The ultimate goal of your website is to not only captivate your users, but inspire them to recommend your site to others. An appealing color scheme, intuitive design, easily accessible information and fast response—all of these things your users are looking for. Does your website represent?

Here are 10 hot web design tips every affiliate should know, and use.

CSS3 and HTML5

CSS3 and HTML5 are now on the forefront of website design, as webmasters are finally letting go of user-unfriendly Flash. However, HTML5 cannot (yet) replace the “flashy” design elements achieved through Flash, but it is lessening some of the burden of having an entire website composed of Flash. CSS3 is also making short work of text shadow, border radius and image transparency—goodbye, Photoshop.

Simple Color Schemes

Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to website color. However, don’t think of just using black, white or grey—instead think green, yellow or red as your primary color. Limit your palette to two or three colors and work within the shades of each color for variety. This will give your site a sleek and sophisticated look.

Depth Perception

Depth perception is about creating dimension in your web design, so that parts of your site look nearer/farther than others—giving users a more interactive, virtual movie-type feel. Although 3D technology has not yet made it to web design, you can replicate depth in your design. Use parallax scrolling for the best results (see below).

Parallax Scrolling

Parallax scrolling is great for adding depth to your site. It uses layers to create the illusion of a 3-dimensional space and can be accomplished with simple CSS tricks or the help of jQuery plugins like Spritely. Parallax scrolling is most effective as a secondary element on your design; i.e. a header, footer, or background.

Mobile Ready

Due to the onslaught of smartphones, iPads, netbooks, etc., your website must be responsive to multiple viewports. With the help of CSS3, you can design your site to allow your coding to conform to your user’s viewing medium. It’s important that your site is optimized to mobile standards, as smartphones are starting to outsell computers on a global scale.

Design for Touch Screens

Smartphones, iPads, even some desktops all use touch screens, and your website should incorporate some fingertip navigation. Consider building some of your site to mimic a magazine-like layout where users can finger-tip flip through your content. Also, consider using liquid layouts so users can change their viewing orientation from vertical to horizontal if on a smartphone or iPad.

Large Photographic Backgrounds

Large photo backdrops are an instant way to grab your audience. However, make sure your backgrounds are content-appropriate. Having a backdrop of a naked woman, if nothing in your content supports this image, is likely to confuse your users—even if they are entertained by it. Use imagery that doesn’t overshadow your content, but complements it.

QR: Quick Response

If you don’t yet know them by name, those square barcodes on business cards, magazines and even television are called QR, or Quick Response. Simply take a photo of the barcode with your phone and voila—your phone will call up the associated website. Put a QR on your site for users to have a shortcut to your other sites. You can also track your visitors through QR, and use QR as your avatar for back links.

Thumbnail Design

Gone are the days of extraneous clicking to see the content of a website. Now you can just hover (with a mouse, not yet a touch screen) and you are given a glimpse of what waits on the other side of your click. Thumbnails give users more independence and personal navigation on your site, which is a great for retention.

Update Domain Names

The .com domain has lost a lot of appeal and has been virtually tapped out of names. There is a growing trend toward more creative domain names, such as .me or .us. and you should grab a few before they’re taken. This can work wonders for your future SEO, especially if you snag a gaming domain that would be impossible to own as a .com.

Do you use these website design tips? What design element on your site do you think works best for conversion? Do you use other design tricks not listed here? Share the love in the comments below.

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