When it comes to designing a website, it’s the little details that can add up to big results, and optimum performance online. Paying extra attention to the little details can bring bigger rewards than you might imagine, Here are 5 important “rules” to consider and implement in your Website Design.

1) Don’t Use Splash Pages to Enter Your Site

Splash pages are the first pages you see when you arrive at a website. They normally have a very beautiful image with words like “welcome” or “click here to enter”. However, other than looking good, they have no real purpose. They don’t have enough content to get rated by the search engines and in fact search engines often have a difficult time in indexing them (if they can at all).  Splash pages may just give your visitors a reason to click on the “back” button. And if you took the time and effort to get them to your site, you don’t want them to leave without experiencing the full benefits of its content. Provide the value of your site up front without the splash page.

2) Go Easy on the Banner Ads

Banner Advertisements, once the darling of online marketing, have really gone by the wayside. Even the least web-savvy person has learned to mentally and visually turn off the banner ads, virtually ignoring their very presence. These type of ads have all but become a waste of valuable internet real estate.  Instead, provide more valuable content weaving relevant affiliate links into your content to monetize the content. This will get your visitors interested in what they are seeing and reading and more comfortable making a buying decision in the process.

3) Make Your Navigation Easy to Understand and Follow

It is important that your site offers a simple and very straightforward navigation menu so that even a young child will know how to use it. Stay away from complicated Flash-based menus or multi-tiered drop down menus. If your visitors don’t know how to navigate, they will leave your site.

4) Make Sure your Visitor Knows Where She Is

When visitors involved in browsing through your site, it is important that they are able to identify which part of the site they are in at the moment. This gives the visitor the option to browse relevant information or easily move from page to page easily navigating to any section of your website. Remember that a confused mind (or visitor) does nothing , except leave. If your internal linking strategies make sense to the visitor she or he is more likely to keep moving through the pages instead of leaving. You can do this by a). having the page name show up in the url (navigation bar) or b). by using a tool that highlights the page she is on.

5) Use Audio on Your Site in Moderation

NEVER create audio that automatically plays when someone visits your site. Not only will it annoy your visitors, it might get them in trouble (with the boss). If you must use autio, make sure the visitor has control of whether or not it plays.  Visitors who spend time on a site reading your content, will want to be able to turn the volume off or on based upon their desires and curiosity

Follow these 5 website design rules and watch the time each visitor spends on your site increase.

Heidi Richards Mooney, Founder & CEO of Women in Ecommerce™ has been networking online since early 2007 and is the author of five wordpress blogs as well as strategist and content creator for several of her clients. She has a Facebook Profile, 5 Facebook Pages, is one of the top 5% on Twitter, and runs 3 groups on LinkedIn. Her new book, due out in the Summer of 2011 is “How to Hire the Perfect Web Designer: What Questions to Ask so You Don’t Loose Your Time, Your Mind and Your Money!”