Meta Architecture – How to Design a Website: Step by Step
Expert Tips for Designing a Website
Great web design begins with planning and creating a brand-aligned strategy. Get the solid foundation sorted and your new architectural coding will stand up against the most volatile, stormy web weather with strength and grace.
Know your stuff
Time spent researching competitors and general interest sites are time well spent. It will show you what works and what doesn’t. You are both customer and business in life, so maximize these positions to your advantage.
Now is the time to consider how you want the final product to perform. Do you want or need a fully bespoke system or will an ‘out-of-the-box’ product work? A ready-made Content Management System (CMS) may be perfectly suited for you.
However, if you want flexibility and freedom in your web design, then prepare to get down to the nitty-gritty of design and coding. When designing the site, remember to consider mobile, desktop, and potential eCommerce users.
Outline and Frame It
Line drawing outlines are what you need here. Basically, it a list of ideas for the site, broken into chunks and moved into a layout format. Know what you want on the site and what type of content needs to go on each page. Do you need a video? Or animation? Which page is the blog? Draw simple sitemap layouts for each page including how they connect through site navigation.
Look at the broad picture and create a clean, clear, mockup. Your wireframe might look plain but the clarity of purpose, clean lines, and the decisive placement of elements will ensure a solid end product.
Do the Tech Thing
HTML. CSS. HyperText Markup Language and Cascading Style Sheets will give you more control over what you can do yourself. If you are new to the world of coding, prepare for a rapid learning curve. You will need more than one ‘language’ to achieve the different elements and actions you want on the site.
It is entirely possible to write the code for your website design with little or no experience. However, to design a website will involve a ton of patience, a willingness to dive into the unknown armed with a positive attitude, a good degree of discipline, and a lot of time. So get your ‘how-to’ game face on. You got this!
Here is the fun part – the color, the layout, the style. All of these aspects wrap around the skeleton of your wireframe and give it depth and life. Now the focus is detail-driven. Style tiles or style guides are the way to ensure that the perfect branding style and tone are achieved with a conscious choice of mood, feeling, and functionality. Carry this across all of the strategies used, creating a seamless brand image.
This step in the process has three stages – the creation of the prototype from the wireframe, the coding, and the design; the process of testing the web design; and finally, fine-tuning individual elements.
This is the time to pull everything together and perform rigorous platform testing. Does the site fulfill its purpose? Are there any aspects missing? Does everything link as you want it to? Now is a great time to get unbiased, trusted eyes on the work to see if there are any issues that might have escaped you. Now is the time to check that navigation of the site is easy and intuitive.
Develop the Site
Getting the website domain name and hosting service might seem like a simple task but put in the time to research your options. Finding a provider that offers what you need is essential to the ongoing success of the site.
Promote the Site
Driving traffic to your new site is the objective now. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and site linking with others is the fastest way to get your site noticed. Good quality, relevant content is a ‘must’ to keep your site current and appearing in online searches.
Email newsletter, banner ads on aligned sites are both solid options to promote your site. Finally, don’t forget the old school methods of word-of-mouth and print promotion. Depending on your niche and locality, these may exert a surprising amount of power. All options are possible and when done with flair and style consistency, offer the opportunity to market your brand.
Finally, come to terms with the fact that the web design process is never finished. That stunning piece of coded architecture will only retain its fresh, glowing complexion for a while.
Keeping up to date and fresh is essential for both customer engagement as well as search engine optimization. This can seem daunting; however, a blog or dedicated news page can keep the site’s finger on its niche pulse. Engage with the market’s culture through a flow of relevant content and position the site, centrally, in its field.
Congratulations – You must be so proud!
Learning how to design a website is a massive achievement and feeling proud is entirely justified. In order to maintain the momentum, keep an ongoing list of thoughts and possible directions for future work. Don’t be afraid to express new ideas and go down blind alleys. These forays into the unknown may develop into something special and will teach you something, even if they turn out to be dead ends.
Most importantly, enjoy the process and have fun with it. This will shine through your work, making a positive impact on the person you ultimately want to impress, your customer.
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