Web design used to be a laborious process that started on paper and had to be very precise. Everything had to be measured down to the pixel, which made it difficult to anticipate screen sizes, but that wasn’t as much of an issue until recently. If you want to create a business website today, you need to create something flexible and responsive that will recognize devices and alter to fit the proper dimensions you require.
Fortunately, much of this process is simplified once you have ownership over your domain. Without ownership, you miss out on customization that is much easier than you might think.
Host Your Own Site
The first step is hosting for your domains. You can save money if you opt for a shared web hosting service, and you can usually open more than one domain or maintain multiple email accounts. This is ideal for home businesses that have a small amount of employees.
Hosting accounts can be used for storage too, depending on the kind of disk space your account has. Unlimited is best, if you can find it, as you can store assets like video or audio on your site for hosting. Bandwidth is another concern, because you want to make sure that users will be able to access your site.
Platform Makes a Difference
Before you build your site, you need to decide whether you want HTML/CSS handcoding or a WordPress or Joomla style platform. Hand coding can look extremely professional, but it carries a heavy cost. A template will be adequate for most smaller businesses, which makes WordPress or Joomla the best way to go. Either platform offers professional templates that are easy to upload, with plenty of options on the backend to customize whatever you need.
Absolute beginners may find WordPress to be a great platform. It’s widely used, has plenty of very useful plugins and can use a variety of templates (WordPress calls them “themes”) to change the look and feel of the website.
Find a Premium Template You Like
Before you spend any money, try to find a premium template you like and work backwards. Premium templates are a good place to start because they exhibit the most popular designs. Look for key concepts like functionality, but also look for assets on the page. Assets, like images used for background elements, slow down load time. If the page loads quickly, it’s likely they are light on assets. That means your content will get served to the customer faster.
Code snippets allow you to add functionality that otherwise would be difficult to code from scratch. You’ll run into snippets frequently when you try to work on social media, because you’ll need to copy some code into your template to add elements like the Facebook Like box. WordPress uses a text widget, which you can find in the “Widgets” page of your WordPress admin. Drag the text widget to the area of the site you want to place it, paste the code and the element is live the moment you save the snippet.
WordPress is free but hosting and templates will usually cost money to use. The costs you’re facing for these services are typically far less than what you’d pay a designer, and you won’t need one anyway. Designers work on user interface. They study a user base, figure out what it wants and then they build a better mouse trap. In order to have a better mouse trap, you need to build the first one.