Websites / How to start out designing websites

How to start out designing websites

Andy Thorne

Not all the one billion websites in existence were created by established agencies and consummate professionals! In fact, there are some highly impressive sites crafted by digital marketing ‘newbies’ and fledgeling freelancers. Or even by business start-ups who went the ‘DIY’ route!

The team at Factory Pattern love sharing our passion and insights for all things digital, and we’re not precious about helping others to design websites.

(We’re also happy to evaluate your self-build, and to suggest low-cost improvements.)

Here are our five tips on starting website design!

1.Research: think beyond what you’re selling

People designing a website

Browse through lots of different website creation guides and complete plenty of reading to gather a large amount of knowledge.

You must do copious amounts of planning and preparation, to start building attractive, hardworking websites. This should include what competitors are doing (well or badly), and the common features of the website you feel tick all the right boxes. (You can use your own creativity but source ideas online too.)

Browse through lots of different website creation guides, making notes of best practice. If possible, ask for advice or even secure a mentor, from within an organisation that’s got an enviable track record.

At the very least, research how to create HTML ( hypertext mark-up language), which is the format for all things you use to populate a website.

2.Find best fit software

Wordpress website on a laptop

WordPress creates bespoke websites tailored to each individual website design.

An advisor or mentor could help you to select and use the best software for website design; the option that matches your business needs but also your abilities.

There are lots of amazing website design tools available (see our previous blog). Sift through these to find your favoured design platform and the add-ons that are right for your aims and audience.

(We personally think WordPress is the best bespoke website design option.)

3.Frame your website costing structure

Money falling out of a jar

Always cost up all the elements you will need to set up and run your website.

Before you get deeply into creating ‘kick-ass’ website designs, you need to think through pricing. If this is a DIY website or your first venture into freelancing, costing things out can be particularly crucial.

On top of the software licence, you will need to price up plugins, domain registration, domain hosting and the vital security measure of an SSL Certificate. Also, what are you charging for your time?

4.Create an SEO and UX strategy

Mapping out user experience with string

Fresh, impactful Content and an agile website are also important to User Experience (UX).

Search Engine Optimisation is a science, and an ever-changing one! It can’t be left to chance or become an ‘afterthought’ when your website design is in prototype, or worse still live!

Give careful thought to the best keywords and phrases to build into your website layout, and strong compelling content you can use. Powerful SEO also hinges on other factors, like making sure your website design is quick to load and easy to navigate around, as well as being optimised for multiple devices and browsers.

Fresh, impactful Content and an agile website are also important to User Experience (UX).

Build analytics possibilities into your design, to measure website visitor behaviour, so you can constantly reevaluate how well the site performs. This will help you keep pace with the constant changes to SEO perimeters, and also to measure and improve UX.

5.Play with Code

coding on a laptop screen

There are many web development communities you can get involved with to help boost your skills.

Getting familiar with website development code can begin by looking more closely at some of the software design solutions. Then, you could use online training courses to develop coding abilities.

Codeacademy is a great website for learning different website development languages (codes) too. We’ve mentioned HTML (the basics), but you might want to play around with Java, Python, SQL and Ruby for example.

Learning about coding is fascinating (if you’re technically-minded). Online web developer communities are full of friendly folk who are happy to share coding tips!

Staying up to date on website design

Our five tips to starting out in website design are the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

Alternatively, you can get a handle on how to create the best website, then brief Factory Pattern to do the leg work! Especially if you struggle to keep up to date on the fast-changing world of web design and build.