This page has quick "design a web page" tips. It tells how to make your web page look good, suit your target market, be user friendly, and be easy to maintain.
A good web page design won't convert a visitor into a buyer, but a poor design can have them hitting the back button fast, so design your page to make life as easy as possible for visitors.
Go here to learn how to build a web page.
Think about your ideal visitor/customer. Who are they? What kind of web page would they expect? What would you expect in a web page about your site concept? Would it be loud and flashy, or conservative?
Look at other web pages about your site concept, particularly the high ranking ones. What do they have in common? With your ideas and ideas from other web sites, you can work out a design.
Find a web site for your target market that appeals to you and use that as a basis for your web pages. Don't blatantly copy the design, particularly don't copy the source code, but use it as inspiration and a starting point.
Keep the navigation simple and obvious. A left hand navbar like the one I have on this site is quite okay. You don't have to have drop-down or fly-out menus.
Use the default colors for text links. That's what visitors expect, it's how they know they're links, and it will give you the biggest number of click-throughs.
Test your website. Get friends or family to try it out. If they have trouble, you'll need to change the design to make it more user friendly.
Keep your web page design simple. It looks better, it's more user friendly, it's less confusing, and it's easier to build.
Make your web page load quickly. Don't load it down with too many graphics.
You need to optimize your web images so they load quickly. If you need a large picture, put it on a separate page and link to it from a thumbnail picture.
Design your web page to fit the biggest number of monitors. Site Build It! (SBI) still designs web pages for a 800 pixel wide resolution, and for that reason so do I. (35% of SBI sites are in the top 1% of websites, 62% in the top 3%. You can't argue with success.)
Flashing icons will irritate your visitors and so will animated gifs if they cycle over and over again. If you use an animated gif just have it cycle three times and then stop. Things that flash or move are distracting and will stop your message getting through.
Don't use more colors on your page than you have fingers on your hand. Too many colors looks amateurish.
Use dark text on a light background. White on black is the most readable of all.
If you use a background image like a watermark that can be seen under the text make absolutely sure it won't make the text hard to read. Check it on as many monitors as you can. Personally, I don't like them and don't use them because even though they look cool they have readability issues.
Try to keep your header graphic no more than 100 pixels high so you don't use too much valuable space above the fold (That is, in the part of the page visitors see without scrolling down.)
When you design your web page, use tables to lay it out and position everything where you want it.
Frames aren't worth the effort. They have issues, including bookmarking. If your visitors can't bookmark a page they may never come back to your web site.
Use cascading style sheets so you can easily change style elements across your entire website very easily.
Use virtual includes for parts of your page that you will want to change on a lot of pages at once, e.g. for ads and for the navbar.
It's your content that your visitors are coming for. An absolutely fantastic web page design with lousy content will get you nowhere. Your visitors won't hang around. You do need a good design, but you should be putting the bulk of your time into creating top notch useful content.