As professional website designers, we get this question very often. It’s true that anyone can build a website, but before you dive into this, ask yourself: what are you more willing to sacrifice, quality or price?
You see, usually, people in business who start researching whether they can build a website themselves, are honestly doing themselves a disservice. But before going into that, here’s some basic, free advice on how to build a website yourself.
Get a web authoring program.
Simple website design software has been around since the early 1990s. There are still many free applications that will help you design a website from scratch. These programs work similar to using a word processor.
If you’re looking for free solutions, the usual choice is to create a website using your web hosting company’s tools. Bigger companies often include these for free with their web hosting packages.
If you can spend a little money, then Dreamweaver is a great choice for beginners. Dreamweaver is great for a beginner learning how to build a website for the first time, and it’s a pro tool which you’d continue using at any skill level.
Get graphics design software.
As a beginner, you’re going to find that website design goes much more quickly if you avoid graphics like the plague. Building your own website design from scratch with the intention to spruce it up full of attractive graphics, certainly sounds nice and cost-effective … until you spend two full days getting one tiny graphical accent looking right.
With that said, everybody wants, at least, some basic, light graphical elements no matter how simple your website’s design. Photoshop is the natural choice for professionals, but beginners will want something much easier to learn.
Fireworks is a decent choice for beginners, but even with that, you can easily get lost in tutorials for days before you even start to build a website with it.
Neither of the above are free – and honestly, free graphics apps are usually a bad choice for business web design. They tend to lack the features and image definition to get anything done efficiently.
Sketch your layout.
This is the obvious part, and if you want to be finished with your new custom website design anytime soon, we recommend you keep it simple.
By that, we mean you should stick to a 2-column layout with menus on the left, content on the right, header at the top. Bear in mind you’ll spend many hours implementing this simple layout, so you won’t want to plan for multiple layouts to fit different pages.
Implement your website design.
The most important advice, beyond telling you to read and follow the basic tutorials, is to make sure you learn to use the website development software’s template-making abilities.
This is a huge shortcut for you, because it means you can tweak only one copy of the menus and layouts, rather than tweaking every single page.
No matter how simple your layout, and how careful you are about getting it right the first time, you will find yourself making changes later. You don’t want to go back and change 10 or 50 or 100 copies of your website’s design. Learn to use the template system that comes with your web design software!
As you can see, we’ve barely scratched the surface here. Even boiling the topic down to the bare essentials and pitching it for absolute newbies, professional website design is no simple matter.
And, if you follow this guide, you may find you’ve spent two weeks learning new and interesting skills about building a website … but also learned that there’s no substitute for the expertise and design experience you could hire at reasonable prices.
5 Shades Media does professional website design, like the design you’re looking at right now, on our own website, every day. There’s simply no way for a beginner to build a website design that compares to what your competition will have on display.
Nevertheless, we hope this information was helpful!