Web Design 101 for people who need a website but don't know where to start

Web Design 101

I have a confession to make. Anything to do with cars makes me want to hide. If my car has mechanical issues, you may find me curled up in a ball. It really stresses me out, because I don’t understand anything about cars. My fear is that because I don’t even understand the language, I will get taken advantage of. They could totally make something up and give me a huge bill. Of course, I would pay it because all I really know is that I need a car that works.

I started thinking that’s probably how people feel about web design. Designers and developers are as foreign to some people as alternators and engines are to me. If the thought of hiring a web designer or choosing a platform makes you want to curl up in a ball, read on as I break it down for you.

Everyone needs a hosting company and domain name.

Hosting – This is the company that stores the files. Your designer makes files. Siteground, Blue Host, and GoDaddy are companies that provide hosting.

Domains – Your domain name is your (company name).com. So it’s your website address. Some companies just provide domains like namecheap.com but you can also get your domain name from most hosting companies.

Then you have to pick a platform like WordPress, Squarespace, or Shopify.

WordPress – Use this platform if you need lots of customization in your design or functions like membership sites, e-commerce, (selling items online) or a blog. If you want to maintain your site yourself, but have zero comfort when it comes to tech, this is not the platform for you.

Design – WordPress sites can be custom built or use a pre-designed theme.

Cost – WordPress is free but you will need a domain name, host, and probably a designer or developer.

Shopify – Shopify is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). This means you can drag, drop, and see what you are doing. You pick a template and fill in your own information and images. If you need an e-commerce site and want to DIY, Shopify is an excellent choice.

Design – Shopify uses a template to create the designs. You can make limited changes without a developer. This is for your benefit so you know that you can’t mess it up.

Cost – Shopify hosts your site. So, all you need is a domain. You pay a monthly fee, and they offer a  free trial.

Squarespace – Squarespace is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). This means you can drag, drop and see what you are doing. You pick a template and fill in your own information and images.You can pick them with a blog or shopping cart. This is a platform made to be easy for people who are comfortable with some tech to DIY, but you can also add customization.

Design – Squarespace uses a template that you pick out to create the design. You can make limited changes without a developer. Like Shopify, this is for your benefit, you can’t mess it up. They also offer support. So, you can call and get help with your site. If you do decide to change some of the code, this service will not be available to you.

Cost – You can get your hosting, domain, and site all in one place for a monthly fee. They offer a free trial.

Want to hire help

Designer – a designer plans the look and layout of a site.

Developer – writes code for the look and function of a site. Some people design sites and then work with a developer to built the site. Most designers can build sites on platforms like Shopify and Squarespace, but if you need a custom site, you will need to hire a developer.

Designer / Developer. This person can whip up a Squarespace site and add customizations or build you a WordPress site with bells and whistles from scratch.

 

Want to dive deeper? Join me for a webinar where we go over everything you will need to know to decide what kind of website is right for you.

 

Website 101 Webinar
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