Having an attractive Web site plays an important role in getting repeat visits. Microsoft Office Live Small Business has several built-in features, including themes, styles, colors, and fonts, that make it easy for you to improve the appearance of your site, and you don't need a degree in graphic design to do it.

Choose a site theme
A good place to start when planning the overall look and feel of your site is with the theme. The theme you choose controls the image that appears in the header at the top of each page. You can select from a variety of themes for many industries, including automotive, finance, manufacturing, and real estate.

To select a theme, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to Office Live Small Business, and then, on the left navigation bar, click Web Site.
  2. On the actions bar, click Design Site, and then, in the drop-down list, click Design Site.
  3. Click Theme. A list of theme categories appears.

    Image of the Theme button

  4. From the drop-down list, click the theme category that you want. For each category, a list of images appears.
  5. Click the image that you want to use in your header. It is automatically selected and placed in the header on all of the Web pages on your site.

Apply a style
After you have chosen a theme that suits the purpose of your Web site, you can select a style. The style controls the placement of all elements in your Web site header. The header elements that are affected by your style choice include the logo, theme image, and the site title and slogan.

When you select the style, the header is reconfigured according to the definition of that style. For example, one style may show your logo as left-justified and another may show your logo as right-justified.

To select a style, do the following:

  1. On the left navigation bar, click Web Site.
  2. On the actions bar, click Design Site, and then, in the drop-down list, click Design Site.
  3. Click Style. A list of styles appears.

    Image of the Style button

  4. From the drop-down list, click the style you want to use. You can select different styles until you find the one that works for your site.

Use balanced colors
Color arguably has the most immediate visual impact on your Web site. The color you select should correspond with the theme you chose and should also work well with your logo if you have one on your site. If the color is out of balance with the other elements, a site can sometimes look unprofessional.

Fortunately, it's easy to choose or change colors on your site. You can pick colors and see what they look like with your theme and logo before you save your choices.

There are several color choices for you to make. For example, one color is used for the background of the site while another color is used for the menus. To simplify the decision-making, Office Live Small Business groups all colors used on a Web site into color themes and gives them names that in some way describe the overall feel of the theme. The Ocean color theme uses mostly blue colors, for example, while the Mustard color theme uses mostly orange and brown shades.

To select a color theme, do the following:

  1. On the left navigation bar, click Web Site.
  2. On the actions bar, click Design Site, and then, in the drop-down list, click Design Site.
  3. Click Color.

    Image of the Color button

  4. From the drop-down list, click the color theme that you want. You can select different color themes until you find the one that works for your site.

Choose the right font
Another important visual element for your Web site is the font you choose for the content. You can select a font to use on all of the pages on your site, or you can pick a different font for different pieces of text. Applying a font to the whole Web site enables you to quickly and easily give the entire site a common look and feel, which typically is more attractive to site visitors.

The fonts that you select should be applicable to the message you want to portray. For example, if you have a Web site that displays legal content, you would probably not want to use a font with a lot of embellishments, such as Trebuchet MS. Instead, you would use a font that is easy to read, such as Arial or Times New Roman.

Note: Not all fonts render correctly on all Web browsers (for example, Internet Explorer and Mozilla). The available fonts have been tested on a range of browsers to ensure that the text renders correctly, regardless of the browser that your site visitors use.

To select a font for your site, do the following:

  1. On the left navigation bar, click Web Site.
  2. On the actions bar, click Design Site, and then, in the drop-down list, click Design Site.
  3. Click Font, and then, in the drop-down list, click the font that you want.

There are several ways that you can add impact to the look and feel of your Web site. By making a few simple changes to the theme, the colors, and the font, you can give your site a professional and personalized look that will appeal to your visitors.