If you have never used Photoshop or Rapidweaver then the learning curve can be very time consuming. Products like Balsamiq make creating website mock ups quickly and easily, with very little learning curve.
This is were it gets technical. There are many methods of doing the design of your website. Examples are:
- Raw html, css,php, java, ajax, and asp code
- Visual Editors - KompoZer, RapidWeaver, Notepad++, Dreamweaver, Adobe Muse
- cPanel / Plesk- Design Templates
- Content Management Add-ons - Wordpress , Drupal, Joomla, Blogger
- Graphic Design: Adobe Photoshop, Pixelmator
All the examples above have their pros and cons.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel. You can spend many hours trying to develop something from scratch that is blog like or utilizes a database to collect user information, but if it takes 6 months or longer to develop it may not be wise use of your time. By implementing a website hybrid with the technologies mentioned above, your can greatly reduce the time needed and possible the skillset needed for design and / or database intense applications. This is the most common reasons why you see a lot of hybrid sites that involve own code, templates, and Wordpress. Wordpress
isn’t what is was 10 years ago. Most people think of blogs. But with the many plug-ins and themes (29,000 to be exact) that can be added to Wordpress site, you can remove any resemblance of Wordpress from your Wordpress site. And to my surprised belief, 1 in 10 websites you have been to are probably some type of Wordpress site.
Design should be broken down into 2 parts:Front-end:
This is what the users sees. You want the front-end design to be appealing with the write mix of text and graphics. The content should match your target audience. There should be a simple flow to the information on your website. More effort should be focused on the user friendliness of the home page as this page will be used as your template / theme for all other pages in your website. Too much content on the homepage has the potential of scary the website visitor away before they get to the main content of your site. So the homepage is a very important starting place. Back-end:
This is the mechanics of your website. This can includes the code used on html or php pages, databases, java scripts, and support files such as software downloads, videos, and images. Website visitors do not necessarily see these component directly, but indirectly. The optimization section below explains more on this topic. If the back-end is not designed well or optimized your web site visitors will experience slow website performance, not ever find you in the search engines, or even error messages.
There are many ways to accomplish the front-end design of your website. It’s really a matter of what your are most comfortable with and your technical experience. With the right tools even someone with zero experience in web design can build a website. Always keep in mind the users experience with your website. For me if i cannot find the information I am looking for or information that catches my interest in the first 8 seconds of seeing your website, I am probably going to click the back button and choose the next website on the search results.