Creating an outstanding website is never an easy task. In all honesty it can often take many months and sometimes even years for a new web designer to create such a thing. But even the most advanced web designer of all started at the same place. Once they were a newbie too. And only by learning what was involved and keeping up to date with changing technologies were they able to achieve their position.
In getting started we will look at all the components that make up a successful website. Not only one that looks great, but also operates even better. You see website design comprises of 2 exclusive major parts. The Visually part that a user sees when they land on your website itself, and all the other stuff that operates behind the scenes.
Visual Web Design
A websites layout is one the first things people think about when we talk about web design, and rightfully so. A good layout can be the difference between someone landing on your page and staying around a while, or arriving and instantly leaving.
An overcrowded layout is often a reason for a high bounce rate which causes people to jump off a website suddenly. Good spacing between sections, headings, paragraphs and images allow the user to visually scan the site quickly and identity aht is where.
Fonts / Typography
There are countless font choices that are broken down into sans and serif. Serif fonts, while appearing more decorative in design are considerably easier to read. This is the fonts you will most commonly find in newspapers and books. However sans text font seems to be the font of choice when it comes to websites. I personally think it holds a clearer typeface that looks more modern and less script-like.
Either way once you decide on choosing either sans or serif there are countless of styles for each of these font families. To help your decide, consider the type of message of your website. Is is professional, comical, entertaining, etc. Even at first glance a font can set the mood of a website with it's styling, so match well to achieve a smooth flowing web design to complement the rest of your website's design components.
Images & Video
If an image tells a thousand words, how many words does a video tell?
The use of images and videos is a must in web design and creating where images or videos may appear on your site pages helps a lot in determining your site layout. As long as you maintain adequate spacing and ensure the images / videos suit the content this will help immensely.
Behind The Scenes Web Design
A website's software is not something that the user may ever know about, unless it is spoken about on the website itself. But the software is essentially the nuts and bolts of the website itself. It is the structure that produces the code that makes the website look the way it does.
Over the years there have been many website software options and the ones that continually stay at the top of the list are Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal. Sure there are literally countless other options too but these content management systems have plenty of options and are frequently updated. Collectively they power a huge percentage of all of the worlds websites.
The software of a website includes the CMS, the theme and plugins or extensions.
Once you have all the software chosen for your website you need to host it somewhere. There are thousands of website hosts around the world to choose from. But be weary of the cheaper or "free" options. In this industry it is normally the case of "you get what you pay for". Sure I have found some cheaper hosting providers that do an ok job, but I have lost count of how many times a low cost hosting provider "lost" my website due to an error on their server. Recovery? Well if you have backups then you can recover quickly, otherwise start building from scratch! Yikes..
While website speed is not something that can be chosen the same way as the software or hosting provider, you can take different steps to speed up your website. Funnily enough choosing a website software that is built for speed and a fast web host make a considerable difference in helping your site to run faster, and often these options cost more. You can also look into Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to speed up your site. This option essentially holds copies of your website at different servers across the world so you are not relying only on your hosting server to fetch your website from. Again going down this path can be expensive as it is charged on a monthly bases, however if your website generates a lot of traffic it may be worth the investment.
Finally we will take a look at search engine optimisation. This is the behind the scenes work that gets a website ranking high in Google and the other search engines. SEO is responsible for getting more visibility for your website so that it can be found by new customers. Again this is another investment that does not necessarily change the Visual aspects of web design, although onsite-SEO does, but doing the offsite-SEO is vital to generating more visitors to your website.
Well that about wraps it up for the basic overview of the components that are involved in web design. Only by taking your time with all of these aspects and allocating the time and resources necessary for each can you truly create an outstanding website.