This list from useit.com was authored in 2002. It is still such a good list I thought I would repeat it here to bring it back to top of mind. The complete list with all the details is available at: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20020512.html
Make the Site’s Purpose Clear: Explain Who You Are and What You Do
- Include a One-Sentence Tagline
Start the page with a summary of what the site or company does
- Write a Window Title tag with Good Visibility in Search Engines and Bookmark Lists
Begin the TITLE tag with the company name, followed by a brief description of the site.
- Group all corporate information in one distinct area – About Us
Help Users Find What They Need
- Emphasize the Site’s Top High-Priority Tasks – offer users a clear starting point for the main one to four tasks they’ll undertake when visiting your site.
- Include a Search Input Box
Reveal Site Content
- Start your content on your home page
- Begin Link Names with the Most Important Keyword
- Offer Easy Access to Recent Homepage Features – keep a short list of recent features on the homepage and a link to a permanent archive of all other homepage features.
Use Visual Design to Enhance, not Define, Interaction Design
- Don’t Over-Format Critical Content, Such as Navigation Areas – users often dismiss graphics as ads and focus on the parts of the homepage that look more likely to be useful.
- Use Meaningful Graphics – Images are powerful communicators when they show items of interest to users