Design can make or break a website. But too many people assume web design is a complex, monumental task. In truth, even those who know next to nothing about coding or web development can excel in web design. And because getting started is often the hardest part, we’ve put together a guide to make it super easy to get started.
Create A Website
Before you can begin focusing on web design, you will need a website. Even if you are hoping to learn web design skills to become a professional designer, you will want your own website to show off your skills and get your name out there.
There are several web hosts that make it easy to build a website from scratch. Bluehost is one of the most reputable web hosting providers in the industry, with an incredibly low monthly price. Plus, with coupons for Bluehost shared hosting, you can get a cheaper deal when you sign up.
With Bluehost or a similar web hosting provider, you create a simple website. To get started, a WordPress site is likely your best option. You can then use your personal website to practice design skills as you learn them, and then ultimately use the site to display your skills as you grow your business.
Necessary Web Design Skills
To succeed as a professional web designer, there are basic skills you will need to learn. From specific technical skills to soft skills every professional should learn, find out which skills you should study, and which ones you already possess.
It seems obvious to say you should know about visual design if you want to be a professional web designer. But there is a lot more to visual design than you may realize. For web design, visual design refers to anything related to the look and feel of the website — everything from typography to color theory.
Visual design is at the core of web design. Every skill and technique you learn about web design correlates to the overall visual design.
User experience, commonly known in the industry as UX, is all about how people feel when they visit your website. Professional web designers should consider user experience when making any design decisions.
To get a thorough grasp of user experience, you will need to research the people who are visiting your site. What kind of experience do you want them to have? How are you hoping they will navigate your site? What kind of message are you trying to convey with your content? What are users typically looking for when they come to your site?
You will want to consider all these components when creating the ultimate user experience.
We will go more into detail about the software you will need as a web designer, but it’s worth noting that like with any profession, there are specific tools that will make your job easier and your final product better. You will want to invest in high-quality software if you are going to design a high-quality website.
Not every web designer needs to understand HTML and coding to be successful. But it’s a skill that certainly comes in handy. If you can do all the coding for your website yourself, you won’t have to rely on others to do it for you. Plus, you can use HTML and coding to build a website and design it exactly the way you want, without having to worry about properly conveying your ideas to someone else.
Similar to HTML, CSS is the code that your browser uses to arrange HTML for your web page. CSS allows you to select colors, fonts, backgrounds, and more. For a visually stunning website, CSS is a great skill to utilize.
For those who are less familiar with HTML and CSS, there are numerous online tutorials and seminars available to teach you the basics.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is at the forefront of digital marketing. Professional web designers benefit from at least knowing the basics of SEO, so you can integrate SEO techniques into your website design. Professional web designers should know how to create a website that is not only user-friendly but friendly for search engines as well. A website should be optimized so that it is as valuable as possible, that way you increase the site’s search engine ranking.
Essentially, you want to design a website that will be found in a Google search, or else all your hard work will practically go unnoticed.
As a professional web designer, communication is a vital skill. When designing a website for someone, it’s important to be able to effectively communicate with them, so you can translate their desires into a great final product. Because many customers don’t always know exactly what they want, it helps to have the communication skills to get a better idea of their ultimate goal.
Main Elements of Web Design
There are five main elements of web design to learn and understand:
In web design, layout refers to how text and images are arranged on a site. A good layout enhances the overall aesthetic of the site and makes the page easy to navigate. Remember to consider user experience when drafting your site’s layout. How you design the layout of your site determines how users will navigate it. Avoid making it too cluttered or confusing and stick to a more simple, natural-flowing layout for the best results.
Color is exactly what it sounds like: the colors used to achieve the desired aesthetic of the site. As simple as it sounds, the colors used are a major component of overall web design. Using the wrong colors can ruin a user’s experience and fail to portray the site’s message.
In most cases, when it comes to color, simple is always better. While bold colors may grab the attention of users, avoid creating a site that is flashy and distracting. Stick with colors that make sense for the site and create a professional aesthetic.
Images effectively grab people’s attention. Not only are they necessary for professional web design, but they also make a more significant impression than text by itself. However, graphics should be used strategically for effective web design. Overcrowding a site with images can lead to slower load times or distract the user from the rest of the content you are trying to share.
Be selective with graphics and make sure they send the right message. They should add to the overall design, not serve as a distraction.
If you have ever visited a website and found that the content was practically illegible because the font was so hard to read? Then you know first-hand how important it is to use the right font. The appropriate font is essential for professional web design.
Content is the major part of web design and conveys the main message. Not only is it essential to properly display your content, but you want to make sure the content you are sharing is useful.
Web Design Tools
To achieve the best results, there are certain web design tools that professionals swear by. Consider using the following web design tools to your advantage.
Photoshop is arguably the most useful web design tool for professional web designers. To create a stunning, visual layout, you will want to learn the ins and outs of Photoshop.
With Photoshop, you can create and enhance images, 3D artwork, and illustrations. You can also use Photoshop to design a website or mobile app or to edit a video. Just about anything you could want to use as part of your website design can be created or improved with Photoshop.
Dreamweaver is another must-have for professional web designers. With this program, you can create a dynamic website by focusing on everything from design to coding. Whether you are a beginner or an amateur web designer, Dreamweaver has just about everything you need to design the ultimate website.
Update & Improve as Needed
As with any kind of design, there are trends. And as we all know, trends come and go. What is popular now, may be old news in six months. As a web designer, it is essential to keep an eye on current and upcoming trends so you can keep up with consumer demands.
Spend a few minutes each day researching design trends to see if your current designs need updating, or if there is a new skill you need to master. Don’t be afraid to use visual trends in your designs, just be prepared to update them when necessary.
Never Stop Learning
As a professional web designer, it is natural to feel overwhelmed by all the information available. Because there are so many factors that play into successful web design, you should never stop learning. With each passing day, you will find more content and new information that can improve your skills as a web designer.
From the moment you decide you want to become a professional web designer, keep an open mind and never stop trying to expand your knowledge.