Web design was something that was always in my New Year's resolution that I never got round doing -- until now. After consulting with different web designers for my startup, the proud SME owner inside of me decided that no one understood my needs – so I decided to code my own! Currently, I’m half way into coding my website from scratch, but I decided to write this article anyway as a simple how-to guide for SME owners. I believe that all SME owners should know how a website is made, and what better way to express this than through a pizza recipe?
1. Preheat your oven to 230°C.
Sort out your domain and hosting before building your webpage. Photoshop a quick mockup or draw a rough plan of the sort of webpage you want – do you want a ‘brochure’ site or a personal blog page? Do you want a static or a responsive design?
2. Make the template dough from scratch or buy it pre-made.
You can make your webpage from scratch, or you can buy templates. For the majority of SMEs, it’s unnecessary to build a webpage from scratch. It is hard work for the web designer and will cost you a lot of money. However, if your business has special needs, or if you have enough pride and determination, then by all means go ahead with building your own. The advantage in using a template such as those found in Themeforest and TemplateMonster is that it’s cheap and time-efficient. Note that this comes at the expense of extensive customisation.
3. Add desired HTML sauce
In this step, decide on a layout. This is one of the most crucial elements in user engagement and accessibility, so experiment with different types of layout. Key structure elements of a website are headers, footers, side bars and navigation bars – mix and match to find the perfect structure for your website.
4. Add your CSS and Java toppings
By far, the most fun bit of the web design process. Choose your colour scheme and font, but once you do -- make sure it’s consistent across all pages. A great way to create a professional look is to match the colour scheme with your business logo. Don’t forget to style the webpage so that it appeals to your main target market, because the webpage will be one of the most crucial sources of lead generation. You might want to consider adding plugins, widgets, extensions and/or pop ups to spice things up. All major social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Maps have widgets you can add to your webpage for free.
5. Add your cheese
Cheese is what holds all the toppings together, just like a code. Translate your design into code. Don’t overcomplicate things, simple is always best. Always watch out for different ways to code an element to increase consistency across different Internet browsers. Optimise your website’s SEO by adding relevant content. Finally, don’t forget to test your website!
6. Pop the pizza into the oven
The moment of truth! Upload your website to a server using a FTP (file transfer protocol) application so it is visible to the world.