Sites a Web Designer Should Know (or ‘I wish I had thought of this first’)

Awhile back I did a post on my personal top ten sites. It was dugg and relabeled as sites a web developer should know. This was not my intention since there were many sites on it that have nothing to do with web design, CSS or SEO. But it was one of my most popular posts – probably not for my superb writing skills, more likely interest from the digg post.

I am still relatively new at web design but I thought I would share some of the sites I use regularly in the hopes that experienced designers might find something new and new designers might start out correctly – that is, building CSS based, SEO friendly and standard compliant sites. Since there is a relatively large number of things I want to list, this will probably be broken up over several posts.


  • See how your site looks to search engines – input your site, choose your paramaters and it will show you what order your content shows up in, your keywords and keyword density, as well as headers, title, meta tags and other SEO elements of your page. A good way to make sure your page is being read the way you want it to.
  • Getting your site indexed before you launch – this article brings up a good point. Many sites talk about how to improve your SEO after the fact, but as many designers know – by doing things right from the beginning, it’ll make your life and job a lot easier. This offers several simple ideas to be indexed before you’re even done.
  • Basics of SEO – 456 Berea St. offers an excellent list of things to do – keep your title (the most important SEO element) in mind and utilize it correclty, use real headings, write good content (and keep it fresh), use good (semantic and lean) markup, and keep in mind there are no shortcuts. It includes more information and ideas then I mention here – I highely recommend it even if you know a lot about SEO, you might learn something new.
  • Beginner’s Guide to SEOSEOmoz is an entire site dedicated to SEO and this beginner’s guide is actually pretty comprehensive.


  • W3Schools – a free online school of the basics of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other web languages. Very basic, but a good resource.
  • Complete Guide to Web Design – An excellent, complete guide to building web pages. Easy to read and well written. Highetly recommended.

Web Standards

  • W3c Validator – the official validator. You can’t have standard compliant code unless it’s valid (ad servers, CMS, etc. aside).
  • 9 Ways to Misunderstand Web Standards – Some common misunderstandings that still go on today.
  • Why Tables for Layouts is Stupid – An online slide show from Seybold 2003. Simple and easy to understand. A great list of resources near the end. Included because it’s amazing to me how many table based layouts there still are out there – including many of those free template sites or page builders you find. Tables have their uses – but bloating markup and killing SEO is not one of them.
  • Designing with Web Standards – another great 456 Berea St. article. A comprehensive guide to designing standard compliant sites. A little hard to understand for beginners, but a source I highely recommend.

That’s it for today. Next time: CSS, Inspiration and Template sites and color/graphics sites (most likely – subject to change). A great, and much more extensive, resource list can be found at the web developer’s handbook – some of the sites listed here are on there and I have mentioned this site before. My only complaint would be that no descriptions are provided. However, on a list that large, descriptions would make it almost unreadable.

Random Tidbit: Sticking with the list theme – here are three great links:

2 thoughts on “Sites a Web Designer Should Know (or ‘I wish I had thought of this first’)”

  1. Great post! As far as posting your links to your blog goes… I’m not a huge fan. I think it can “water down” the other content on your site. One option: use RSS to display your links in your sidebar or footer. You can also have your links inserted into your RSS feed using Feedburner’s Link Splicer feature.

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