Ian Middleton

Writer - Photographer - Teacher

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Web Design Tips for Beginners

By Ian Middleton

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links which, if you click and buy something I will receive a small amount of money in commission at no extra expense to you. In fact, where possible I have ensured you get a discount as part of my affiliation with these companies.

Want to design a website from scratch?

Being a beginner does not mean you can’t become a great web designer. It just means you have some work to do. These web design tips will help get you started and give you the tools and tricks necessary to become a great designer in no time at all!

For anyone who wants to design a website, there’s always that moment when you look at your design for the first time and wonder if it looks like everyone else’s. Fortunately, design is an ever-changing industry, with many new trends coming through each day.

This makes it easier than ever to stand out from the crowd, which is the best thing about being in a creative field rather than an exacting one. If you’re just getting started designing websites and layouts, or would simply like to design your own website and want some helpful tips on what it takes to design a great site, read on.

Know your website builder

The best way to design a website is to learn the necessary tools. Before you even think about designing anything, you need to get know the website builder you have chosen to use. If you do not want to learn coding and just want to build a site, then there are many drag and drop website builders out there to use.

WordPress is one of the most popular platforms, especially if you plan to have a blog. While WordPress comes with its own builder, you can also use a plugin (additional software to use in WordPress) which in many cases can be easier. Elementor Pro is a popular plugin that allows you to easily build your pages in a visual editor using drag and drop widgets. Elementor also offers a cloud hosting plan so you can build your whole WordPress site using their servers and plugin. This website has been built entirely with Elementor.

Most hosting companies also offer a variety of other platforms and even their own simple website building software. Or else you could use a dedicated website builder.

These are a variety of tools used in web design, and understanding them is vital to successfully design a website. Whatever platform you choose to use, take time to practice and learn how to master all their features. You could also take an online course at Udemy to help.

Sketch before desktop publishing

Most of the time, you will not be able to design a website in a single sitting. Try sketching what you want on paper beforehand so you can clearly understand what it is you’re designing. This will help reduce the time you spend trying to figure out what you need to do and give you a chance to take in everything around you. 

This is also a great way to get an idea of how the design would look if it were done on a computer screen. It’s easier to make changes when your sketches are on paper than when they’re digitised.

Don’t be afraid to use templates

Many might think that using a template is cheating or that you are restricted to the look of the template. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Using a template is a great way to get started and also saves you a lot of time. There is no need to be stuck with how it all looks either. All templates can be modified easily. You can change any aspect of a template, such as the fonts, colours, buttons etc. and add more to the template too. Also, many template kits come with blocks and sections you can add rather than applying the whole site template.

Envato Market has a great range of templates to choose from for a variety of platforms. If you decide to build in Elementor, it also comes with a great range of templates, or you can get more options here at Themeforest.

If you are planning to embark on a career to design websites for others then you can subscribe to Envato Elements and download templates as and when you need them. Alternatively, even if you are just building your own, this resource will give you access to a wide range of stock imagery, videos, graphics and templates.

Additionally, Creative Market helps you join forces with talented designers around the world so you can outsource some of your design work to save time.

Be pragmatic with your colours

Colours are one of the most critical parts of a design. They are what set you apart and provide your audience with a visual cue at first sight. If you don’t know how to use colours in your designs, there is no need to panic. With proper technique, anyone can learn how to use colours effectively.

An excellent way to start would be to experiment with different colour combinations on a small project. This will help you figure out what works best for your personal style and help you get the hang of using various colour schemes and palettes.

Additionally, don’t choose too many colours and be consistent with your colour scheme. People browsing a website get used to its colour scheme and the brain begins to expect these colours. For example, if you have blue buy now buttons and you put grey ones on another page, there is a good chance the viewer won’t actually see them.

Use great imagery and Graphics

So many people try to skimp when it comes to imagery. But photos and graphics are the first thing a visitor sees when arriving on a website, and the primary hook that entices them to look deeper. There are many great places to get imagery both paid and for free.

Writing great content for your website

Second to imagery is great content and this where you need to either work on your own copywriting skills or source well-written copy from an experienced copywriter. Don’t fear though, getting content written is easy these days. There are hundreds of professional writers out there offering their services and you can easily source great copy from places like Fiverr or upwork, which can connect you with other service providers. If you are on a tight budget then you will find someone who can work within your means. But remember you get what you pay for, so if your client is a high end one that wants quality, unique and highly professional content then be prepared to pay well for this.

Be aware of user-centric design principles

User-centric design is when a website or app is designed with the user’s needs in mind. There are several different user-centric design principles that make a website more usable and enjoyable to use. Still, they all lead back to one central idea: the people using the website want it to be easier for them to use. One of the ways this idea is carried out is through the user interface, which refers to how you interact with a website.

When designing a website, remember that your users want it easy to navigate and navigate away from distractions. They want specific actions done quickly and easily, such as signing up for an account. If you take care of these problems early on in your design process, you’ll have an easier time creating an attractive and accessible site that attracts new visitors when it starts going live.

A great user experience is also one of the keystones to good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Getting people to your site is one thing, but a great and user friendly experience will keep them there and more likely result in conversions. The more time a visitor spends on your website, the more points you earn with the search engines. This will help improve your ranking.

Final Words

Creativity can take many forms in the design world. It’s important to remember that no matter what type of design you’re working on, there will always be a certain amount of trial and error during the process. Do not be afraid of pushing yourself outside your comfort zone because this is where the best designs come from! Like all things in life, becoming skilled at something takes practice. As marketing guru, Seth Godin says, “A talent is just a skill you didn’t know you had been practicing”

I hope you have enjoyed these web design tips for beginners. Good luck with your first attempt to design a website from scratch.

Article purchased from Copiency

The main content of this article was purchased from Copiency, edited, adapted and contributed to by Ian Middleton.

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