You have established your domain name, registered it, and signed up for web hosting service. You are now ready to design your website. For beginners, this step can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep in mind the following considerations when beginning your website design and you will be off to a good start.
Step 1: Keep it Simple, Stupid.
There are so many choices when it comes to designing your website. Just remember to keep it as simple as possible for your users to navigate through your site. At no point should your user feel confused or lost in terms of where they are in your site. If they are reading an article or
viewing a product page, they should easily be able to back track to your homepage or back to search results.
Step 2: Get the Right Software
Choosing the right software can avoid a lot of frustrations in your website design. Dreamweaver and CoffeeCup are good candidates for beginners. CoffeeCup has been known to be a bit more frustrating if you are a picky designer, but Dreamweaver has the higher price tag. If you plan to do more website design in the future, you may want to make the investment and get Dreamweaver.
Step 3: Draw Out Your Website Layout
It is important that you do this step before you begin designing. It will save you a lot of hassle and frustration when you actually sit down to hammer out each web page. You can also use programs like Freehand or Fireworks do map out a website plan. Anything you can use to give you a clear understanding of where you are going will do just fine. Include a hierarchy of pages, which pages fall under which menus, and how your navigation will look.
Step 4: Gather your Images and other Media Files for Easy Upload
You are almost ready to begin the actual design part of your website. First, though, do yourself a favor and get all of your media files organized. When you have them all in place on your computer, go ahead and begin designing. When you need to insert an image or link to a media file, everything is right there in one spot.
Step 5: Design Templates
The next step in designing your website is to create your templates or CSS files. This allows you to easily create many web pages with the same overall look and layout. If you need to make change to the look or layout later, you will only need to change the template file instead of changing every single web page.
Step 6: Begin Designing, Page by Page
It is almost always easier to design new web pages and assign them a CSS template rather than the other way around. So once you have your template(s) in place, then get down to it and begin working through your website design, page by page. Use your layout drawing as your guideline, checking off each page as you go. When you need a media file or link, simply go to your pre-organized file with all of your media.
Using this method, you should have fairly little trouble designing your website. Once you’re finished designing and have doubled checked your work for spelling errors and broken links, etc., you are ready to go live with your website.