Building a website from scratch can be a surprisingly simple task if you don’t need anything too complicated on those pages. However, this simplicity is exactly what has turned the current Web into such a mess, as some people tend to proceed blindly without considering some important points about the design of their sites. If you want to avoid that, there are some important points to consider before you even start learning.
1) Don’t Rely on Visual Editors for Too Long
Drag-and-drop editors can be very good for getting off the ground fast and learning the ropes, but they can also drag you down in the long run if you rely on them too much. As soon as possible, you should focus on learning proper HTML and CSS.
2) Join an online Community
Working in solitude can make things much more difficult for various reasons. Whether it’s an online forum or a real-world meetup group, getting involved in a community of Web designers and developers can have a huge positive impact on your productivity.
3) Don’t Stress Over Valid Code Too Much
Although “clean” code will boost your site speed, there’s a part of learning how to make a website that is all about discovering that the rules for a “valid” design aren’t set in stone and should not be followed religiously. See for yourself – check Google.com with W3C’s official validator and you’ll see a dozen errors in the mark-up.
5) Familiarize Yourself with Web Technology as a Whole
There are many things that go into making a website beyond the actual coding part. From hosting, to databases, content networks, security and more, you should always have something new that you’re looking forward to learning soon. The field is huge, and it keeps getting more and more developed on a practically daily basis, so it’s important to follow those trends with a close eye.
6) Inspiration Is Creative Copying
If you see a design you really like, there’s no shame in taking inspiration from it by outright copying some elements, as long as you add something of your own and don’t just use a simple copy. You’ll quickly come to find out that this is how most of Web design works in the first place.
7) Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
And on that note, don’t try to be creative for the sake of creativity. If there is an established way of achieving some result, there’s probably a good reason for that, and unless you can actually point out a problem with that method, you should stick to using it.
8) Develop a Collection of Building Blocks
As you’re learning to build sites and are going through multiple projects, you’ll probably find yourself doing some common things every time. The logical step here is to start collecting those snippets into a library that you can easily reference, so that you can jump straight into the action and work on new things when you’re building your next site.
9) Web Development, Yes or No?
It can be interesting to learn how PHP and other backend languages work, but it’s not for everyone. While you should at least give it a try, don’t force yourself to learn it if you don’t feel like it’s going to contribute much to your workflow. You can always pay a professional to get this part of your site done if you need to.
10) Have a Reliable Hosting Partner
Speaking of professionals, knowing who to count on when you need a good host for your site can go a really long way. The market for Web hosting is extremely crowded and many companies are competing for the attention of potential clients, which can make it somewhat difficult to know who to trust. And when you consider the huge impact this can have on your operations, it’s absolutely critical that you spend some time looking around.
These points should get you on the right track if you’re trying to learn Web design and have no clue what to do at first. There is much more to consider, but you should limit the amount of information you’re trying to take in at the same time in the beginning and take it slowly until you get comfortable enough.
- WordPress for Dummies – Build a Successful Website Guide.