Just 18 months ago, I didn’t have a clue about website design. Although I’m no expert today, I am able to knock up some pretty impressive websites, even if I do say so myself. It all started the day I went on a 12 hour Dreamweaver course spread over 4 days, and I’ve never looked back since.
If you are serious about web design, then there are some very simple rules to follow that will get you off to a great start. First off you need to sit down with a piece of paper and jot down a few notes starting with that all important question; what am I trying to accomplish through my efforts? Answer this and the rest will follow. If you have a few ideas floating loosely around in your head, but nothing specific, then you’ll be wasting heaps of time and energy unnecessarily.
Next you need to find a good domain name for your site. Try to include the theme of the site into the name. For example, if your site is about classical guitars, try to get at least one word, or even the key phrase into the domain name i.e. classicalguitars.com You may need to play around a bit as many of the short and logical names are already taken, but there’s still plenty left for the picking if you allow yourself a little time to research. A great quick online domain checking tool is called ‘Instant Domain Check’ and can is located at iwebtool.com/instant/ at the time of writing this article.
Once you find a suitable domain, you then need to register it online. There are plenty of places you can do this and prices vary from as little as $ 3-$ 10 for a dot com name which will secure your website name for 12 months. You can also buy for 2 years upwards if you so wish.
Next you need hosting. Once again, there are a lot of good hosting companies out there but beware of the cowboys too. Hosting can be had from as little as $ 2 a month upwards. I find that between $ 5-9 a month gives me a good service. You get what you pay for on most occasions so I tend to avoid the real cheapies like the plague.
So now you have decided what you want to do with your website, who your visitors will be, and a clear vision of how it will function. You’ve got a great name, hosting is arranged, and all you’re left to do is build the darn thing. Here are some tips:
Make sure you have an eye catching header. This can be fancy text logo, an image or both, but remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and so even if you have great content, if the site is not pleasing to the eye or is difficult to navigate, you’ll not do so well.
Design a footer. This can be a simple effect (look at other websites for examples). The footer will probably have something like copyright 2006 yourdomain.com. You may even incorporate a site menu (links to popular pages) into the footer if you want to.
Then comes the filling. This will simply be rows and columns filled with content, links, and extras.
If you are completely new to the game of website design, I suggest you make a check list and learn about the following components in order before you start. There are many great website that will give you free tips and tools to assist you with your first project.
Summary: (learn about each one separately, and don’t try to understand it all at once)
* What do you want to accomplish with your site i.e. commercial, fun, informative?
* Find a good domain name and purchase it before someone else snaps it up.
* Find a good hosting company (free or paid). Make sure it has the tools & space you require
* Get a free or paid online or off-line tutorial on using page building software if necessary.
* Make a home page, get it uploaded to your hosting account and make any adjustments.
* Start to promote your site so that folks where you are and what you offer.
Image by Stuck in Customs
My friend (and website designer), Fabien Barral, met my wife and I in Paris to take us out to dinner. We left the hotel, and about 30 seconds out the door, we came across this street side cafe right by the Sorbonne, the famous university. Luckily, I think both of them were used to this behavior and chatted pleasantly while I snapped away.
I worked on this photo all day. People often ask me how long I work on photos. If you’ve seen the HDR Video Tutorial here on the site, you know it takes me anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours. This one was on the long side for sure… It was tough work, but I am happy with the results.
– Trey Ratcliff
Read the rest here at the Stuck in Customs blog.
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