The number one thing you can do to minimize browser inconsistency is always fully validate your output [validator.w3.org].You will find minor differences, but they will be just that - minor - with the exception of IE6, which is thankfully dying. That green light has saved me so many times . . . it does work.
If you get cornered where you are considering an IE conditional, rethink your process/design, there is almost always a way out of that.