How To Design A Website In 5 Easy Steps
Building a website is fun and educational. Best of all, if you do it right, you have an opportunity to earn some money, or to share information that you believe to be important for other people. There are many ways to design a website for those who have little to no experience in how things work. There are sites such as Blogger and WordPress where most of the hard work is done for you. A range of different templates is available to help you get started and you generally have to do nothing other than completing the content. However, if you really want to start a website that is yours and yours alone, and that you have complete freedom with, you will need to do it all yourself. Let’s take a look at the 5 steps to creating a website.
1 – Start by Brainstorming and Outlining
The first thing you have to do is figure out what you would like your website to look like. This is best achieved by using good old fashioned paper and pen and drawing and writing your ideas down. This will give you a great idea of the overall feel you want to achieve and what kind of sections you want to include on your site.
An outline of a website should include a list of each section to be included on the site, with a description of what type of content will be shown on each page. It should also describe in as much detail as possible what features would be on the site, such as user accounts, commenting, social networking functions, video, or a newsletter sign-up.
2 – Begin Your Development Process
Now that you know what your site will look like, you should also know what sort of tools you will need to achieve that. You should have collected your images, colors, backgrounds and all other visual material that you want to use. Don’t be overly concerned about the actual content yet, that can come later. You should now be ready to have a go at the actual design of the website.
With the finalized approved mock-ups, I begin to develop HTML comps that are compatible across several of the major browsers. In addition, developing with SEO concepts in mind is a huge factor in the internet marketing success of the site, long term.
It is at this stage that you should have XHTML/CSS prototypes in full working order. You also have to start thinking about the SEO processes in order to develop your code. Also, make sure you cross-check your information so that the site can be functional on all different browsers.
3 – Debug Any Problems
If you have done your development phase right, you should now come across a number of problems and faults. If you find your design is fully operational the first time around, it is likely that you are missing something and haven’t tested your site properly. Even the best web designer makes mistakes here and there and it is almost impossible to not have to debug your design.
[You need to] thoroughly troubleshoot and tweak, removing browser inconstancies to ensure an exceptional user experience any platform.
Make sure you check your site across different browsers and screen sizes and check this on different platforms as well. If you also want to develop a mobile site, you have to make sure that this has gone through properly as well. Hence, you need to have various computers and mobile devices with you (Mac and PC, Android and iOS at the very least) in order to appropriately test this. Also make sure you have debugged all your content management systems.
4 – Work on Your Content
This is one of the most important parts of website design, but often comes as one of the last things. The content of your site is important firstly in order to attract customers. This is done through SEO, which means you follow a number of algorithms outlined by Google which will get your page noticed and on the first page of search results. Secondly, it is the content of your site that will make sure your customers actually stay and read what you have to tell them. Hence, you need to start thinking about who your audience is.
Your website needs to take all kinds of visitors by the hand and help them find what they are looking for. Within a few seconds of getting to your site, a visitor needs to know what to do next. Do they need to sign up? Should they click a link to learn more? Once you determine what visitors are coming, you’ll be able to determine what they need to do once they get there.
The reality is that you cannot please everybody. It is impossible to design a website that anybody will like. For instance, if you have a website about hunting, there is no way you will present information in such a way that animal rights activists will enjoy what you are offering them. Knowing who your audience is and making sure they are targeted is far more important.
5 – Launch
Once all of this has been completed, you are ready to launch your website. For this, you have to find a website host, of which there are plenty available online. As soon as your website has launched, make sure you link it to social media, so you have a strong presence there as well. A website should never stand still. This means that you have to return to point 4 straight away and add new information on a daily basis. It is only by doing this that you make sure your website continues to be found on the search engines. Essentially, the design phase of a website is a one time job. It is time consuming, but once it has been completed, you don’t need to look at it again. The SEO part of a website, however, is a process that is ongoing until the day you close your site.