible that your web pages load more slowly – especially if they have many graphics. If you have a smaller personal site with little visitors, however, it may be possible to host your own site. You can obtain dynamic DNS as either a free or a subscribed service.

Martin Redford is contributing editor at This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.