The nature of web design has changed greatly over time. Several years ago, we looked at this as something primarily reserved for professionals and established companies. Only those with computer science backgrounds could effectively design sites, and only real companies could afford to support anything more sophisticated than a casual blog. But these are no longer the realities. Web design has become far simpler and more accessible, and as a result most anyone can build a site nowadays.
This is at least partially responsible for the boom in personal businesses and online side occupations we seem to be seeing this decade. You may want to run a blog about a topic you enjoy; you may be hoping to set up a private online store; or you may be in charge of putting together a platform for a larger business. Whatever the case, you can now look at web design as a manageable hurdle, rather than an insurmountable one.
The question is no longer whether or not you can get a website set up. Rather, it’s how to come up with an ideal site that meets your standards for visual and functional quality. With more and more people designing sites of late, it’s truer than ever before that a better design can make you more competitive.
The first step to take as you begin to consider your own design is to look for inspiration elsewhere. That doesn’t mean you have to find a template or a site that you want to directly imitate. But there are innumerable web platforms out there, and they can all give you ideas about what you do or do not like in design. You might consider browsing through some of the recent Webby Award winners, which include categories for best visual design and some similar distinctions. These are the sites that are recognized specifically for accomplishing what most every site owner or manager wants to do.
Once you’ve gathered some inspiration and figured out what you might want your site to look like (and how you want it to function), you might consider at least looking into professional design services. There’s a general feeling today that it’s become easy to build one’s own site, and that’s true to some degree. Computer science knowledge and coding ability is no longer necessary if you want to put together a basic online platform. However, just as DIY web design has gotten more sophisticated, the capabilities of professionals have expanded and improved as well. Your best option is probably to work hand-in-hand with an experienced professional, so that you can still customize your own site, but do it with a pro touch.
You should also at least browse through some options that allow you to build your own site as well, however, Some take to these platforms more quickly than others, and to be clear there’s definitely some degree of computer understanding and design skill needed to do a good job. But it’s still worth exploring these tools, so that you can make a clear determination as to which method suits you best. You may still find that you’d like to rely on professional services, but it’s best to make that decision after you’ve at least dabbled in DIY options.
The specifics of design will naturally depend on the nature of your site and what you hope to accomplish with it. But as a final, general point, you should also be sure to consider how your design works from a mobile perspective. Usually, you can build in some kind of mobile compatibility to your site so that it reads and interacts smoothly when being viewed on a phone or tablet. And if you’re running a business or hoping to profit from your site, you may also want to look into what it would take to build an accompanying app. These would have sounded like “extras” or special considerations just a few years ago. Now, however, the mobile side of your site is every bit as important as how it works in a browser.
These are the overarching steps you should take en route to building your ideal website. Inspiration, careful consideration of design options, and a thorough approach are all general ideas, but they also form the foundation for a terrific end result.