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How to Design & Build Your Website

Jul 02, 2020 • 5 Min Read
Web Design

There are quick ways to build a website. There are painstakingly long ways to design a website. As a designer that’s been around the block a few times, I’ve seen it all. Countless headbanging on the table, using templates that don’t fit the brand and just using an outright terrible tool to build and design. I’m here to provide some guidance to the decisions you make while designing and building. Trust me, it isn’t easy to build and design a website by yourself, but with the right tools and patience, you’ll have your functioning website that does what you want it to do.

Preface

Your web design project should be simple, intuitive, and easy to use. I base my design on Dieter Rams 10 Principles of Good Design.

Good design is innovative

Good design makes a product useful

Good design is aesthetic

Good design makes a product understandable

Good design is unobtrusive

Good design is honest

Good design is long-lasting

Good design is thorough down to the last detail

Good design is environmentally friendly

Good design involves as little design as possible


Here are the design principles in detail: https://www.vitsoe.com/us/about/good-design

If you follow these guidelines while you design your site, you’ll have something you won’t have to change later.


The ways to build your website

So there are TONS of ways to get your website out there. Each way depends on a tradeoff. Work vs Design Quality. Most of the time, the quality of the design depends on how much work you would like to put into it. For example, If you chose to use a random website template, chances are you’re customizing it a little to fit your brand. Most of the work is done, but there’s a slight tradeoff. If the template doesn’t fit your brand, you will find yourself with a poorly designed website. Taking the time to do some research on your brand is key. This will help you pick the right theme for your website. There are more ways to build your website as well. Let’s get into those

Using a website Builder

The most common way for new and starting businesses to get their website out there is a DIY method of using a website builder. Most of these builders come with templates. Some are super easy to use! Some are kinda intimidating but offer amazing design options. The ones I recommend for people who are just starting are Wix (Easy), Elementor (Medium), and Webflow (Hard).


Wix

Wix is a great place to get your website up and running quickly and easily. It has a ton of customization features and e-commerce built right in. You can design from scratch or pick a template. The best part about it is that it’s geared to the DIY crowd and they make it easy to get things right the way you want it.


Elementor

Elementor is a bit intermediate. It supercharges WordPress and makes using templates and any designs easy to use. The only thing that I didn’t like about this is that it’s built on WordPress (I particularly don’t like WordPress). There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get it, you’ll have a beautifully designed website. 


Webflow

Webflow is the epitome of DIY websites. They give you complete freedom of building your website the way you want it. They have templates that are beautifully designed as well. If you’re willing to get your hands dirty to learn a whole new way of building a website, This option is for you. 


Now let's get into actually building with these. Each design with these companies is unique. Some people take time (and money) to build you guys the best templates to fit your brand. Now you just have to choose one! This is the hardest part, but with the right choice, be able to convey your message and convert your clients/customers easily. Here are some tips to pick a good template.


  1. Do your brand research
    To pick a great template, you’ll need to know what you want to do online. That could be selling products, scheduling clients, selling tickets, etc. 

  2. Make sure the elements you want to customize are customizable. 
    Have you ever got a theme and realized the one thing you wanted to change was the one thing you couldn’t do yourself? That feeling sucks. So make sure to look at the theme’s documentation before you download or purchase

  3. Brainstorm ideas on layouts.
    Figure out your layout structures. If you need to, draw out a basic layout on a piece of paper. Something like this

  4. Look at inspiration
    Go online and do a google search of website layouts in your industry. Use Pinterest to search for ideas on what you want the website to look like. There is a ton of inspiration out there. You just have to look!

  5. Create content!
    Creating content for your website is single-handedly the hardest thing you can do. Trying to articulate yourself isn’t easy. Take the time out to put everything you do out on the table. Then slowly piece the content together in a way that makes sense for each page.



Hiring a Designer

If it’s in your wheelhouse, I suggest hiring a designer to do the work for you. They already know how to design the website, and some know-how to build/develop it as well. Hiring them and using their expertise to build you something timeless is a wise decision. You just have to make sure you pick a designer that works for you. 


What I suggest is to find a designer that builds sites in the niche that you are in. If you have to interview people, do just that. If you feel bad vibes from a designer, go with the gut and don’t hire that guy. The best bet is to do some research on Google to find a designer or agency. Choose carefully though. Find a designer that is right for you.


Finding out your designer’s process is a great way to figure out if they are a good fit for you. Like I said before, Setting up meetings is essential to figuring out if they fit your brand and can design for your brand as well.

I hope this information helped you. If you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out here: https://devingreen.me/contact-me 

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