The design of your website is the second primary area that you have to be concerned about. Once you’ve started writing your content, when you have a couple of pages put together, it’s time to start thinking about the design of the site.

When I talk about the design of the site, I actually fold the coding of the site up into this same topic. The two are dependent on one another, and I feel that you can’t talk about one without addressing the other.

In this section, I’ll be talking about:

The website design process: This will cover a general overview of the steps involved in a website design.

Timing: Things to consider in the timing of designing a website

Who can design your website:

  • Design it yourself
  • Standard Templates: what they’re good and not good for
  • Highly-Customizable Templates
  • Hire someone
    • A graphic designer
    • A web designer
    • A web + graphic designer
    • About hiring different people

  • Things to consider while you go through the design process:

    • The website must match and extend your brand. Your logo and Visual Vocabulary for your website needs to match your printed pieces so that it’s clear that they all come from the same company.
    • You can use more colors online. Many small businesses limit their color palette in print to one or two colors, because of printing costs. But, online, colors are free – so why not expand your palette?
    • Vertical or horizontal navigation? While a horizontal navigation bar looks more sophisticated and takes up less room, it also gives you less room to grow, and makes secondary navigation more difficult.
    • Do you need secondary navigation? If so, how should it look?
    • Consistency in navigation
    • Should your design fill the whole web browser or be constrained?
    • Do you have to worry about “web safe colors”?
    • The advantages to using straight lines and edges.
    • Flash vs. HTML: The pros and cons of both.
    • Easier ways to get animation on your site: Animated GIFs
    • Preparing graphics for online use
    • Photos

    Specifics of text design:

    • HTML vs. text as an image: The debate over having cool fonts or Search Engine friendly text
    • Style sheets and why they make sense for text design
    • Underlining and how to use it on the web
    • How to use signatures on your web page
    • Callout boxes
    • Side bars
    • Custom fonts in-line with other text

    Redesign:

    • Re-planning the navigation: What pages do you no longer need, what pages do you need to add?
    • Re-skinning
    • Complete re-coding
    • Much the same as designing