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How to Design a Website [Easy Step-by-Step Guide]
Are you planning to design a website for your business? If so, you should know that the most important aspect of any website is web design. Since people react to visuals and are naturally drawn to appealing and impressive design, a good website design will draw more customers to your business.
Designing a website is not a one-day process. It requires planning and creating strategies to develop an appealing website design. Here’s the good news: you don’t have to be a web developer to build a website!
In this article, we’ll teach you how to design a website, and walk you through some content management systems to help you in designing a website.
How to Start Designing a Website
On your journey in designing a website, where do you start? You might have heard of various content management systems (CMS) for designing interactive websites. These systems help you design your website without having to learn programming languages.
Before you begin, make sure you understand your business purpose, target audience and customer behaviors, and what they expect from your products.
Once you take some time to think about your purpose and audience, you can start building your website. WordPress is a common example for website building, so we’ll use it as a base for our steps to design a website.
How to Design a Website Using WordPress
One of the well-suited options for hosting your WordPress website is NameCheap. We recommend using NameCheap to buy your domain name and web hosting services. They're one of the best in the industry and super affordable.
Need help creating a website first? Check out our step-by-step guide: How to Create a Website
Here are the steps to design a website:
- Customize Themes
- Add Plugins
- Create and Customize Web Pages
- Add Navigation
- Design Web Content
Let’s discuss each of the above steps in detail below:
Set Your WordPress Website and Get Hosting
Before designing a webpage, you can choose from a wide range of templates that complement your brand or product. If you can’t find a satisfactory template in the “free template” section, you can pay for a wider variety of premium templates.
On the WordPress dashboard, select Appearance, then select Themes to view the theme gallery. The screen with multiple free themes appears. If you know which theme you wish to use, enter its name into the search box on the top and hit Enter.
For this article, we have used the OceanWP theme, which is suitable for eCommerce and has various features and support for several plugins.
To use this theme, click Install as shown in the image below.
Later, click Activate to apply the selected theme.
The entire theme will open, and you can add content, Different sections for your content may include testimonials, services, widgets, etc.
To customize your theme, click Customize as shown in the image above. Then, you’ll be directed to the customization panel, as shown in the image below.
From this panel, you can make toggle settings for your web pages, such as homepage selection, font, color, and more. Here, we have described homepage settings and typography.
a) Homepage Settings
From here, you can create a homepage and make all your required changes. Make sure to set the homepage as static, so that any new changes won’t impact the existing settings on the homepage. If you have already created a homepage from the dashboard, you will see its name under the homepage field.
You can customize the headlines, colors, and fonts on your homepage as well.
Related reading: How to Create a Website Using HTML
On clicking the pencil option, you will be redirected to the customization panel below:
This section allows you to make changes to your background image, title, text, and buttons. If you scroll down the settings page, you will get the option to customize different blocks of the homepage.
- Features: Communicate the purpose of your company.
- About: Your company journey and stories that will inform the audience about your company and product.
- Team: Highlight the core team working for you and their achievements.
- Ribbon: Introduce different forms such as contact, subscription, and others.
- Testimonials: Highlight your customer and client feedback on your product or service.
- Contact: Information about how your customers or website visitors can reach you.
b) Change Typography
Once you decide on your homepage setting, you can make typography changes, such as font and color. To make typographic changes, go to Appearance settings → Typography, and you’ll see the options below:
Some of the functionality behind your website can only be added via plugins. This is why we used the OceanWP theme for this article, for example. WordPress offers some free and premium plugins in their plugins library. Make sure your theme supports all the plugin types.
Go to the WordPress dashboard, and select the Plugins option on the left side of the screen. You can search for plugins if you’re familiar with the one you want; otherwise, you can browse through available plugins and learn about their versions, compatibility, and more.
Once you get the desired plugin, install and activate it to use.
Some plugins are standard and are commonly used. Here are some of the most commonly used WordPress plugins:
- Elementor: Elementor is a drag-and-drop page builder for WordPress. This plugin is the leading website builder platform for professionals on WordPress and boasts a new website created every 10 seconds on its platform.
- Yoast SEO: Use it to add SEO functionality to help your website rank on Google and become more visible to website visitors.
- Google Analytics for WordPress: Helps you understand your customer and web visitor behaviors.
- Wordfence Security: This plugin will safeguard your website against all kinds of threats and keep your content safe.
- UpdraftPlus: This plugin will manage automatic backups for your website.
- Optimole: This plugin will optimize your website’s uploaded or downloaded images to improve its performance.
- WPForms: With this plugin, you can add interactive contact forms.
WordPress also offers an option of disabling a particular plugin that you don’t require if it’s affecting your website’s performance. Some plugins do not show compatibility with your themes and start working abnormally. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to identify and disable any incompatible plugins.
Create and Customize Web Pages
Every website needs multiple web pages to host different kinds of information for its users and customers.
To add a new page to your website, you can go to the Pages option on the main dashboard and fill in the necessary details to create a page.
You will see various settings as shown in the below image, each of which is explained below:
- (1) Title Box: Displays the heading for your web page.
- (2) Content Box: Displays the content of your page.
- (3) Media Button: Allows you to add any media if required.
- (4) Visual/Text Button: Allows you to switch between the Text and Visual editors
- (5) Preview: Lets you see a preview of your changes.
- (6) Discussion: Shows the discussion section on your page.
- (7) Featured Image: Some WordPress themes allow you to add featured images directly to your page.
Without proper navigation on your website, your audience will get lost in unarranged data and lose interest.
To avoid losing potential customers to competitors, you must arrange your website information in a systematic order.
You can create sections on your web page and place your content in the form of widgets, sidebars, side menus, and more.
- You might get different options for different themes. For creating a new menu, go to the Appearance → Menus option from the main dashboard. You will see the below option for creating a new menu.
Select Create New Menu and fill in the necessary details.
Click Next to add new items to your menu.
Add the required pages for the specific menu by dragging and dropping in a particular order.
After you reload your website, you can see your new menu with the pages that you have added.
Remember, you need to hit publish after making the changes.
- Now, it’s time to add widgets. Go to Appearance → Widgets. You will get the below customization panel for widgets.
With OceanWP themes, you can add widgets to various places within your web page.
We add search, recent posts, archives, and categories on the above sidebar. Once you reload the website, you will see the below page with the added widgets.
Create Web Content
The most crucial part of your web design is to decide on web content, including text and images. Additionally, you can track your website performance with various tools to help you improve your content. Remember that content makes your online presence and spreads your brand awareness.