Mastering website design part 2: The art of building a website
- Creating a website can seem overwhelming when you're unfamiliar with web design.
- But it's not as difficult as it might seem if you take the correct approach.
- You must take some crucial steps, whether building a personal blog, an online portfolio, or a business website, to ensure your site appears fantastic and runs smoothly.
In the first part of our series, we covered the essential tools and principles one should follow to build a website. If you haven't already, we recommend you check that out before reading here.
If you've already done that, review the fundamentals of creating a website, such as picking a platform and domain name—a hosting company, designing your site, and optimizing your page for search engines.
Let's get going!
1. Determine the website's objectives and purpose
As we saw in part 1, knowing precisely what you want the website to accomplish and who your target crowd is, is crucial before you start designing it. Here are some things to consider.
- What are you trying to achieve: A crucial stage in the website creation process is deciding your new website's goal or focal point. What is it for? A blog? or eCommerce? Learning platform? Blend? Print on Demand?
- Set your objectives: Determine the goals you have for your website. Do you want to produce leads, offer goods, or give information? Your dreams will influence your website's layout and material.
- Recognize your intended market: Identify your intended demographic. What are their tastes and needs? What specific details are they seeking? You can better tailor your website to your audience's requirements if you know who they are.
- Investigate your rivals' web pages to learn what they are doing right and what they could do better. By doing this, you'll be able to set your website apart from theirs and offer a unique selling point.
- Establish your brand identity. Your website should represent this. Make sure your website's tone and appearance are consistent with your identity.
- Make a sitemap: A sitemap is a hierarchical breakdown of all the sites on your website. You can use it to organize your website and choose the appropriate material.
These steps will help you identify the focus or point of your new website, design it to your target audience's requirements, and make it successful.
2. Select a web development platform
There are numerous platforms for web creation, each with advantages and disadvantages. Among the most well-liked web development tools are:
- WordPress: Popular for building webpages and blogs, WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS). It provides a vast selection of plugins and themes and has a sizable developer community.
- Wix: Wix is a drag-and-drop website builder that runs in the cloud and enables users to construct websites. It makes it simple for beginners to get begun by providing a variety of templates and features.
- Shopify: Users can easily build online stores using this e-commerce platform. Numerous templates and features are available, and the checkout procedure is secure.
- Squarespace: Users can construct websites with a professional appearance using this website builder. It has a drag-and-drop UI, several templates, and features.
- Drupal: A popular open-source CMS for building intricate websites and apps is Drupal. It provides a wide variety of modules and has a sizable developer community.
- Joomla: A popular open-source CMS for building websites and apps is Joomla. It has a sizable developer group and provides a range of templates and extensions.
Your ideal web development platform will ultimately rely on your unique requirements and objectives. To choose the platform that will perform best for you, it is crucial to do some research and compare various options. How you build a website on these will vary, but for the rest of this piece, we'll focus on WordPress as it is one of the most common.
3. Select a web hosting company
But, before you do anything else, you must select a web hosting company to make your website available online. HostGator, SiteGround, and Bluehost are a few well-liked providers.
They all have pros and cons, so research them to find which fits your needs, budget, etc. However, any web hosting company you select should offer PHP and MySQL, which are necessities for WordPress and other platforms.
4. Install WordPress (or not)
After deciding on a site hosting company, WordPress can be installed. Most hosting companies give one-click installation, which makes getting started simple.
If they do not offer one-click installation (which would be unusual today), in most other cases, you'll typically need to complete the following steps: -
- Create a MySQL database using your hosting control interface after choosing a web hosting company. Keep the login, password, and database name close at hand.
- Install WordPress: Visit the official WordPress website (https://wordpress.org/download/) for the most recent version.
- WordPress files should be uploaded to your web host using an FTP client like FileZilla. Be careful to upload them to your website's root or subdirectory.
- Downloading WordPress is as simple as going to your website in a browser and clicking the WordPress download button. After selecting your chosen language, press the "Continue" button. After that, input the data for your database and press the "Submit" button.
- Install WordPress: Type your website's name, admin username, and password on the following page. At this point, you can also decide to add some essential WordPress plugins.
- WordPress will be loaded on your website after you click the "Install WordPress" button.
Once the download is complete, you can personalize your website by logging in to your WordPress dashboard at http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin/.
5. Select a theme
WordPress offers a large selection of templates that are already built and can be used to alter the appearance and feel of your website. Pick a theme that supports the objectives and purpose of your website.
Some "rules of thumb" when choosing a theme include: -
- A responsive theme adapts its layout and design to suit various screen sizes, including smartphones and tablets. Because it guarantees that your website looks great and works correctly on all devices, a responsive theme is crucial.
- Check the theme's highlights: Find a theme with the required functionalities, such as personalized menus, widget areas, and page layouts. Verify that the theme is functional with the newest WordPress version and widely used plugins.
- View scores and reviews: Look up ratings and reviews of the subject you are considering. Reading what other users say about a theme's advantages and disadvantages can greatly improve your understanding of its advantages and disadvantages.
- Look for a theme that provides customization options, such as color schemes and fonts, to consider this. This will enable you to customize and distinguish your website.
- Check the literature and support: Ensure your selected theme has solid documentation and assistance. A support thread or documentation for the theme should be available so you can get assistance with any problems or inquiries.
- Don't select a motif solely based on cost: Despite the abundance of complimentary themes, it's crucial to remember that you get what you pay for. Since they typically provide more features, superior support, and ongoing updates, investing in a premium theme can frequently be worthwhile in the long run.
In general, when selecting a WordPress theme, you should carefully consider the requirements of your website, the theme's features, reviews and ratings, customization options, support, and cost.
Spend some time selecting a theme that satisfies your unique needs and improves the usability and aesthetics of your website.
6. Install plugins
Once you've got your Worpress setup and a theme chosen, you can then decide to add some plugins to help automate or add excellent functions to your website. Which ones you choose will depend entirely on your ambitions for the site, but some examples include: -
The most popular plugins for WordPress can vary based on the kind of website or blog you are running because thousands of them are available. But some of the most well-known and frequently employed WordPress apps are:
- Yoast SEO: This plugin assists you in search engine optimization and increases the visibility of your website in search engine results sites.
- Site statistics, security, backups, and image optimization are just features in the all-inclusive bundle known as Jetpack.
- You can quickly build and manage contact forms on your website using the plugin Contact Form 7.
- With the help of the well-liked WordPress e-commerce plugin WooCommerce, you can build an online store and offer goods straight from your website.
- WPForms: This plugin enables you to quickly design and maintain forms for your website, such as payment, survey, and communication forms.
- Smush Picture Compression and Optimization: This plugin aids in picture optimization and compression, which can speed up and enhance the functionality of your website.
- W3 Total Cache: By caching content and optimizing other elements of your website, this plugin helps your website render more quickly.
- Utilizing Google Analytics, MonsterInsights: This plugin enables you to monitor website traffic and user activity.
It should be noted that this is not a comprehensive list; depending on your website's requirements, numerous other well-known WordPress plugins are accessible.
7. Build pages and posts, add media, and launch it!
To build pages and posts for your website, use the WordPress dashboard. Posts are used for blog articles, whereas pages are usually used for static content like your 'About' page. We'll talk more about this in our next and final episode of this guide series.
After testing its usability, style, and functionality across various browsers and devices, launch the website once you're happy with it, and make it public once it's online.
And that is your lot for today.
Congratulations, you now understand how to create a website from the ground up! Following these instructions, you can build a site professionally presenting your material or company. Remember to keep your design simple and user-friendly and optimize your site for search engines to drive traffic.
Don't hesitate to ask the web design community for help and resources if you encounter any difficulties. Happy building!