Top 10 Website Design Tips For Beginners
Here is a great list to get you started with any website build for beginners. I thought about calling this the Dummies Guide for Website Design or the Idiots Guide, but I’m sure they are already taken and honestly I don’t think you’re that dumb! So we could call this the relatively intelligent guide for web designers. (If this is over your head, go read the dummies guide and come back…I’ll wait) I will share my screw ups and the evolution of my website http://www.DBL07.co
I know I’m not supposed to give away secrets, but if you have come across this info and it helps you get your business started then good. If I help you avoid some of the n00b mistakes I made and save some $$ then GREAT! Feel free to comment if you have your own tips you want to add.
10. Web Hosting
Shop around you can find some good deals, but this is one area I wouldn’t skimp on! I started out with Go Daddy, because their prices were cheap, and I grew to the place where I needed more power and speed so I moved most of my accounts to Media Temple. You can get more info to see if they are a fit for you here
9. Hosting with Templates
GoDaddy has a web template that I used their website builder for my 1st build of my website you can see what it looks like here at http://www.dbl07.us So if you want to pop out a website in a few hours this is a good options.
It’s pretty simple drag and drop and the price is good for starting out.
I’m not sure where to put this one, but Wix is actually pretty good. I’m sure there are some web developers that will turn their nose up at it, but this is the software I used on my 2nd build of my website and it was even simpler than the godaddy. You can have a good looking website up and running in an hour. They have a lot of good looking html5 templates and free mobile sites and lots of plugins. Here is my 2nd build of my website http://www.DBL07.us – my Hawaii Website Design focused website.
Looks pretty good right? Yeah, it’s not bad for a one day build, but the SEO sucks! (if you don’t know what SEO is it’s okay, I didn’t either when I got started, it’s just short for Search Engine Optimization. Check out my other blog post here.) So if you get a client who doesn’t care about SEO you can do a build for about $107 for web hosting with the free use of all their templates AND all their stock images, free domain name and Free DOMAIN + $125 Worth of AD VOUCHERS!! So you can get your google adwords and facebook ads going for free. They have a lot to offer and it is easy to build. So if you have a client who isn’t looking to be beyond page 6 of google search results then this is a good cheap fit for you. It’s a great way to get started with web design and look great + they have an e-commerce store, but I haven’t tried it out yet.
Is the latest power tool for developing websites that are functional and there is a ton of great info out there, youtube videos and forums, plugins for just about everything. I’ll try to do a list of plugins that I have found helpful later. Tyler does a great job helping n00bs like us get started, so go get your web hosting, then go to wordpress.org and download wordpress to get started. Setup your ipad or split screen and click along and by the end you will have a good feel for building in wordpress. Tyler is the man and does a great job!
How To Make a WordPress Website
7. WordPress Themes
WordPress is the latest tools for building so here are some great tools to show you how to build a professional website.
Templates are your new BFF But BEWARE, some templates are pretty and shiny, but the code is straight crap! Those are the things you don’t usually find out until after you buy the them and you try to use it and find there is no support or there are tons of issues with simple things. I don’t want to spend a lot of time trashing developers because I know they work hard on these themes, but if I’m paying $50 it better work and the code better work.
My first Theme purchase was Kallyas and it was awesome! WordPress Theme I loved the look and it was an intermediate build but again the SEO code sucked!! This was one of those things that I found out after I spent WEEKS building my 3rd version of my website and as I watched my Google Analytics drop I couldn’t figure out why. But the culprit was my Theme! I looked great but it’s one of those things you don’t find out until you buy it, go to support forum and realize they have made $$$ but don’t give support.
I’m not going to lie to you, having to bail and rebuild my website again really sucked, but if you don’t have a good theme that is built for SEO you’re not going to rank well for Google.
So for my 4th build of my website I switched the theme to U-Design and I love it! I jumped immediately 3 pages on search results just by changing my theme. So my content was good, but the theme was screwing everything up.
6. Make Your Own Themes with Artisteer
A friend of mine kept telling me about Artisteer, but I kept ignoring him. Until finally I got fed up with the selection of themes and got tired of paying for themes and wanted to just make my own so I took it for a test drive with a website I have for a book I wrote and they have a whole bunch of free themes, the catch is they have their link at the bottom of your pages. (not a bad trade off if you don’t care about that) Here is one of the templates I used for an e-book I wrote a few years ago about Hawaii http://www.kauaitips.com/
Studio Press Theme Packages
The Best Deal is to pay a one time fee to have access to all of them. When I first started out I couldn’t afford this, so I just bought one theme at a time here and there and pretty much spent about that much, so just get a good client and buy this and subsidize the cost in the build. They have a great selection of themes that you can give your clients a variety of looks and not have to worry about the SEO being jacked up!
StudioPress Pro Plus All-Theme Package
Just surf Google Images and steal any image you want and put it on your website. If you like lawyers and getting sued that is, if not you have to either pay for your images, make your own or search .gov archives for free images. Here are my favorites http://www.123rf.com/ is real affordable and it kept coming up when I was searching for stuff anyway. They have background images, headers and any image you want to go with your build. If you need video clips, then Video Blocks is awesome! Sign up for the free 7 day trial and then at the end, don’t join! wait for the email that comes when they beg you to come back for $89 for a year then go for it!! They have royalty free video, sound effects and their Adobe After Effects are awesome!!
I feel like I may have mentioned this one, but it’s so important to build your website with good content and that each page is optimized for search engines. There is a great podcast on itunes of a couple of guys out of Houston, TX that actually make the topic funny so go download all their podcast and study up on the dark art of SEO. http://ewebstyle.podomatic.com/ Listen Here to hear a shout out to DBL07
3. Build Links – Backlinks or Linkbacks
I’m not going to go into as much detail here as I would like, as it is too lengthy a topic for a subheading and deserves it’s own blog post. You want to build high quality links to your website so start nice and each with a PR9 (9 good -1 Bad) like by opening up a Google + account and put a link in your “about Profile” to your website. For an example go to my Google + page and look at my links and then go do that at your site. While your there give me +1 like and I’ll buy you a taco next time your in town 😉 https://plus.google.com/101083449709326524435/about
2. Don’t Copy Stuff From Other Websites!
Google is a freaking smart ROBOT! It knows when your are stealing stuff from other people. Don’t believe me? Then check out one of my favorite links and put your ripped off content in their Plagiarism checker and see how original your stuff is. Why does it matter?? Because Google will put you over it’s knee and spank your hinny and knock you down on page rank for being a dirty Hamburglar! This website has a bunch of free tools that I go to about every other day, so enjoy! http://smallseotools.com/ (it has a great checker for #3 too)
Yeah Data!! Let’s be honest Data just isn’t fun! or is it? Being able to see who searched for what and how they got to your website is actually pretty cool. I had analytics on one website and could see that people in Kenya Africa were surfing the web in a hut and came across my website http://www.onionringsstudios.com and my mind was blown! So sign up and start tracking your traffic and keywords and reach your target audience like a Pro!
Well my friend, you made it to the end of my Top 10 Website Design Tips For Beginners. I hope you are encouraged and smarter because of it! Leave a tip if you have one!
CEO & Founder
DBL07 Consulting & Website Design