How to Design a Website 101 - For Beginners

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Designing Your Web - For the beginner

Even if you will be having a professional design your webpage these steps are suggested.

  1. What do you want your website to do? Focus on the purpose. What is the goal of your site? To show off your vacation pictures? To make people buy your product? Define it.
  2. The next step of website design is thinking about the layout and content. Before rushing in, you may want to draw it out on a few sheets of paper, what the menus will be named, and the tree structure of the links.  Look at competitors websites for ideas.
  3. If you will have a lot of text content, just open up word (or your favorite word processor) and start typing, editing and spell checking.  For a really quick and dirty one page website,  you can even save a Word or Excel document as an HTML format file.
  4. Choose a webpage creator program such as Microsoft Frontpage, Dreamweaver, or one of the many others out there. They will give you many templates and layout options, which can be changed at any time. Play around and get used to it. See a List and Reviews of Popular WYSIWYG Webpage and HTML Editors
  5. Build your website a page a time, adding your content.
  6. Add any pictures, but watch the file size and number of pictures or your pages may be slow to view.

Also try to follow these general website design guidelines:

  1. Keep it simple and clean.
  2. Keep a consistent look & feel across webpages, by using a template or style sheets. Don't go overboard by switch fonts and using italics all over the place.
  3. Your website should be lightweight and fast loading. Watch the number & sizes of pictures.
  4. Everything on your pages should have a purpose, if an object has no purpose - remove it.
  5. Remember not everyone has a wide screen, keep text content on the narrow side, to avoid side scrolling.
  6. Don't add counters to the bottom of your page, or other gadgets.
  7. Keep high contrast between background & text
  8. Avoid background music
  9. Use a light background if your visitors will be printing your webpages.

If you are really ambitious you may want to learn HTML,  CSS and other scripting languages like the pros use; this is out of the scope of this simple tutorial,  but try these sites:

Now you will have your basic website content and can begin polishing it, or hire a professional to punch it up. You may want to hold off on that for now though, at least wait until you have submitted your site to the search engines, that is a hurry up and wait process that will give plenty of time to polish and add any bells and whistles you may want.

Next Step, Choosing a Host


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