The idea of “how to design a website” conjures up so many meanings. The reason behind why has to do with the ongoing evolution of website creation since its initial conception over twenty years ago. As technology has developed, so has web design.
Websites have grown throughout the Internet as personal and commercial needs and interests dictate. There are currently millions, perhaps billions, of websites in existence, and that number doesn’t include those websites that have been dismantled over the years.
In modern times, website creation is rarely done “from scratch.” New technology allows website builders a variety of pre-configured applications to facilitate the processes. Such programs as Photoshop and Dreamweaver are still in use but are no longer imperatives as they once were. Many new content management systems provide website builders the platform with all of its options, including HTML and CSS coding, to launch customized websites and blogs in a shorter period of time than what was once the case. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, are ideal because they have database-driven infrastructures and template-style work shells so website builders can create with ease. Every aspect in the process is user-friendly. The popularity of host services such as these is no surprise. The conveniences offered at no or low cost make website designs a dream come true.
This article is reserved for those who already have some idea of how to design a website. The following sections show would-be website designers the essential points in 2015.
1. Responsiveness and “Retina Ready”
In this day and age of the smart phone and other mobile devices, this point goes without saying. Many people access the Internet and do their online business while out and about. Anyone wanting to build a website and expecting a high rate of daily traffic should keep this in mind. This is especially true with businesses. Websites responsive to mobile devices endure a longer life due to a greater amount of exposure on a daily basis.
For those who don’t know, “responsiveness” refers to a website’s ability to adapt to any device on which it’s accessible. Websites configured to be responsive instantaneously determine any device’s measurements and resize themselves to accommodate. In order for this to happen, designers must set up their websites with this capability beforehand.
The term “retina ready” is important here. Anyone deciding on a theme must keep an eye open for this because it refers to a website’s capacity to display high-resolution images. Any designer who pre-configures a website to be responsive needs to ensure that visuals are clean and clear on all monitors, even those on tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices. If the visuals are unclear, the “responsive” capability won’t make any difference.
2. Social Sharing and Networking
Social networking has become quite prevalent throughout the Internet. In fact, there are several groups and websites dedicated to the activity. Some of the predominant ones are LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, the latter of which allows social sharing on many levels from the individual to business, personal to commercial. Most websites feature a series of social sharing icons on every single page to ensure theirs is a well-connected presence. In this way, social sharing is constant and effortless.
Platforms such as WordPress, Weebly and Wix offer options for Web designers to incorporate social sharing features if desired, so the process here is easy.
The key for social networking to work through a website, however, is for website owners to establish a presence on various social networks as well. Everyone, not just those operating businesses, should have a greater presence than merely a website. The greater number of profiles one has, the easier and more successful it is to network and share.
3. Strong, Solid Content
One thing that hasn’t changed since the inception of the website is the importance of content. After all, this is the core of the presence displayed and shared with the Internet community. Still, static content is fading into history if it hasn’t disappeared altogether. An online presence can’t grow and expand this way. This is why the constant shifting of content, both inflowing and out-flowing, has become the norm. Content must remain fresh and new to engage readers. This means social sharing becomes more active and SERP ranking inevitably increases, which, in turn, spurs ongoing readership growth.
What kind of content and how frequently should it rotate? That depends on the needs and preferences of website owners, some of whom add material every single day while others work by the week. Regardless, social sharing is instantaneous with reader subscriptions and mss tagging to websites. New posts, newsletters and other bodies of information disseminate as soon as they go online, so content is circulated rapidly and efficiently.
4. Images, Image and More Images!
Imagery adds color and life to any website, so it has become essential as well. In fact, a website without visuals of some sort is deemed “boring” and tends to shy readers away.
Those who want to design their own website have many options as far as imagery goes: thematic stills, slideshows, videos, or even a combination. The greater amount of visuals one has on a website the more engaging the presentation will be, although too much can flood out the website’s content. A balance is always a good idea.
Then there are the larger central photos. These visuals bring forth the necessary balance and attract the readers’ attention right away, considering the images used are appropriate. Web designers should put thought into deciding what to post, where, how and why. This will make a difference how the overall website is perceived and received.
The two keys to help with imagery selection and placement are the purpose and desired tone of the website. Is the site to sell fishing equipment? Is it to share information on a scholarly subject like archeology? Is it about book reviews? Knowing the intended use of the website and its necessary tone offers the right insight regarding its content in every form. Text and imagery should be in sync in some way. Web designers need to evaluate the relationship between the two to make a determination.
5. Blog Integration
Most websites today have a blog as part of their extended content. This inclusion allows website owners a chance to share personal views and experiences by simply opening the management shell and typing words into a field. WordPress works this way, as does Wix and a number of other platforms. The blog also allows regular exchange of content without constantly re-configuring the site to accommodate it.
Blog entries, too, ensure a high SERP. New and fresh content keeps the blog ranking high on any number of search lists, such as Google, so the blog gets around.
Web owners can compose their own blog entries, or, if they prefer or don’t have time, hire freelancers. The latter option will cut into the budget, but the blog content comes swiftly and offers a variety of writing styles that might appeal to a number of readers.
Whether one is experienced or a beginner at Web design, new technological innovations that emerge every year offer something useful and frequently important when it comes to knowing how to design a website. Fresh—and essential—insight is always available to anyone who needs and wants it. That’s a great thing!