This article describes some tips for answering the question "Where do I start?" in regards to web page design. Future articles will delve into the specific elements of the page design itself.
The secret to being successful as an online marketer is to have your own web site selling a product or service. Do you know how to create a page or edit one? There is always a need to be able to Edit a page, even though you did not create the page, and it is not hard to do with some guidance. If budget permits, you can outsource your design, but someone just starting in Internet Marketing may not have the budget to outsource.
Where do I start? There are some things that should be done before you get to creating the page. You should select the niche and the title for your web site.
Set up a project folder (on your hard disk) for your website niche to hold only your website files for the pages you are designing. Work in that folder only (put all of the files associated with the web page design in that folder). For example, if you are creating a page selling "gizmos", create a folder for your gizmos files. If you are creating a page on photography, create a different folder for this project. It is also good practice (Not necessary) to set up an "images" folder to hold your graphics/picture files associated with your pages. This makes it easier later on to select a graphics/picture for insertion into your page.
You do not need to be connected to the internet to design your web pages. You can write and design your web pages off-line. If all you are doing is designing and creating web pages, you do not need to go on the Internet. You can test them by loading into a browser from your hard disk. Later, you can upload the pages to your domain on the internet.
You need a simple word processor such as NotePad or WordPad. These simple word processors (which are already on a Windows computer) are also called text editors and are ideal for creating web pages. Now you can also use word processors such as WordPerfect or Microsoft Word but they are not simple text editors. They include a lot of formatting which may not be compatible with HTML. Therefore, many web page designers like using NotePad for designing HTML pages when using the code tags.
NOTE: Using a word processor for designing online pages means that you are writing the actual HTML code (typing in all the text and HTML tags) in the word processor. I personally would rather use a HTML Editor which creates all of the HTML code for you.
You need a HTML Editor. Even though a web page can be designed using a Word Processor, you have to know the HTML tag codes for each segment of code. This is where a HTML Editor makes life so much easier in designing a web page. A HTML Editor allows you to design more in What-You-See-Is-What- You-Get mode. You can layout your page (using tables and cells) with the size and content you want and the editor creates all of the HTML code. Your page design is immediately visible to see what the page looks like, with a few exceptions.
Page layout. Before you start creating your web page, sketch the page layout on paper for the page header, navigation links, content and any banners you may want to include. Also determine the page width at this point. The sketch will help you stay focused on designing the page.
Tools. Before you start the web page design, you will need to have a HTML Editor. Although there are several editors for purchase on the market, in keeping with a low budget project, you can download KompoZer, billed as a complete web authoring system. It combines an easy to use editor with a simple file management system. It's intended to allow novices to create their pages quickly and easily, without learning HTML coding. KompoZer is an open-source project, so the software is free for users. Just download it and install.
Another tool that you will need is a Graphics Editor (i.e., Photoshop) to create graphic headers, banners, etc. If you don't already have a graphics editor tool, Paint.net is a free graphics editor and can be downloaded here. Paint.NET is an open-source freeware editor with all the essentials, including tools to crop, rotate, and resize images, adjust colors, and create collages. It supports common image formats -JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, and others.
Testing. You will need to test your web pages in multiple web browsers. Internet Explorer and Firefox are among today's most popular browsers for viewing web pages, but they will display some HTML code differently.
In summary, when designing web sites, our overall objective should be to make sure that our web sites look appealing, contain interesting content and are fast to download if we are to ensure that visitors spend time on our site rather than going elsewhere.