Your first web site can be a bit overwhelming. However, rest assured, no matter whether you are putting together a fully functional web site or if you are putting together your first personal web site, it is equally daunting. There is a lot of jargon and options available to add to the fear-factor. The truth of the matter is that web site development is actually pretty easy, once you learn a few basic skills. The terminology can be a bit scary. It does sound quite confusing and complicated at first.
Web site development is about understanding HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language and the elements that make the web site function. When we see a web site that is easy to use or pleasing to the eyes we don't usually notice the parts that make the sites user friendly and visually appealing. The fact that a site is appealing and the details are not blaring, this is a sign that the site is a well planned and put together site. When the navigation, content and graphics are good, that is a strong foundation. Then add in the strong visuals and you have a user-friendly site that will achieve the intended goals. The visual design is important, however if the foundation is not solid, no amount of graphics will make it any better. It should all flow together in an effortless pattern.
If you are embarking on your first personal web site, much of this is not a concern for you because you are probably using an online site builder or a web site tool that is free. If this is the case, watch the design elements that the online site builder offers. This can be a good way to learn some of the basics of site design.
The professional site, however, is concerned with all the design elements. The way we begin to know if a design element is correct is to practice. Then you will be doing some revision and then receive some criticism. It is all part of the process.
It is advisable to go check out some of your favorite sites, only this time look at the layout, look at the structure, look for the graphic layout and focus. Looking at real live sites that are successful are good resource tools. You may find some sites that you can see flaws in design and flow. This means that you are getting an eye for web design. You can also learn new techniques to add to your site.
Once you have gotten your feet wet, so to speak, then it is time to experiment. This is fun and it gives a lot of experience in building and tweaking web sites. If you see you have a flaw or two you can adjust and try again. Check out the different types of navigation as well as design elements. Also, take notes on how the content is presented on the professional sites. How are large amounts of written text presented? Make the hover changing, drop-down, and other kinds of menus to see how everything works. Since this is just practice you can experiment with large amounts of text that is just gibberish text.
Once you are confident of your skills, you can begin building your own site. You will always be learning. That is always going to be. Anything that is about the Internet is ever changing. Keep practicing and keep trying.
When you feel you are ready to build something for real, and your confidence level has risen significantly, then you can need to just step out and do it. Don't let lack of experience knock you down or hold you back. You can use the tools you have learned and tap into your imagination. The key is to keep at it. We all continue to learn as we continue to try.
Creating a web site needs to start with the basic concepts about web sites and what elements are included to keep the sites well grounded. First there needs to be a focus for the site. You need to know the purpose. How much information or content is needed and what is expected from the visitors. What is it you want them to do? This needs to be planned so that element can be in the design plan. If you are creating a web site for a client you will need feedback from them as to what direction the site is headed. The hosting plan needs to be established. Most of the time the sites will be hosted on the same site they are developed on. These are the basic questions you will need to get started.
If is imperative that you establish the direction of the site. Ask yourself what the site is trying to accomplish. The content amount should also be planned out. This should be in agreement with the layout and or design. Balancing the graphics and the content and the execution are the major elements that need to be planned.
If you have an assertive client, they will have no problem getting their color choices known to you and everyone on the team. The initial planning stage is very important to be sure everything that is desired by your client is on the site. Some clients are not assertive and they do not even know what it is they want. This makes web site design more difficult but it is still doable.
Most sites are built in stages. Typically they begin at the skeleton stage, which is when you build the strong foundation. It has long been said that a web site is never finished. There are always going to be needed changes. This is not a project that you do once and leave it. Web sites need updating.
If the site is going to be more than a page or two of personal info sheets the web hosting company needs to be selected carefully, so the availability for expansion is an option. This is important to select a good hosting company and stay with them. The hassle of changing hosting companies is difficult. Also, when you change hosting companies you loose your historical data from the server of your hosts.
Some clients want to be involved in every step of the process, in the situation you are assured of having their input. When the client gives you free reign, it is important to be sure you have frequent communication with them to be sure their vision and your vision for the site is very similar. This will alleviate rewrites and reformatting later. Be sure to know ahead of time if your client wants extras like a shopping cart etc so you can select the best host for the specific needs of your client. Some hosting companies offer anything you could possibly need, however, with more 'bells and whistles' you will be charged more for their hosting services.
When all the planning is completed and you have a hosting company that is the best fit for the needs of your client, then the fun begins. The next step is to begin the actual design of the site. If you have the option to design without a lot of restrictions you can be creative within the needs and guidelines of the client. Make sure you have a plan before you begin actual homepage and navigation creation.
Let your designer juices flow. You will see what needs to be done. If you clearly understand the needs of the client then you will have a clear direction. Remember the navigation is very important. If the site navigation is unclear the visitors will feel lost. Make sure that does not happen by planning. Remember, the navigation is the backbone of the site. It must be in place at first. Changing the navigation structure after the site is created is difficult, if not impossible to change. Just about anything else can be adjusted and changed after the site is created.
Once you have the plan for the site, the navigation set up and you have begun the design, it will need to be reviewed and revised. Remember you will need to be in close contact with the client for their input. Many sites are built on a template that gives continuity to the site and symmetrical design, which adds to the clean and fresh design appeal. The more continuity there is in the site the more professional the site will appear.
When the site is officially up and running online, it can be viewed by the client in a live format. Then approved and the site can be officially open for business. When changes are needed or additions to the site, it is just a matter of 'plug-n-play' with the new content.
That's the basics of web site development, in summary. There is far more to it, of course, but you'll learn most of it as you do it. Getting the foundation down, as outlined here, is the important part. The rest you will learn on the job or through experimentation. Many of us learn best by doing anyway. So have fun.