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Two Columns Fixed
Three Columns Fixed CSS/Table/Div Page Layout
Fixed page layout looks same on every screen resolution. That makes designer work easier, but page could be less accessible. On small screen resolutions horizontal scroll bar will appear which is usually annoying for visitor. Because of this, fixed page layouts are designed to satisfy not all, but most of the visitors. Before a few years, fixed page layouts are designed for 800x600 screen resolution. Today, fixed page layouts are mostly created to look nice for 1024x768 resolution. If some visitor has larger screen, white areas will appear on the side. Unlike horizontal scroll bar, white area on one or both sides is something that most visitors even expect and it is acceptable.
If you don't want to limit your page with fixed page layout, check Three Columns Fluid (Liquid) Page Layout or Three Columns Elastic Page Layout. These types of page layouts could (if designed well) be more adaptable to different visitors' screen resolutions and different browser settings. But, they are also harder to create than fixed page layout.
This example layout uses DIV and TABLE tags with external .css file. DIVs are used for Header and Footer, and TABLE is used for columns: Navigation and Content area. Pure CSS/DIV layout or classic TABLE layout have their own advantages and disadvantages. This is hybrid page layout that tries to takes both from both worlds and get stable, cross browser compatible solution.
Using of external .css file makes pages smaller. It reduces bandwidth costs because .css file is downloaded only first time when visitor visits web site. Pages load fast which is friendly for both visitors and search engines.
Three columns page layout is probably most popular page layout on Internet. To get better ranking on search engines it is good to have main content near the top of the HTML document. Check SEO Three Columns Fixed Page Layout to see how to improve this layout for search engines and keep nice look with content area still in the center of the page. Also, check other layouts from the Navigation area on left side to find most appropriate for your needs.