How to design a website – Forbes Advisor

While you can customize your website to suit your unique needs or style, there are specific actions that anyone wanting to design a website should take. Follow carefully to know how to design a website, from defining the purpose of your website, choosing a website design platform, designing the architecture, filling in the necessary content and launching your website.

1. Define the purpose of the site

To design a website that gives the expected results, you will have to define what you want from it. Think about why you are designing the website: who your audience is and what you are targeting. Are you trying to get downloads, sales, bookings, appointments, engagements or even a larger audience?
It is essential that you fully understand the purpose of the intended website. Knowing this will help you adopt the right content strategy and guide you in choosing the right platform, theme and page architecture.

2. Choose your platform

Once you’ve noted down why you’re building a website, you can check out website builders. These do-it-yourself (DIY) tools will help you create a website yourself, even if you don’t know a single line of code. And there are those designed for specific purposes, like e-commerce, blogging, and portfolios.

Website builders include customizable templates for adding your text and images, and many also take care of domain registration and hosting. But you will have to use the drag and drop interface to design each website page yourself. So choose the one that suits the purpose of your site.

3. Bring your brand elements together

Elements are details like colors, fonts, and images that bring your website together. So, when designing your site, consider your brand identity.

Start with the color scheme, working with a primary color and one or two complementary colors. Then choose a text style that matches your brand. For example, serif symbolizes formality and authority, sans serif, modernism and writing, creativity.

Also add images to capture users’ attention, but make sure they are relevant and of high quality so that they can make a good impression on users.

4. Select a template or theme

Next, choose a theme or template, which matches your site layout, i.e. how images, text, and buttons appear on your site. Themes are pre-designed layouts to help you design your site, even as a beginner.

Most platforms come with a range of templates divided into categories, and each category has built-in features relevant to a specific industry. So preview them to choose the most relevant one for your site.

Note that if you choose to build your website with WordPress, you will need to obtain web hosting from a third-party hosting provider, such as Bluehost or Hostinger, and install WordPress. With this, you will be able to access your WordPress admin dashboard, install a theme, and import demo content for premium themes.

5. Map your site

To aid in design, visualize which pages will appear on your site and how they will relate to each other. For example, knowing how many pages will be on your website, their content, and the general layout means you will have a guide to work with when you start designing each part.

6. Design each element of the site

With your template or theme and your website card, the next step is to start designing each element of the site, such as your menu (or site navigation), header and footer, search bar and any additional items you want. site to have. Using elements like the following will structure your website, making it easier to navigate.

  • Menu: This element displays the articles featured on your website. Make sure it is accessible on all pages and only displays a few items. You don’t want to group visitor screens.
  • Header and footer: These elements improve user engagement. The header should include features like the navigation menu and your logo, which you want visitors to find quickly. A footer should offer more information, such as contact details and terms of use.
  • Search bar: Use a magnifying glass or a box, but place it prominently on each page. The upper left or upper right corner is often best.

7. Personalize your web pages

Your content depends on the purpose of your site, so you can modify it according to your needs. However, every website should have the following web pages.

  • Home page : Every visitor lands here, so it’s a good place to summarize your website. Include your logo, your company name, what readers should expect from you, and a navigation menu that makes it easy to navigate your site. Make sure this page is organized and eye-catching.
  • Product or service page: This page should tell visitors what you are offering them and allow them to make a purchase. For an e-commerce site, create a page for displaying the catalog and another to present each item in detail.
  • About the page: This page should introduce you to visitors, tell your story, communicate your values ​​and highlight what differentiates you from other brands.
  • Blog: If you intend to use blogging as a content marketing strategy, you should create this page, which will display excerpts from published blog posts. Users can then click on the one that interests them.
  • Contact page: Let website visitors know how they can reach you. This can be done through phone calls, emails or social media platforms. Additionally, you can include your physical address, live chat widget, and contact form.

Other pages you can add:

  • Custom 404 page: When visitors land on a page that doesn’t exist on your website, you should direct them to a page displaying “Error 404”. You can further customize yours to include your logo, a link to your homepage, or a light message: “Congratulations! You have found our error page!
  • FAQs: This page is dedicated to answering common questions that may be on the minds of visitors. This way, website visitors won’t need to contact you.
  • Testimonials: Here’s your chance to blow your trumpet. Include reviews from past clients about how you’ve helped them. Also display trustmarks that have given you awards or written about you.

8. Test and launch your website

Before your site goes live, test load time, content readability, links and mobile responsiveness, contact form, and anything else that may affect the user experience. Ask family members and coworkers to give feedback on your website design. If there are no issues, go ahead and publish your site.

Also, keep updating your website based on its performance, trends, and ongoing business operations.

9. Optimize your content

After designing and launching your website, you should plan to optimize your site for a smooth user experience. Here’s what you can do.

  • Mobile responsiveness: Most website templates are now mobile-friendly: your content is reformatted to fit different screen sizes. However, for more security, consider activating a mobile application. You can test your website on browsers like Safari or even Google Chrome on iPhones and Android phones.
  • Internet connection: Internal links allow users and search engines to see you as an authority in your industry. They also keep people on your site, so use hyperlinks to direct users to other relevant web pages.
  • Media optimization: To avoid poor rankings, higher bounce rates, lower clicks, and longer load times, work on your media files. Make sure they aren’t too big and that you don’t have too many photos or videos on each page. Also, only feature relevant images and videos.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is about tweaking content such as images and texts to increase the number of people on your website. Examples of such optimization actions are adding alt texts to images and using readable URLs.

Best tools to design a website

To find and customize the texts, shapes, colors and images needed to design the sections and pages of your website, you will need certain applications and tools. With these tools, you can create the best designs without having to start from scratch.

  • Website builders: You’ll need a website builder, such as Squarespace or Wix, with the features required to design the website you love.
  • Design tools: A design tool such as Cloth is good for graphic design and photo editing. Expert Marketplaces: Marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork host several expert web designers who can help you with design tasks.
  • Logo designers: This tool is necessary if you haven’t designed your company logo yet and want to do it alongside your website design process. Examples are Logo maker and Adobe Express Logo Maker.
  • Photo apps: Use photo apps like Stockphoto.com and Unsplash to find visually appealing images to accompany your texts.

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