I'm a web designer. I build websites on WordPress for small
and startup companies. I take care of everything;
graphics, content, hosting and domains. Understanding how websites and
the internet work are part and parcel of my job.
The purpose of web design is to present
the information on it to the best effect. Before I even start the
project, I have a thorough discussion with the client to decide what
the purpose of the website is.
What do they want it to do? Is it an information display? An online
shop? A discussion forum? A writers' showcase?
Basically, decide whether you need a database or not. Having a database
makes it easier to find items on your website. Otherwise, make sure all
your links work or you're going to find some pages difficult to find or
Sometimes my clients already have hosting and domains. The ones who
don't get me to sort that out for them. I usually put them with iPage,
depending on their hosting needs.
More and more people access the internet via
mobile devices every day.
Websites built on HTML tables won't display as intended on mobile
don't tell me you were going to leave out mobile. Most people use them.
If you're taking the Responsive route, layout is important because the
website has got to look good on bigger screens.
The traditional sidebar
left/right/both sides option has been extended to stacked columns,
which provide neat boxes for your content to sit in.
They stack nicely on mobile
screens so you only have to scroll downwards when browsing.
Better browsing = more business.
Think "Function first, then form." That way you'll get
the best results in every area.
So... have you decided which platform to
use yet? HTML pages are all well and good but updating your site
requires generating code. Using a CMS such as WordPress will save you
the bother. Just click "post" and off you go. WordPress has a range of
themes, many of which are free AND
mobile-ready. They are flexible enough to let you add your own header
banner and change the background and layout.
Blogger is perfectly good as a CMS . It's free and has
the advantage of linking directly to Google services.
It all depends on what you want to do and how much control you want. A
skilled designer can even make it look like a WordPress webite -
slideshow, call to action button, and all!
Your website should have a clear focus
in terms of what it's about and what you can do for the people who
visit it. Can you meet their needs in the area you're working
Do they need to
be able to physically find you? Add a map gadget to help provide
directions to your premises if necessary.
Don't get too excited about search results and SEO.
important to be found online and yes, there are ways to float quickly
to the top of the search results...
... you are up against other people doing the exact same thing. The
trick is not to be on page one of Google but to engage effectively with
your audience. If you treat them well they'll tell their friends.
Adding widgets, slideshows, and large images can slow
down your website. Are they necessary?
Images, etc., should be relevant to the text or they're unncecessary.
Avoid clutter. If your needs are simple, keep it simple. Content is
king, people! That is what will drive people back again and again.
I recommend putting your contact details where people
can see them
easily without having to dig for it. Make sure that the most important
information is the easiest to find.
Web design is not about producing a pretty website but providing
information and other services for potential clients in the most