Building a new website can be fun, frustrating, hard work. The process starts with an idea, then moves on to a design and finally the coding - whether it's by hand or using a WYSIWYG editor.
Here are some tips you might find useful when moving to the design stage of your website (I'm not trying to patronise the experienced designers here, just giving some ideas to the newer designers).
1. Look at websites you enjoy visiting / reading. Try and work out what it is about them you like. Is it the layout? the content? the ease of use?
When you're starting to design a website use the sites you like as inspiration (nothing in design is completely new).
2. If your site is going to be content heavy with a lot of text, look at other sites that deal with lots of text.
Look at newspaper websites such as http://www.nytimes.com/ in the USA or http://www.guardian.co.uk/ in the UK.
Text on screen can be difficult to read, so try not to have columns of text with more than 10 - 12 words. If you look at your daily newspaper you'll get an idea of how text is best positioned on a page - remember most people are more used to reading text off a piece of paper than off a computer screen.
3. Use white space.
I don't mean have a website with one word or image per page, but look at how white space is used on some of the best designed and popular websites http://www.apple.com/ is a great example.
The gaps between images can help promote a stylish design as much as the images themselves.
4. Don't overload your pages with flashing images / animated gifs / brightly coloured text, if you have a lot to say, then say it over several pages. Too much movement on one page distracts viewers, one image with text can attract attention far more than 5 animated gifs.
5. Stick to one colour scheme and font theme throughout your site.
If you use too many fonts your site will look disjointed, and the same with colours. Think of your favourite magazine, look at how every page follows the same pattern of layout, colours and fonts.
I'm sorry if these points are obvious to everyone here, but looking at some of the sites that are here to be reviewed I feel that a lot of new designers, who have no experience with any kind of design, might find them useful.
So, only five tips from me...does anyone have any more?