You will benefit from publishing high quality content. But, it is harder to read content on a computer screen than on paper. If it is hard to read, the content won't do anything.
The higher the contrast, the easier it is to read. Black font on a white background gives the highest contrast. Hence, the easiest colour scheme to read. This shouldn't be troublesome, but if you need to use another combination, make sure to have the highest contrast possible.
You can make the main content stand out by reducing the contrast of the secondary content, i.e. fine print.
Many websites tend to use small font. Most likely, this is because small font gives a professional look. However, it is harder to read. I use relatively larger font. I admit it looks childish, but it is much easier than reading smaller fonts. It helps visitors to scan easily and finish reading more quickly. For paper publications, using a larger font requires more paper. But, for website content, the file size won't change depending on font size. Using a larger font won't cost any extra.
Narrower columns makes content easier to read. That's why newspapers are divided into several columns. Just imagine how difficult it would be if newspaper articles were printed without columns (i.e., the lines extended from one side to the other). For the same reason, the double column format is widely used in printed publications. But, it won't work on web pages. So, I put a navigation bar on one side and ads on the other side to make the main column narrower. This layout creates a lot of dead spaces on both sides below the navigation bar and ads. But, dead space doesn't reduce the usability of the website.
© July, 2007