The Essentials of Quality Web Design
Endless buckets of digital ink have been spilled since the beginning of the Internet about what constitutes good web design. There’s a wide array of varying opinions as to what role good web design plays in the success of any given website, and the truth is that it depends on what kind of site you’re making, what your overall goals are and who your audience is. Slapping together a site focused on, say, Linux tutorials or programming for the hard-core geeks out there probably won\’t require that you put a lot of time into making it pretty. The audience for such a site, for the most part, only cares about the raw data and information and not presentation.

But what if you’re creating a site for something more appearance oriented, like a music or fashion website, or one where the overall layout and first impression should project confidence, knowledge and trust, like a financial site or one where people are giving out credit card information. In those cases, appearance matters in a big way. Almost everybody, whether or not they care to admit it, judges other people and sources of information based on appearance. That’s why first impressions are so important: you can only make them once. Typography, photography, color selection and general layout all matter when making that impression.

The important thing to remember is that you need to identify your main audience and readership, think about what their needs and motivations are and directly tailor your site to making them happy. There are plenty of fairly general tenets of effective web design that should apply to any site, as well as more specific recommendations that will vary from niche to niche. The key factors to any successful website are speed, usability and usefulness. If you create something that has great content, presented in a clear and easy to navigate manner, you should have no shortage of traffic and visitors.