How to Designing Websites For Free-2022
Your own website seems pretty daunting, doesn’t it? Navigating all the right tools and being a whizz with layout and positioning. You want the good news? That’s total garbage.
In fact, you don’t need to be a genius at all in order to get around designing a website, and that’s exactly what we’re going to help you out with in this easy-to-follow guide. Web design is all about creative freedom, so let’s take you through:
- Defining your site’s purpose and strategy
- Researching the latest web design trends
- Choosing your platform
- Deciding on your branding
- Adding in and optimizing content
- Publishing your site
- Analyzing and improving along the way
- So let’s get those creative juices flowing!
Want to know how to build a website?
This guide focuses on how to design a website. If you want to know how to build a website, head over to our step-by-step manual.
It sounds like such a simple point to make, but before you jump head-first into designing your website, you first need to be clear on its purpose.
Beyond simply knowing your industry and defining a content strategy, you need to think about what your USP (unique selling point) is, and how you want to come across.
People aren’t stupid. If you put yourself out there just to make a profit or raise your own profile, people will see through it. Your website’s design is directly linked to your brand, and it needs to come across as authentic and engaging.
Web design evolves quickly, but there are some more prevalent trends you can learn from. At this point, it’s important to note that just because a web trend is current, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for you.
48% of people cite design as the most important factor of a website, so it’s important to take your time and look at what competitors are doing. Each sector will have different styles, so it’s vital you know whether you want to fit into your industry, or disrupt it.
The first thing that springs to mind when you think of quality web design is a professional agency, right? And while top companies largely do a great job, they can be eye-wateringly expensive.
Luckily, there is another way: website builders and ecommerce platforms. These are DIY online tools that allow you to create and design your own website – without needing to know a single line of code!
Naturally, there are tons of options out there – of varying quality – but we’ve put in the legwork and researched the best on the market. Through a combination of expert research and thorough testing, we can now reveal the best options for designing your very own site.
What about WordPress?
WordPress.org is a self-hosted, open-source CMS (content management system) – but all you really need to know is that it’s the most popular platform for designing a website.
WordPress gives you total control over the look and feel of your website, and is technically free to use. We say this because, in order to get your website live, you’ll actually need to pay for web hosting, security, a domain name, and any additional plugins or themes you need.
The biggest issue with WordPress, though, is that it’s not really suitable for the average Joe. Unless you’re comfortable with code – or have the budget to hire a professional developer – WordPress will prove near-impossible to use.
For this reason, we’d recommend that people who are building their own site stick to website builders and ecommerce platforms.
Designing Websites: Website Builders
Unless you’re looking to sell online, website builders are the most effective way for non-tech whizzes to create their own website. If an online store is what you’re after, skip to our ecommerce platforms section.
Now you’re clear on your site’s purpose, clued up on the latest web design trends, and have a platform in mind, you should have a much better idea of what you need from a template.
A template, sometimes referred to as a theme, is the layout of your site. Think of a template like the structure of your house – it forms its basic appearance, before you fill it with all your belongings.
Most platforms will offer you a range of templates to choose from, which come pre-filled with example content.
Templates are usually divided into industry categories, making it super simple to sift through them and find ones that are relevant to you. Each category will have templates with built-in features that are relevant to that industry, saving you the time and effort of adding them in later.
The time has come to start designing your website! Now, let’s put what we’ve learned into practice.
When designing your site, you should think about how everything you do relates to your overall brand. Everything from the color scheme to font style and imagery play a part in telling your brand’s story. It’s important they’re all sending the same message.
So, now you know what you want to add to your website, there are two things you need to think about: positioning and optimization.
Positioning refers to where your content sits on each page, and how it’s laid out. Optimization, meanwhile, is the process of tweaking content to help it rank higher on search engines, such as Google or Bing.
At this point, let’s have a quick recap of what you should have done by now:
- Established your website’s purpose
- Researched the latest web design trends and done some competitor analysis
- Settled on a platform and theme to build your website with
- Decided on your branding (color scheme, font style etc.)
- Created your website and optimized its content
Now, it’s time to check everything works before you go live!
Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of a live website. You can kick back and relax now, right? Well, not quite.
It’s important to keep track of how your website is performing. Without meaning to sound like a pushy personal trainer, you have to keep working and improving!
Most platforms have their own built-in analytics, or at least have an app you can install. Alternatively, you can connect your site to Google Analytics, so you can track things like:
- How many page views you’re getting
- The amount of time users are spending on each page
- What your bounce rate is
- Conversion rate (for ecommerce)
These stats, known as behavioral metrics, help give you an idea of which web pages need some attention. They also help you spot where you need to improve your SEO.