Would you buy meat from a grocery store that left the bad meat in with the good meat or wasn't clean? Would you buy a car from a sales lot that had totaled automobiles on the front lot? I wouldn't and neither would you. Your website is your grocery store; your car lot. You must have an atmosphere that is pleasing to buyers. One that tells that buyer that you are not an amateur, but instead a trained, seasoned professional. Your site is a direct reflection of your product and that is why that having a well designed website can make or break your sales.
The first thing to keep in mind when designing your website, is "surfability". Take a few minutes a look around at several web pages. What makes them appealing? Were there some that you closed out of immediately? Why? Take notes and do your research. Keep in mind that when a person visits your site they have a goal in mind. They are either seeking information or shopping for a product. Give the person what they want without having to search for it. Be sure that all the information on your site is relevant to your product. Make the buyer think that they need your product to solve their problem.
Your main page serves a very specific purpose. It should be an avenue by which the customer can shop your site. It should be easy to view and load very quickly. This is your first impression and we all know that first impressions can either close the deal or loose the deal. Make it simple. It is best to have links that are easily viewable by the reader that will navigate them to where they want to be. Tables are often a great choice when deciding on a way to design the main page of your site. Your main page should load very quickly, chances are if it takes the page more than ten seconds to load even on a 56k modem, the customer will click away to save time, hoping to find the information or product elsewhere. To increase the loading speed of your main page you should avoid large graphics or excessive graphics. Too many banners or special effects can cause a page to load slowly as well.
To make your web site more appealing to the eyes, you should stick to mild colors. If your site is a content site where the user will be doing a lot of reading, it is best to stick to black and white. Color can be added when using tables, as a way to brighten up the page, but remember to keep the overall look of the page professional and appealing to the audience that will be visiting most often. Since screen resolutions vary among monitors, it is a good idea to set the pixels to a standard 800x600. You may also choose to set the tables in your web page to span a percentage of the page rather than a set number of inches. This will be sure to accommodate all screen sizes. You should remember that a lot of Internet users will not use the same browser as you, and therefore you should be sure that your site looks as good on other browsers as it does your own. You can do this by downloading several browsers through which to look at your page.
Be aware of the fact that the overall look of your website is a way to make money. The appearance of the site, if designed properly, can be an excellent marketing strategy for your product or service.