When deciding on the layout of your website, there are a couple important truths to keep in mind. The first and most important is your audience (or potential viewers/customers). What are your audience's likes and dislikes, and why would they want to look at your site over a competitors. There needs to be a reason to keep a person at your site.
Also, keep in mind the medium that is being used, namely the internet. People on the internet want instant gratification. They need to know within the first 3 seconds that they have found the right website to meet their needs. In fact, studies indicate that most people using the internet don't even read any text when browsing, they always scan it. Test yourself right now to see if this is true. Therefore, you must remember to keep your layout and text spaced out with clean and easy-to-scan text. Don't clutter or fit too much text into any one section or page as this is too daunting for a person seeking instant gratification.
Take a look around at some competitors. Spy on their websites and see what attracts you to their site, and more importantly; what keeps you on their website. This is extremely important is you are building a website for a small business because consumers have many options when buying a good or service from a small business. Before consumers make a choice and purchase, they usually have exhausted 3-5 different options. If your site was lucky enough to be looked at, your chances only improve if you were able to please the customer with a consumer friendly website.
Article written by Kris Cook, owner of KC Power Clean (Professional Window Cleaning and Power Washing in Orange County, California http://www.kcpowerclean.com He is also the moderator of a window cleaning blog found at http://www.kcpowerclean.com/blog.html