A Step Process All Website Designers Should Follow To Complete Every Project30th Jun 2011 | Posted by Eko S. | 2 Comments
Website designers should decide on the purpose of a site while planning its design. The site owner and web designer should sit together for deciding the features that are required to be included in the site. It is necessary to create a list of sections for the site according to importance. Having a solid and updated content with appropriate keywords is one of the prime requirements. The style and look of the site needs to be selected and decided according to the prevalent business trend. Building a website by following this information should be followed by evaluating it and making necessary changes. Official, technical and legal aspects like registering a domain, finding a host and uploading the website are some vital steps for launching a website.
Author’s Bio: This article has been written by RP, who is associated with many online blogs and sites as their freelance writer. She is currently involved with various number of projects based on template and web designing including a project of Template Kingdom, the number one template design company.
Here is a step-by-step approach that a web designer or a web designing company may follow while building a website from scratch.
It is necessary to have a good site structure. This primarily focuses on having a logical and clean hierarchy to the site and well structured pages. With a proper structure in place visitors can understand the importance of different sections. Structure of the site should be organized before creating any files. Structure may be classified into two parts – site structure and page structure.
The site structure should follow a hierarchical pattern guiding the visitors in getting detailed information through navigation. Ideally a visitor should be able to reach all levels of the site through any page. Split your site into several logical sections and create folders for /graphics/ , / ssi/ and /styles/. Create Home page of your site and save it as index.html in the root directory. Now create index.html pages for all sub directory folders (except graphics and styles). Create as many pages necessary and as many folders required within each folder.
Page structure in wordpress themes may vary with the nature of the content and nature of site. However, there are some basic rules that should be followed. The Home page should be designed differently from the sub level pages with a prominent logo at the top left position. The page should tell the visitors about the purpose of site, highlight new items and provide navigational links to site.
Ensure that most important information appears on top of the page. Items that are repeated across the site like logo, navigation link and search box should be kept at a consistent place on all pages. Remember that users hate to scroll horizontally while planning layout of pages. The site should work across range of window sizes.
Navigation is the most important aspect of web designing. It guides a visitor to different sections of a site. Often good navigation is a part of a well planned site structure. Set navigation panel on top or at left hand side of a page. You can use text links or graphics but make sure that it does not take up much space.
Add location indicator (breadcrumb trail) to all pages (except home page). Use a site map. This helps the search engines find necessary links while crawling and indexing your site. Underline or use different font colors for making the links identifiable. Try to provide several textual links within the site as resources. Differentiate between internal links (that lead the user to sections within the site) and external links (that lead the user to other sites). Provide the file size in KB when linking large files like .pdf or .avi. It allows the user to decide whether to clock it or not. Provide a custom error page like – 404 page not found, 403 forbidden etc.
Developing content for the web is different from writing content for print media. Content of a website is a mixture of images, graphics and text. Here we will focus primarily on text content. It has been found that visitors of a website rarely read content line-by-line. They prefer to scan the content quickly for desired information. Reading text from a computer screen is more difficult than reading text from a paper. Few basic points should be followed while developing content for a site.
Use precise and simple sentences. Highlight important keywords and key phrases. Use bullets and numbered list wherever possible. The links used in the content should have proper description rather than generic “click here” phrase. The text should not be cantered and using all capital letters should be avoided. Keep the content separate from style. This can be done by using CSS. Use pale background with dark text and dark background with light colored text. Use proper spacing between sentences and between words. Using white space or blank space helps in creating a balance of view and makes it comfortable for the visitors.
Graphics used to design a website should be optimized. Try using only .jpg and .gif file format. Minimize size of image files. Use thumbnails for gallery. These are some good practices for optimizing graphics in web designing. Clicking on a thumbnail leads the user to enlarged image. Make sure to use ALT attributes for all images.
Now that you have a structure in place and content ready for that structure you need to ensure that the site is accessible to everyone. There are several browsers, operating systems, platforms plug-ins and compatibility issues that you may need to deal with at this stage. Ensure that your site is easily accessible and usable on popular browsers and their latest versions. Test your site during developmental stage for checking that it works with popular operating systems and browsers. Concentrate on using web safe fonts and colors.
Try avoiding use of new technology that is less than a year old. Make sure that users need not download any specific software for viewing content of your site. If you create a site with new technology then create a mirror site without it. Use site analytics to view which is favored and visited by most visitors.
Validating a site is referred to the process that aims at ensuring that your website conforms to the norms and standards defined by various organizations. By validating a site you can be assured that the web pages of your site are interpreted in the same way by different search engines and users. Validate your codes and styles with the help of several web page validators like W3C Validating Service. Validation ensures that your site is accessible to more people.
Drawing Search Engines
Visitors enter keyword or keyphrases in the search box of a search engine while searching for information. The search engine crawls different websites for finding relevant information. This process is often referred to as spidering. Search engines index the relevant sites depending on several parameters like Meta tags, content and loading time. You need to submit your site to popular search engines for figuring in their SERP (search engine result pages).
You may also consider submitting to directories. These directories are compiled by human editors and your site must meet some specified standards to get listed in desired category. The main challenge in directory submission is matching the right category. Your site is planned for a target group and you need to identify the category where these users are likely to locate you. Make sure that you submit correctly to search engines and directories. Make sure to submit your website to at least top 20 directories. Failing to do this will affect the listing and growth of site.
Designing a website involves several steps and they are mostly interlinked with each other. While developing the structure of site you are laying foundation of site navigation. While planning the navigation you have an idea about the content. The content should be enriched with keywords because you should be careful about SEO and the process rolls on to validation, directory submission, testing and rectifying errors.