Webdesign

webdesign

Webdesign is a “craft” that requires patience, some skills, focus on details, and more patience. Webdesign is an evolution, and a process. 

It’s also a profession. full or part time. Anyone with some talents for and in interest in design, presentation and, perhaps most importantly. content and content production, can do it.

You don’t start from scratch. It would not make any sense. There are so many content management systems (CMS), templates, modules and plugins available. You don’t have to be a programmer, or developer. But it does help to understand, or learn, some of the basics.

From my experience, none of the above have much value if the content and content presentation is poor. That is at the end of the day, what will draw people to your website. That is what might make people come back. Not the design. Some design actually chase people away, unless they find something of value.

Wedesign – general

You can find many brilliant webdesign solutions by searching. For the most part, affordable too. Here are some things to think about before choosing a design template/solution:

  • Clean design: go for clean design, with minimal pizzazz.
    • While cool stuff might impress when first time viewed, it quickly loses shine.
    • There are many brilliant templates that can be customized to meet your needs. For WordPress, start here (for instance)
    • Think ahead: when you look at templates you might think “oh I don’t need that”. Nice to haves makes any future upgrades easier. Planning or thinking ahead is smart.
  • KISS (Keep it simple stupid). Why do it complicated if you can do it simple, to the extent possible.
  • Mobile friendly: this is simply a yardstick. Anything presented on the web ought to be mobile friendly. Does not only imply mobile friendly design, but also mobile friendly formatting of content.
  • Off-shelf solutions means better support. Buy a license for a template/theme. Many themes comes with 12 months support included. And you can extend it for as long as the theme is supported. Not uncommonly also beyond that.
  • Free templates might also do the trick. It depends on your requirements. Some offer a template for free, but have to pay for extra features.

For some examples and/or stuff I’ve done, see this list.

Wedesign & content

Fancy graphics, videos animations, these are all fleeting things. Search engines prioritize content. As a result:

  • Balance design, graphics & content: it’s easy to over-engineer things.
  • Focus on content. Given that you want to be found, or your business / products to be found, content is key. It always is. That doesn’t end when your site is live. Quite the contrary, that’s when the journey begins!
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): the most important thing. it’s not enough to provide or produce (a lot of) content. It needs to be written in a way that makes it easy to understand. For anyone. With clear document structure. Fortunately there are tools that can aid you in the process (SEO analysis, AI etc).
  • Don’t let AI write your content! Use AI as an assistant or helping tool, not as an author. Laziness won’t pay. Google and other search engines are evolving and might discriminate a page if it’s obviously not human made.
  • Don’t copy or clone content. Google and other search engines are capable of detecting cloning. Whether on your own site, or copies on other sites. Copying or cloning can impact ranking, on a page or a site as a whole.

Webdesign considerations

Avoid (highly) customized solutions. Choose the simple, or standard. Choose something that will be supported by the original author or developer. There are many platforms to choose from. Below some of the biggest, or most known.

  • WordPress is a content management that for most will be adequate. It is also a vast universe. Most of the things you need are either for free or inexpensive. Buy licenses for the most crucial components.
  • Drupal is another worth considering. But the learning curve is much steeper. And the ecosystem of extras much smaller. Drupal is an excellent choice for (larger) corporates, with more specific needs. But it can also work for private or smaller companies.
  • Joomla! is another, and one of the older CMS platforms (CMS means Content Management System) that has come a long way. Both with regards to user interface, learning curve and design possibilities. And there are many other routes to take as well.
  • Wix, online publishing tool: Wix has gained formidable traction and evolved into a significant, for some indispensable, online publishing platform. On the surface of it one could mistake it for being to the only solution you’ll even need. But while it might be simple to get started, the getting on with it won’t necessarily be any easier. Plus you confine yourself to a platform and at the mercy of whatever the platform provides.

Regardless of what you choose, It’s easy to get lost among all the options. Getting some assistance can save you time and trouble. I’ve spent the last two decades with all of the above, minus Wix, which I got acquainted with while migrating content to a WordPress site.

First time fanciness may become tomorrows nuisance!

Webdesign, website or Facebook?

Many seem to think that, for instance, a Facebook page can replace a (personal) website. That is a misconception. It will provide you with a uniform platform. With a social network. But Facebook and other social media platforms firstly look after themselves.

It might be a compromise that will work for some people. For some businesses. And of course, having your own website, whether for company or private use, might imply more work. But in the long run it will be worth it.

Think of the concept of web presence as a oaken wheel. Your domain, your website, is your hub. Social media are your spokes. Choose the spokes that seems logical or relevant for your purpose. And stick to those.