Owning a website can be like owning a car. You detail it, put fresh oil in it, and treat it like a young child. You’re proud of it, and you want it to be the best it can be. Unfortunately, you may not know how the engine works, which may make it difficult to keep your new acquisition running on all cylinders. But never fear, site owner. When opening the hood, here are five things to keep in mind that will ensure your website runs like a dream while making you a better mechanic in the process.
Keep It Simple
In your web travels you’ve probably stumbled upon a number of sites with brilliant functionality and cool features. As a fledgling website owner you’re probably eager to put these sorts of toys and tricks into practice. The problem is, the average person has little concept of how challenging and delicate these cool features are.
Advanced web design is a fickle animal. Code is as tempestuous as it is complicated. Even features that, in practice, seem simple enough, may involve complex constructions with hundreds of lines of code. In addition, small errors in code can lead to breakdowns in site structure that are as difficult to fix as they are to comprehend.
This should in no way stymie your creativity, but for the sake of operational integrity, your early efforts at web development should be simple and manageable. Beginners may enjoy changing font families or div colors but if your knowledge is limited to that, consider doing some reading and independent practicing before making your dreams a reality. Doing so will keep the site going strong and teach you in the process.
Focus on Content
When you visit a website, you may first notice the layout. Your eyes will wander across the carefully crafted pieces, adorned with attractive colors, large-scale photographs, and beautiful fonts. At no point may you consider that these accouterments are simply window dressing for plain lines of text.
HTML, the language of web pages, is a markup language. What this means is that it is designed to adjust the way that text is displayed. But at its core, the focus remains on text. This should be an indicator to you.
You can make your site as attractive as ever, but your content will drive the design home. Beautiful pages of gibberish will please you for a time, until you realize that there’s nothing to see. Create information that is well written and engaging and the combination of text and design will carry your message home.
Consider a Theme
Of course, you want your website to look nice. But, as mentioned, custom web design is a little out of reach for the average beginner. Fortunately, others with an understanding of the need for attractive aesthetics and the prevalent lack of requisite knowledge have recognized your plight and come up with a solution.
Depending on your platform, custom themes exist that will fit both your budget and your needs. These well-crafted templates offer a professional look without the often-daunting cost of professional work. In addition, the themes are built for versatility, incorporating layouts and design considerations for multiple types of content. When selecting yours, be sure to look for one that is mobile ready. This will encourage readers by accommodating the unique needs of cell phone browsers.
Learn the Basics
As mentioned, the more sophisticated techniques of site design may be out of reach for the time being, but learning is a powerful tool. In addition to basic HTML and CSS courses online, a number of premium resources exist that can improve your coding knowledge. Because of the popularity of this information, these courses can range from basics to advanced techniques, giving you a pathway for growth.
Furthermore, the nature of coding behooves you to become privy to this knowledge. A great deal of the code on the Internet is built on the same basic building blocks. This means that understanding even the rudimentary construction of either can greatly clarify your website and enable the ability to manipulate its appearance. Demystifying the process will not only grow your website, it may grow your readership in the process.
Listen to Feedback
Ultimately, your content exists in an echo chamber if no one sees it. For this reason, special consideration should be made to take care of your readers. If you receive comments that your layout is hard to navigate, consider redesigning. At the same time, know that all feedback comes from its own place. Base your decisions on sound design and usability logic and incorporate feedback where beneficial.
The web will seem like a complicated place at first, but that won’t last. Staying true to the basics and keeping your efforts simple will help the integrity of your code and teach you valuable and important information quickly. Take a couple coding courses in order unlock the power of your site’s pages and lean on the design experience of others by choosing a theme until your masterpiece is ready. In web design, a little goes a long way, so do what little you can, and be amazed at how far you can go.