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Layout Tweaks: Dos and Don'ts

The web is not static - it's always changing. It behooves a webmaster to change their layout every once in a while -- but maybe not too often. Keep these things in mind, while editing your layout.

1. Change is good.
There is always room for improvement in a website design. Make things easier to find, adjust your copy, make it slicker. Grab people's attention. A lot of web design these days is just plain bad. Look at your website or blog through a reader or customer's point of view: Can you find what you're looking for? Are you interested? If not, then you need a change.

2. Change is bad.
Okay, I can already see the confused looks... The thing is, a website redesign can be a blessing and a curse. Think about all the times your favorite websites have redone their layouts - there is usually a group of people who are unhappy about it, right? Not every re-design will be well-received. Your web layout is your brand, and if you change it all the time, it will not feel familiar to returning readers. If you're doing a complete re-haul of your layout, try to keep at least one or two things stable: think about Facebook's blue and white, or Google's white space with primary colors. Even though the websites change, they keep their brand consistent.

3. Beware of feature creep.
While it may seem cool to have all the latest widgets, don't try to cram too much on your main page. If you add something, consider removing something else you don't need. Having too much on a page will make it long and slow to load. If you need to have all your awards, memes, badges, Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Digg Reddit links, virtual pets, whatever... Then consider creating an additional page to put them on. Don't let them get in the way of content and usability.

4. Content is King.
Above all things, you can make a website pretty, but if it doesn't have anything worth reading, no one will visit. If you're spending so much time on your layout that you don't have enough time to write quality articles, take a break. Some of the most useful webpages out there are black, 12-point Times New Roman on a white background.

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