Why Website Design & Development is Important and How it Helps in Making your Business Profitable?

With the advent of new technology, it is quite easy to miss out on esteemed opportunities available. This situation is even worse when one does not have the expertise to tap on these changes. Well, this is the scenario for businesses which have limited knowledge of website development and design.

Let’s face it, website services have tremendously changed how the business industry works. So, for serious entrepreneurs or companies wishing to know the importance of websites this article provides just that.

Below are the major benefits of website development and web design.

Makes navigation easy

When it comes to having a successful online platform, the user must enjoy easy navigation. Essentially, information provided on the website should be easy to access. For this reason, it is expected that the pages have fast loading speeds.

Subsequently, the website is required to offer options to further aid in navigation. This encompasses the inclusion of a search box. Here, the users get to type on the search tool and quickly be directed to the section. It is through exemplary web design that a developer’s website achieves this.

Aside from developing the website, the developer is advised to regularly test the pages for ease of navigation. This is to eliminate or resolve bugs that may hamper the ease of loading web pages. Remember, if a website has good navigation capabilities then it is guaranteed of more organic traffic.

Get to win with SEO

Search engine optimization has become a fundamental aspect to observe when it comes to the website. With millions of websites contesting to top in search engine results pages (SERPs), search engines had to introduce a way to list sites.

Well, it is through web development and design that one gets to attain a higher ranking. Here, parameters such as; title tags, use of keywords, image optimization, linking among others are considered. This implies that the website meets all the standards required by be ranked top.

Subsequently, it is through optimization that the website becomes user-friendly. Aside from having the website, the webmasters get to retain the much-needed users. Under this, the web developer is required to include features such as “call-to-action”.

This further entails the need to have simplistic designs on the pages. Subsequently, you get to learn on the expected loading speeds. It is through this optimization that the website appears when different queries are made. So the website gets more clicks on search results.

Provide visual content on the website

Truth be said, selling abstract product and services can be cumbersome. This is further complicated when a company only provides tons of text about their specialty. It is here that website development spices things up.

By contacting a professional web designer, the business owner gets to choose the images to use. Additionally, the enterprise has the freedom to choose the number of promo videos and images. This will be guided by the optimization on search engines.

The merit of using visual contents is that provides the users with a clear picture of what the product looks like. Apparently, not all customers understand the services or products offered through text. So the inclusion of images makes it simple to drive the message home.

Besides this, use of images on the site easily captures the attention of the readers. Before reading through the text, users are often keen on the image. This improves the chances of having more users to the website.

Nevertheless, webmasters are advised to avoid stuffing the visual data. This is because it makes it difficult for the user to interpret. It also lowers the ranking of the website of search engine optimization. So it is important to moderate the use of imagery.

Increase the sales

Business prosperity is highly anchored on the number of sales made. Well, creating a website can effectively aid a business venture to attract more sales. According to Statista, e-commerce activities are anticipated to grow by 21.3% by the year 2019. This indicates that sales on websites are attracting more users.

Nowadays, more business owners are rushing to conduct their transactions online. This is because they have spotted the great opportunity to capitalize on online sales. The increase in sales goes hand in hand with the growing number of customers.

To further promote the sales, webmasters are encouraged to include updates. It is through updates and upgrades that the website functions are smoothened. Moreover, it shows the clients that the brand is dedicated to offering exemplary services and information.

Another way to improve the sales is by including promotions. Here, you get to create the much-needed fuzz among users. This replicates into more sales. Additionally, this gives users the impression that they can acquire affordable products from the company. So, all activities on the website add value to the business in one way or another.

Attract lifetime clients to your business

As the company aspires to spread its wings and expand, it is fundamental to have loyal customers. Nevertheless, this can be a daunting task especially when the entrepreneur uses poor tactics to achieve this. It is at this point that development and designing of the website help out.

The metrics retrieved from the site enable webmasters to monitor the activity of users. Here, it is possible to highlight the customers that have continuously supported the brand. After pinpointing them, the business owner ought to employ creative ways to retain these customers.

One innovative option is rewarding them with gift vouchers and rewards. This will definitely give them more reason to access your services or products. Remember, it is through the website that the business owner ensures no loyal customer is left out.

Another fascinating thing about the lifetime users is that they are able to market the brand. So they get to indirectly work for the company. This also reduces the cost of marketing.

Reach out to more clients

One of the main goals of establishing an enterprise is to grow in terms of customer base. Well, there is a myriad of ways to achieve this but each has different results. When it comes to web development and design, there are some major milestones achieved.

The first one is that it puts the brand name out there. Essentially, when the website is available on Worldwide Web then the company is on a global platform. This means that the little-known enterprise can be searched and provide products to far-off customers.

It is these services that aid to reduce the distance for the customers to access the activities. Here, there are other options such as purchasing or ordering the product on the website. Furthermore, the company still keeps in touch with the local customers. Great right!

Improving user engagement

Conventionally, an enterprise was hosted in a brick and mortar structure. However, times have changed as more services have become digital. It is for this reason that entrepreneurs are encouraged to develop superb websites.

In this platform, it is quite easy to maintain a good rapport with the end user. This entails retrieving feedback on the services and products offered. So you can interact with them and provide vital responses to the queries asked. Additionally, there is no limitation on the time of activity. By automating the services on the website, clients are guaranteed of round the clock services.

Also under user engagement, the blog or site owner can keep customers posted at all times. For instance, if new price charges are introduced then customers are among the first to know.

Resourceful in marketing and advertising

For startups, having products and services out there is fundamental in achieving success. That said, marketing strategies come in handy in selling the brand. Compared to tactics such as the use of main media and billboards, website development is pocket-friendly.

It is through this online platform that a company can display all relevant information. This includes; products/services offered, location, pricing, reputation, contacts among others. The webmaster can conveniently post attractive offers on the website.

Interestingly, it is easier to update amazing discounts and offers on the website. So there is no downtime in waiting for the advertisement to be put up. The same case applies when the company wishes to pull down a blog post or advert.

Moreover, the business venture can work with a given figure. What does this mean? Essentially, through SEO the business can know where to place more emphasis. Additionally, the website provides up-to-date information on the latest advertisement in the market.

Streamlining the brand

When introducing a website for the company, it is crucial that the brand name be consistent. It is through website development and web design that this is accomplished. Here, the webmaster will create a singular brand name that will be featured on all the search engines. So there is no variation regardless of whether the site is on Bing or Google.

Furthermore, the brand logo and name is similar throughout. This reduces the chances of confusion with other competitive brands. This also trickles down to the issue of consistency. It is anticipated that the company maintains a constant tracking of their users.

In case of rebranding, the webmaster should ensure that the due procedure is followed. Once this is considered, then the search engines will automatically update the records. So, once customers search for the brand gets to access the right item.

Another way to look at this is that the website can aid to inform clients of changes. As the company employs other techniques such as social media, the website can also chip in. Here, the webmaster can even tease the readers of a new look before launch. All in all, these changes can be implemented all through.


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How Website Development and Web Design Helps Enterprises to Make Profits

1.Saving on costs

Unfortunately, many startup and major company fail in their venture due to low profits. This is despite having great expectation of the investment made. Part of the failure is attributed to engagement of poor business tactics such as negligence of web services.

It should be known that website development and design is affordable. By properly structuring the content, the webmaster saves a lot of cost during web development. The cost saving aspect extends to the futuristic gains the website will bring to the business.

Furthermore, the website reduces the distance covered to reach out to the customers. If one was to physically talk to potential customers then it would be resource intensive. It is here that web services come in. Moreover, cutting such extra costs means that the business is accruing more profit.

2.Allowing ads on the website

Business owners must have come across the many ads been broadcasted on various website. Well, this is one of the intriguing ways a business venture can attract more profit. Basically, the company will be approached by other enterprises to have their ads run on the website.

As part of marketing and advertising, the host website will charge a certain amount to have the advert. Subsequently, it is important to come up with a unique and renowned website. By focusing on this, the webmaster gets to place the website on the limelight.
The big winners here are those whose website attracts more enterprises and ads.

3.E-commerce

As stipulated before, precuts and services have shifted from the stores to online platforms. One of the profound online venues is the website.

Let’s take the example of Amazon, managed to contribute to 44 percent of the total e-commerce sales in the United States. Moreover, Statista highlighted that the company has managed to make $108.35 million in 2017.

Conclusion

After the in-depth elaboration of the importance of a website, certain aspects come out clear. The first one is that business enterprises should endeavor to develop and design a custom website. Secondly, it is crucial to put the best foot forward. So it is anticipated that the website or blog meets and surpasses the guidelines.

Having said this, it is up to the webmaster to make that broad move and develop a website.

5 Reasons Why Web Development Is Still Important

Contrary to what some may believe, web development is still an extremely vital part of any marketing strategy. A common belief today is that social media platforms have replaced the need for a conventional website but that simply is not the case.

It’s true that in recent years there has been a shift toward online interactions with social media sites, mobile devices and apps topping the charts. As a result, the way people access the web to shop, chat and find information has also changed dramatically. Businesses of all shapes and sizes have had to adapt their web presence to stay in front of their consumers.

So with all the digital and social advancements, why is web development still important? These 5 reasons outline why your website is key to building a successful online presence for your business.

  1. Maintaining Ownership

It’s critical to protect your brand identity by owning your web address and website. This will avoid surrendering control of your brand to a third party website and their ads. Remember, owning your own domain name and using a reputable host company is just as important as choosing the domain name itself. Owning your domain name is vital to your business, brand and online presence. Not only does it build your brand, it also makes people more likely to engage with your website.

  1. Control Your Content With Good Web Development

The old adage that “Content is King” still rings true to this day, possibly even more than before. How you present your content is just as important. Make sure content is original, relevant and interesting to effectively get your message across. With good web development, you control the user experience, manage content relevancy and your conversion process.

Good content is what sets your website apart from everyone else and delivers the right message to your customers. Website content always begins with proper market research where you identify your high-value customers (HVC). From there you can start defining personas for your website.

  1. Create a Content Hub

It’s no secret that blogs are fundamental to your digital marketing strategy and should be the focal point for all your content marketing activities. Use your social media presence as a means to engage your audience and ultimately bring visitors to your website.

Your company blog will also increase the number of relevant inbound links that send readers to the main parts of your website. This, along with SEO, will increase traffic and the duration of each visit to your site.

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  1. Attracting Search Traffic

Good web development means a fully optimised website which plays a vital role in attracting valuable search engine traffic. Consumers are essentially still looking for information by using keyword searches in Google and other search engines. Implementing the right keywords and topics on your website will significantly help visitors find your site.

Website traffic is an important indicator and driver of business growth and really helps you to:

  • Determine ROI to see how well your marketing is working
  • Gather insight into your audience to make informed decisions
  • Improve your SEO and search engine credibility
  • Generate more leads, increase conversions, and get more customers overall

There are many SEO tactics you can perform on every page of your website to increase their search engine rankings and get more visitors. Take a look at one of our recent blog posts on Adaptive SEO Best Practice For Top Google Rankings.

  1. Monitor, Tweak and Improve

Effective web development gives you the ability to accurately analyse website statistics. It includes measuring conversion rates, monitoring backlinks and assessing visitor engagement, all of which are essential to improve all your online marketing activities. The goal is to ultimately achieve a return on your web investment and integrating Google Analytics, Google Webmaster tools and a CMS will certainly help.

If you are serious about digital marketing and truly want to achieve success, don’t neglect your business website; it’s your most valuable online asset. Just take a look at the recent WMA Awards where WSI’s website was among the winning submissions.

Get in touch if you need help improving your website or if you have a new web development project in mind. We provide digital marketing services including SEO, PPC, Marketing AutomationAdaptive Web Design, Social Media and Email Marketing among others.

7 Reasons Why Web Development Is Important for All Types of Businesses

You will hardly argue that presence on the Internet is important for all types of businesses. Benefits of having a website are obvious, yet some companies don’t invest in website design at all. Why should a business, omitting using web development services, begin doing so? Let’s look at 7 reasons why web development is important to all types of businesses.

My Company Needs a Website… Does It?

First, there is a little-known and even less understood fact: being online does not necessarily mean having a professional website, which is a combination of domain name, hosting package and a CMS like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla (or a custom-made website design). Sometimes all you need is a landing page or a social network group.

Rudy Mendoza, from Jewelry Sales & Design, decided to terminate using his decade-old website with multiple pages and opted for a simple landing page, hosted by Yelp.com. He said the company cut their paid promotion expenses from around $20,000 annually to one-time $3,000 landing page package and had the money back in a couple of months, as the new page had thousands of hits and delivered hundreds of calls.

Avoiding Spending Too Much on Web Development Services

When we talk of small businesses online, we often talk about developer start-ups. The best way for them to gain an audience is hosting their projects on GitHub, where they can easily collaborate with bigger companies and sell ideas, services or ready code. For instance, there’re a lot of projects on GitHub, offering a valuable improvement of the SSL protection (secure data storage, messaging and sessions) for mobile and desktop software as mobile and desktop app development is steadily growing in popularity.

Another popular kind of small online businesses is the reseller hosting. Many entrepreneurs enter this path, yet their budgets are too tight and they cannot afford full-scale web development services. Such companies opt for a place on free hosting boards, where they can deploy their offers and try to find their first customers.

Many small businesses like cafés or pizzerias (and many larger ones) advertise through social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr, etc. It’s a free and efficient channel of promotion if done right.

As you can see, there are ways to promote without investing heavily into a web presence. However, having your own website is much more beneficial, and here are 7 reasons why your business should eventually move to owning a website:

1. Full Design Control

Your company may change or adjust the range of products you provide, pricing policy (holiday discounts, etc.) or even company structure, which you need to reflect on your page. Owning a website allows much more detailed customizations, as compared to using a landing page.

2. Increasing Brand Awareness

Having a website allows adding a favicon to the page, creating RSS-feed to keep your audience tuned on latest updates, using comments to gather valuable customer feedback and replying to it, posting links to your site at forums and blogs. Many additional tools allow increasing brand awareness and customer pool.

3. Saving Money on Advertising

Instead of paying for expensive offline and online ads, you can invest into SEO-promotion of your own page, which brings lasting results, as the funds you spend to promote your own page are the funds well spent. However, please do not mistake paid traffic Rudy Mendoza mentioned with investment into high-quality content, responsive website design, market trends analysis and well-thought special offers.

4. Saving Time on Asking Questions

Whenever your customers need to know something about your business, having a contact form, a live chat, an option to comment or a phone number is a step towards them, which increases a possibility of sealing the deal.

5. Confirming Your Credibility

Everybody understands that building a professional website involves some serious investment, which most likely means the company is not going to disappear the next day, so the customers are more prone to order from you.

6. Referral Programs and Discounts

Having your own page allows implementing a referral program or issuing discounts to your customers through the billing system. This is a feature free ad boards and social network groups cannot provide.

7. Your Website Works 247

Ticket system allows accepting and invoicing orders even if you aren’t in the office, meaning that the website can earn money while you sleep.

As you can see, while your business may do well without owning a website, having one greatly increases your chances of success. What is your opinion on this? Do you have some story or personal experience to tell? Please, share in the comments below!

Why Is Website Development so Important?

As human beings, we pride ourselves on our superb adaptation skills and ability to change with the times. Stemming from this, when the social world shifted from a place of interpersonal connections to internet connections, so did the world of business. There’s no getting around it; our digitally-driven lifestyle has given us little choice but to adapt to technology, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to get a move on. It’s a no-brainer; website development is now essential to you as a business person. For your business to generate more business, your voice needs to be heard, your brand needs to be seen, and your goals need to be reached. Website development is the key to making those things happen. The same way an eye is the window to the soul, a website is the window to the business, giving customers a taste of what you have to offer and enticing them to delve deeper for more.

We are simple creatures in that we like convenience, and there’s nothing more convenient than accessing a whole host of information by simply clicking a button, which is what millions of people do when they go online every day. If your product can’t be found on the other side of that click, you’ve already lost access to those millions of people, and your company effectively doesn’t exist. In conjunction with this, establishing a strong web presence as a business while reaching millions of internet surfers who might become potential clients will elevate your product to a universally compatible entity, even if the service you provide is physically localized to a specific place. So what kind of information is valuable to showcase on your website, in order to leave a maximal impact?

Website development is a way to make people aware of the services and/or products you are offering, understand why your products are relevant and even necessary for them to buy or use, and see which of your company’s qualities set it apart from competitors. Displaying this information with high-quality images and thought-out presentation will have a large influence on customers, and it is important to strive towards making your product as relatable and appealing as possible. Additionally, with website development you can:

 

1. Communicate with your visitors effectively. Interacting with your audience is vital when it comes to generating more business. It is viable to make a website that enables you to get in touch with your customers and prospects, and you can produce valuable content for the audience associated with the industry or business you’re in. Afterwards, post the content on your blog, share it on social media networks and respond to customers’ comments and feedback promptly. This will show your clients the extent to which you’re concerned about their satisfaction and responsive to their needs.

 

2. Improve your connectivity. A website will facilitate things like expanding your reach and attracting more visitors to your business. Planning to make a responsive website design for your site will help make it accessible to an extensive range of users spanning several devices, such as tablets or smartphones. This will increase both your site’s exposure and organic traffic.

 

3. Prove your reliability. A website offers a straightforward method of showing the credibility of a business, and the way a person represents his business online is vital for attracting more customers or visitors. Therefore, your website design should be handled in the best possible way, because a professional presentation speaks volumes as testimony to your business. With the help of website development, you can add your skills, credentials, experience, expertise and more in a single place. These details help you earn the trust and confidence of your visitors and serve as a reference point for customers interested in your business, making it easy for you to produce leads.

 

To sum up, it’s pretty clear that website development plays a big role in successful business marketing. Without it, it would be very difficult to leave your mark on a global level. So make life easier for yourself! Start adapting, develop a website, and get ready to collect the benefits of your success.

Website-Design

What Is A Web Developer: Understanding What Is Web Development

Since its beginnings at the end of the 20th century, the internet has grown exponentially. In the modern world, a huge percentage of people use the Internet and all kinds of websites every day. Naturally, some people decide to learn to create them, therefore “What is a web developer?” is a commonly asked question.

Web development is quickly becoming one of the most attractive and best-paid career choices in the modern world. But what is a web developer and what exactly does one do?

You may have thought about learning a programming language or two and becoming a web developer. Luckily for you, we understand that aspiring web developers will have questions about the profession, which is why we have put together this comprehensive guide, which aims to answer the above questions and more.

We will look at the types of web developers, and we will look at the web design vs web development debate. We will also cover some of the most popular programming languages for aspiring web developers, including Python, JavaScript, and HTML.

What is the Priority of a Web Developer?

To answer the question “What is a web developer?”, we must first look at what a web developer does and how they do it.

A web developer or programmer is someone who takes a web design – which has been created by either a client or a design team – and turns it into a website.

They do this by writing lines and lines of complicated code, using a variety of languages. Web developers have quite a difficult job, because they essentially have to take a language we understand, such as English, and translate it into a language that a computer understands, such as Python or HTML.

What is a web developer: developing a website

As you can imagine, this can take a lot of time and effort and requires an intricate understanding of various programming languages and how they are used. Different types of developers specialize in different areas, which means that large web projects are usually a collaboration between several different developers.

What Types Of Web Developers Are There?

Unfortunately, the question “What does a web developer do?” doesn’t have one simple answer. As noted above, there are some different types of web developers, each of which focuses on a different aspect of the creation of a website.

To understand what is a web developer it is crucial to know that the three main types of developers are front-end, back-end, and full-stack.

Front-end developers are responsible for the parts of a website that people see and interact with, back-end developers are responsible for the behind the scenes code that controls how a website loads and runs, and full-stack developers do a bit of everything.

Front-End Developer

A front-end developer is someone who takes a client or design team’s website design and writes the code needed to implement it on the web. A decent front-end web developer will be fluent in at least three programming languages – HTMLCSS, and JavaScript.

What is a web developer: HTML code

HTML allows them to add content to a website while splitting it into headings, paragraphs, and tables. CSS lets a decent developer style the content and change things like colors, sizes, and borders. JavaScript allows the inclusion of interactive elements, such as push buttons. We will go into more detail about these languages later.

So, what do web developers do when they work on the front end of a website?

  • What is a web developer responsible for is that they make sure that all of the content that is needed for the website is clear, visible, and found in the right place. In some cases front-end developers may also have content writing skills, allowing them to create the content for the website as they go.
  • They make sure that the right colors are in the right places, especially concerning text colors, background colors, and headers. Some of the best front-end developers are also very good designers, allowing them to tweak things as they go.
  • They make sure that all outbound links are correctly formatted, that all buttons work properly, and that the website is responsive and attractive. Mobile design is usually a big part of the job, while it is also important to make sure that a website will display correctly on all web browsers.

As you can see, the answer to the question “What is a web developer?” certainly isn’t simple. Even front-end developers have it tough, and this is probably the simplest of the three types of development to learn.

If you want to become a front-end developer, though, head to our article, which can tell you the secrets of becoming an entry-level front-end developer.

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Back-End Developer

While it may seem like front-end developers have a difficult job making sure that a website looks great, works well, and contains the correct content, back-end developers have it much worse. While front-end developers are responsible for client-side programming, back-end developers have to deal with the server-side.

This means that they have to create the code and programs which power the website’s server, databases, and any applications that it contains. The most important thing as a back-end developer is the ability to be able to create a clean, efficient code that does what you want it to in the quickest way possible.

What is a web developer: programmer

Since website speed is a major consideration when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), it is a large factor when developing the back-end.

To fully explain what is a web developer it is essential to know that back-end developers use a wide range of different server-side languages to build complicated programs.

Some of the most popular languages used include PHPPythonJava, and RubyJavaScript is also becoming increasingly widespread as a back-end development language, while SQL is commonly used to manage and analyze data in website databases.

Since different websites have different needs, a back-end developer must be flexible, able to create different programs, and they absolutely must have a clear, in-depth understanding of the languages that they use.

This is very important to make sure that they can come up with the most efficient method of creating the required program while making sure that it is secure, scalable, and easy to maintain.

Full-Stack Developer

If you are looking for a quick, simple answer to the question “What is a web developer?”, then a full-stack developer is probably the closest thing that you’re going to get.

Full-stack developers understand both front and back-end strategies and processes, which means that they are perfectly positioned to oversee the entire process.

In the case of small websites that don’t have a huge development budget, a full-stack developer will often be employed to build the entire website. In this case, it is extremely important for them to have a complete, in-depth understanding of both front and back-end development and how they work.

Learning full-stack development techniques has a huge range of benefits, including:

  • You will end up with the knowledge to be able to create an entire website on your own. This makes you a lot more employable, increasing your job security in the future.
  • As a full-stack developer, you will understand the connections between the front and back-ends of a website, allowing you do build efficient and effective programs for all parts of the website.
  • Full-stack developers are often employed to oversee large projects for big web development companies. Positions like this are likely to be paid more than standard web development positions, making them more attractive to developers. Full-stack defines what is a web developer.

Although most developers start with either front or back-end specializations, there are a lot of reasons why you should consider branching out and learning both.

It will make you a lot more employable, will give you a greater understanding of the whole concept of what is web development, and will make it easier for you to create entire websites on your own.

How To Be A Web Developer

Now that we have started to answer the question of “What is a web developer?”, it’s time to start looking at how to be a web developer.

What is a web developer: web development

While a lot of people do their research, decide on programming languages to learn, and have a good go at learning web development, the majority of them fail due to a distinct lack of direction.

If you are serious about building a career for yourself as an experienced web developer, then you need to make sure that you start with a clear vision of how you are going to achieve this. The following steps should help guide you:

  • Start by deciding what sort of developer you want to becomeThe languages and techniques that you learn will depend on whether you want to focus on front or back-end development, to begin with.
  • Choose a decent courseNext, you need to choose a course or a couple of courses that will teach you the basics of web development. To get high-quality courses, I’d suggest you head to edX and check their courses out.
  • Create a learning planEveryone needs a bit of motivation from time to time, otherwise, we simply don’t do the things that we need to.As you start on your journey towards understanding what is a web developer, you need to start building a bit of a learning schedule. Set aside a certain amount of hours per week for your courses, and make sure that you set yourself realistic goals.

As you can see, it isn’t that hard to become a web developer. Sure, it will take a lot of time, effort, and work, but you can do it if you want. Once you have come to a clear understanding of ‘what is web development’ and ‘what does a web developer do’ it will only get easier.

Web Design vs Web Development

Now, we need to digress for a moment to address an important point that often comes up when people start talking about web development – the web design vs web development debate. Are they different? Are they the same thing?

The answer is no, web design and web development are not the same, but of course, it depends on how you define ‘design’ and ‘development’.

For our article, we have assumed that it takes different knowledge to understand what is a web designer and what is a web developer. These professions are different and they have the following roles:

Web Designer:

The web designer is the person or group of people who are responsible for the creation of the website concept. They might decide that it needs to be a certain color, with certain content and pages.

What is a web developer: web designer

They may do things like creating infographics, logos, and videos, and they tell the developer where these things have to be put on the web page. However, they don’t take part in the construction of the website or the underlying code.

Web Developer:

The web developer takes the designer’s concepts and creates the code that is used to turn them into a website and bring them to people like you and me.

It is important to realize that, although the web developer and the designer may be the same person – there is almost always some overlap between design and front-end development – the roles are different.

If you want to be a designer, you won’t necessarily have to learn any code at all. Likewise, a developer doesn’t need to have any graphic design skills at all. From this, it follows that ‘designing a website’ is not part of the answer to ‘What is a web developer?’.

Now, it is very important to realize that there is a range of different languages that are used for web development. As noted above, front and back-end developers will need to learn different languages, while full-stack developers will need a working knowledge of all the major web development languages.

With this in mind, we have put together a list of some of the most common languages for web developers to learn, along with an explanation of what they are used for and how you can learn them.

HTML

HTML is an essential language if you want to understand what is a web developer and how to become a front-end one. To explain it fully, I need you to do something for me:

Right-click on your browser window, and select ‘view page source’.

You should be taken to a new tab containing all of the information which goes into the creation of this webpage.

What you are seeing is mainly HTML code. It tells the website what content to display and to some extent, how to display it. At the top of the page, on the first line, you will see the command. This tells your web browser to expect HTML code.

If you explore further, you will start to recognize things on the page. You will see some commands that you understand, such as ‘link’, ‘image’, or ‘video’. These are all content commands which tell your browser what to show, where to get the content from, and how to show it.

What is a web developer: HTML code

HTML is a very easy language to learn, and it is usually the first one learned by new programmers. If you are interested in exploring HTML, having a deeper look at what is a web developer, and front-end web development, consider enrolling in the beginner HTML course. 

CSS

CSS is the second of the essential front-end languages and is also one that every front-end developer must be fluent in. The CSS code is used in conjunction with HTML.

While HTML tells the webpage what content to display, CSS tells the webpage how to display the content – it’s a ‘styling’ language.

Once you have learned CSS, you will be able to do a wide range of things, including:

  • Changing colors. CSS allows you to change the color of pretty much everything from your paragraph text to your background to your table borders.
  • Changing fonts. CSS also lets you choose the fonts that you are going to use on your website and where you are going to use them.
  • Positioning elements. One of the key elements of what is a web developer capable to do is arranging everything you see in the website. HTML lets you add images and videos to your webpage, but CSS lets you tell the browser how big to make them and where to display them.
  • Changing text size. Are you building a website designed for people with poor eyesight? If so, you will need to use your knowledge of CSS coding to make your text larger.

As you can see, CSS plays a big role in web development, especially to front-end developers.

If you would like to learn CSS, try the Introduction to HTML and CSS course, which will teach you the basics of both HTML CSS. Alternatively, try Interactive Coding for Beginners, which will give you an insight into the basics of HTML, CSS, and responsive web development.

JavaScript

What do web developers do? Well, most web developers take a programming language like Java or HTML and use it to create a component of a website. JavaScript developers are no different, except they create very specific content. So, for JavaScript, what is a web developer exactly?

Most JavaScript developers work on the front-end of a website. They build small snippets of JavaScript code that make your website responsive, interactive, and attractive to your visitors. These JavaScript snippets are often embedded in the HTML source code for a website.

Although it has traditionally been a front-end language, and one which is vital for any front-end developer to learn, JavaScript is becoming increasingly popular for back-end development as well.

A lot of front-end developers are beginning to find work as full-stack developers due to their knowledge of JavaScript, which means that its usage and popularity is skyrocketing.

If you’re looking to learn JavaScript and are a beginner, I’d recommend this edX’s course. However, if you already have some prior knowledge, you would benefit from this intermediate JavaScript course.

PHP

Historically, PHP has dominated definitions of what is a web developer. Known as the language of the internet, it is currently used in some form on around 80% of websites in existence. Although it is slowly decreasing in popularity, PHP is still a great language for any back-end web developer to learn.

What is a web developer: programmer

PHP is very easy to learn and is quite easy to use, which makes it very popular for beginner back-end developers. It is very popular on small websites built on platforms like WordPress or Wix, and there are plenty of freelance work opportunities for PHP developers.

If this sparks your interest, consider taking an online PHP course. Note that it is very important to take an up to date course, like the on Coursera, as older versions of the language are quite different from the modern version (PHP7).

Java

The last of the languages on our list, Java, has been a major part of what is a web developer for years. It is an old language and is popular for a variety of different programming uses.

From a web development sense, Java is used to create responsive, scalable web apps that are used for responsive, fast website design.

Java is an essential language for many back-end developers. It is quite easy to learn, which makes it beginner-friendly, and it is very easy to use. It is super scalable, which makes it popular among larger websites like eBay and Amazon, and it is very easy to maintain.

If you would like to have a go at learning Java, have a look at this Java course. This course will teach you the basics of how to code with Java, what Java is used for, and how to build server-side (back-end) programs.

10 Great Websites To Help You Learn Web Development Online

If you are looking to learn web development online, there are more than enough resources out there to teach you everything you need to know. In fact, many (if not most) of the web developers in the world today have launched successful careers by learning web development online from scratch. But even the most ambitious self-starters run into the problem of deciding where to begin. Below you will find our picks for the top 10 websites to help you learn web development online.

Why Learn Web Development Online
As a web developer, your credibility is more about the strength of your portfolio than it is about your credentials. Your employment opportunities will often come from concrete skills and samples of your work rather than a degree from a university. It’s not that a proper college education isn’t important or valuable as a web developer. Rather, it’s to say that if attending a university isn’t in the cards, you can learn everything you need to know about web development online. The web development industry continues to grow exponentially so you won’t find a shortage of resources. The most important thing to do is start.

This list should help.

1. Team Treehouse
learn web development

Team Treehouse is one of the leading online learning resources for web development. With basic plans starting at $25 per month, you can have access to expert-led video courses and interactive practice sessions.

They even offer a Techdegree program to help you launch a new career in just 3 to 12 months. In addition to learning practical skills, the program also helps build a job-ready portfolio. Their teaching method includes the use of videos, interactive quizzes and code challenges.

2. Lynda.com + LinkedIn Learning
learn web development

Lynda.com has been around for a while. Now all of the courses from Linda.com have been combined with LinkedIn insights for a more personalized learning experience. Rather than taking you through a specific track, the site offers a staggering amount of courses in various fields including almost a thousand courses for web development. Each course is broken up into a series of videos that are accompanied by walk-through examples and sample code when needed. So you can easily jump into learning practically anything at your own pace. You get unlimited access for $29 a month.

3. Udemy
learn web development

Udemy is an online learning giant that offers over 80,000 online courses in a wide variety of categories including web development. Each course that is offered within a category includes unlimited access to a series of video lectures by a specific instructor. Plus you can always interact with Udemy student community for extra help and comradery. You pay for each course separately but you can preview some of the lectures for free to see if its right for you. And the courses range from beginner to advanced. All in all, it offers high quality learning for web development.

4. Codeacademy
learn web development

Codeacademy is a course-based online learning site that provides a unique hands on approach to learning code. To start learning, you must select a path (like web development). Each path includes lessons that begin with the basics and ends with advanced practical application. Each lesson includes written instructions that help you write out actual code that progresses with each lesson. It is a nice “learn by doing” approach that one does at their own pace.

They also offer what they call Codeacademy Pro Intensives to take your learning to the next level by providing programs that will deliver job-ready outcomes. For example, you can build real-world projects and get professional developer feedback.

5. MDN Web Docs (free)
learn web development

MDN Web Docs is a valuable online resource created by an open community of developers which is updated regularly by employees of Mozilla, Apple, Google, & Microsoft. You can easily search for what you are looking for and find pragmatic explanations from credible professionals. They even include entire lessons for learning web development.

Their Hacks Blog is also a great reference for the web development industry.

6. The Odin Project (Free)
learn web development

The Odin Project is a great place to jumpstart your career in web development with a full stack curriculum approach that is backed by an open source community. The curriculum is made up of a collection of online tutorials, blogs, and courses. For example, there is a web development 101 course made up of lessons that start and the basics and end with you building a practical web application. So you will have opportunities to build portfolio-worthy projects alongside a community of developers.

7. Coursera
learn web development

Coursera is the biggest provider of MOOCs (massive open online courses). Coursera actually partners with top universities (like Stanford, Princeton and Yale) to give you access to a high level of online courses. You can earn degrees in a wide variety of fields including Computer Science. There model is more focused on system of fixed course sessions that require enrollment. You can usually start a course with a 7-day free trial but will need to pay a monthly fee to continue.

8. Codewars
learn web development

Codewars is one of the more popular coding challenge websites that allow you to master your web developer skills by solving challenges in the programming language of your choice. You can even compare your solution with other for great understanding.

9. WPsessions
learn web development

WPsessions is an online web developer training ground with a focus on WordPress. There method is to teach you all the skills needed to build professional WordPress websites through individual sessions and complete courses. You can gain complete access to all training content for as little as $15 per month.

10. Codeschool (now Pluralsight)
learn web development

Pluralsight offers a unique online platform for sharpening your coding skills for web development. What’s unique about Pluralsight is that it allows you to take a Pluralsight IQ assessment to identify gaps in your knowledge so that you can concentrate on learning only those skills you need. You can even choose learning paths to help guide your learning experience, but they also have stand-alone courses as well. You can test it out with a free trial and their personal membership starts at $35 per month.

More Places to Learn Web Development
It is extremely difficult to narrow this list to only 10, so here are a some more resources for you to check out.

edx.org
Khan Academy (Free)
freecodecamp.org (Free)
codecollege.ca
code.tutsplus.com/
W3schools.com (Free)
css-tricks.com (blog)
Codrops (Free)
Codeavengers.com
developers.google.com/web (Free)
sitepoint.com (blog)
davidwalsh.name (blog)
academy.microsoft.com
Final Thoughts
When it comes to starting a career in web development, getting started can be the hardest part. But once you do, you might be surprised at just how much you can learn in just a single day with the online resources available. Then it is just a matter of mastering your skills toward your new career. Hopefully, these web developer resources can help you along the way.

Feel free to share some of your favorite online resources in the comments below.

Cheers!

What is Web Development?

Web development is the building and maintenance of websites; it’s the work that happens behind the scenes to make a website look great, work fast and perform well with a seamless user experience.

Web developers, or ‘devs’, do this by using a variety of coding languages. The languages they use depends on the types of tasks they are preforming and the platforms on which they are working.

Web development skills are in high demand worldwide and well paid too – making development a great career option. It is one of the easiest accessible higher paid fields as you do not need a traditional university degree to become qualified.

The field of web development is generally broken down into front-end (the user-facing side) and back-end (the server side). Let’s delve into the details.

Comparing Front-End and Back-End Development
A front-end dev takes care of layout, design and interactivity using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. They take an idea from the drawing board and turn it into reality.

What you see and what you use, such as the visual aspect of the website, the drop down menus and the text, are all brought together by the front-end dev, who writes a series of programmes to bind and structure the elements, make them look good and add interactivity. These programmes are run through a browser.

The backend developer engineers what is going on behind the scenes. This is where the data is stored, and without this data, there would be no frontend. The backend of the web consists of the server that hosts the website, an application for running it and a database to contain the data.

The backend dev uses computer programmes to ensure that the server, the application and the database run smoothly together. This type of dev need to analyse what a company’s needs are and provide efficient programming solutions. To do all this amazing stuff they use a variety of server-side languages, like PHP, Ruby, Python and Java.

What about Full-Stack Development?
If both Frontend and Backend development appeal to you, you could consider becoming a Full-Stack Developer.

Full-stackers take care of both the front-end and the back-end, and need to know how the web works on all levels, in order to determine how the client- and server-sides will relate. Naturally working up to this level of expertise will take longer, as there is more to learn.

Getting Started in Web Development
All this may sound daunting at first, but you don’t need to know everything at once. You will grow your knowledge progressively. And things will begin to click.

The great news is, learning to become a developer is easily accessible and affordable. This is especially true with OpenClassrooms. Emily Reese, Web developer and Teacher at OpenClassrooms explains,

Whatever aspect of web development attracts you, we have programs that can help you reach your goals.

No matter your background, you can learn web development. Emily told us,

In undergrad, I studied art history and architecture and then decided to become a developer whilst I was working at Kickstarter because I saw how the web could complement creativity in the arts. The same is probably true for any field.

Becoming a web professional allows you to participate in absolutely any field, because the web has become universally present in our professional lives. You can be a web developer and specialize in anything from the art world to the automobile industry.

The first step is to decide which aspect of web development interests you and then start out with one programming language.

For example, if you are interested in front end you can start by learning some HTML and CSS, then start working on projects as soon as you are comfortable with the basics. Our Web Developer Program is a perfect fit for this route. But others may suite you as well.

It also helps to join a discussion group or community of other web developers, so that you can troubleshoot, discuss ideas and get inspiration. That’s why you become part of the OpenClassrooms community when you enroll in a program on the site.

Join us!
There are numerous resources online for learning all aspects of web programming. OpenClassrooms has a variety of free online courses to get you started, and accredited programs that you can also follow if you decide that this is the career for you. You can even earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s-level diploma by following our Frontend Web Development path!

To learn more, get in touch with one of our student advisors.

How To Become A Web Developer — Everything You Need To Know

Technology plays a huge role in our daily lives, from the simplest of apps to the most groundbreaking inventions. Every website or piece of software that we encounter has been built by a web developer — but what exactly is web development, and what does a web developer do?

To the outside eye, it can seem like a complicated, confusing and somewhat inaccessible field. So, to shed some light on this fascinating industry, we’ve put together the ultimate introduction to web development and what it takes to become a fully-fledged web developer.

In this guide, we’ll go through the basics of web development in detail, and show you the most essential skills and tools you’ll need to break into the industry. Let’s get some background first, though — we need to learn to walk before we can run. If you’re already familiar with the basics of web development and its history, just click the anchor link to skip straight to a later section.

Let’s go!

1. What is Web Development?
Web development is the process of building websites and applications for the internet, or for a private network known as an intranet. Web development is not concerned with the design of a website; rather, it’s all about the coding and programming that powers the website’s functionality.

From the most simple, static web pages to social media platforms and apps, from ecommerce websites to content management systems (CMS); all the tools we use via the internet on a daily basis have been built by web developers.

Web development can be broken down into three layers: client-side coding (frontend), server-side coding (backend) and database technology.

Let’s take a look at each of these layers in more detail.

Client-side
Client-side scripting, or frontend development, refers to everything that the end user experiences directly. Client-side code executes in a web browser and directly relates to what people see when they visit a website. Things like layout, fonts, colours, menus and contact forms are all driven by the frontend.

Server-side
Server-side scripting, or backend development, is all about what goes on behind the scenes. The backend is essentially the part of a website that the user doesn’t actually see. It is responsible for storing and organizing data, and ensuring that everything on the client-side runs smoothly. It does this by communicating with the frontend. Whenever something happens on the client-side — say, a user fills out a form — the browser sends a request to the server-side. The server-side “responds” with relevant information in the form of frontend code that the browser can then interpret and display.

Learn more: What’s the difference between frontend and backend?

Database technology
Websites also rely on database technology. The database contains all the files and content that are necessary for a website to function, storing it in such a way that makes it easy to retrieve, organize, edit and save. The database runs on a server, and most websites typically use some form of relational database management system (RDBMS).

To summarize: the frontend, backend and database technology all work together to build and run a fully functional website or application, and these three layers form the foundation of web development.

The Difference Between Web Development and Web Design
You might hear the terms web development and web design used interchangeably, but these are two very different things.

Imagine a web designer and web developer working together to build a car: the developer would take care of all the functional components, like the engine, the wheels and the gears, while the designer would be responsible for both the visual aspects — how the car looks, the layout of the dashboard, the design of the seats — and for the user experience provided by the car, so whether or not it’s a smooth drive.

Web designers design how the website looks and feels. They model the layout of the website, making sure it’s logical, user-friendly and pleasant to use. They consider all the different visual elements: what colour schemes and fonts will be used? What buttons, drop-down menus and scrollbars should be included, and where? What interactive touchpoints does the user interact with to get from point A to B? Web design also considers the information architecture of the website, establishing what content will be included and where it should be placed.

Web design is an extremely broad field, and will often be broken down into more specific roles such as User Experience Design, User Interface Design and Information Architecture.

It is the web developer’s job to take this design and develop it into a live, fully functional website. A frontend developer takes the visual design as provided by the web designer and builds it using coding languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. A backend developer builds the more advanced functionality of the site, such as the checkout function on an ecommerce site.

In short, a web designer is the architect, while the web developer is the builder or engineer.

Learn more: What is the difference between a web developer and a web designer?

2. A Brief History of the World Wide Web

The web as we know it today has been decades in the making. To help understand how web development works, let’s go back to where it all started and consider how the internet has evolved over the years.

A timeline showing the history of the World Wide Web

1965: The first WAN (Wide Area Network)
The internet is essentially a network of networks, connecting all different WANs. WAN stands for Wide Area Network, a telecommunications network that spans a large geographical distance. The first WAN was established in 1965 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Later on, this WAN would be known as ARPANET. It was initially funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Department of Defense.

1969: The first ever internet message
In October 1969, UCLA student Charley Kline sent the first ever internet message. He tried to send the word “login” to a computer at the Stanford Research Institute via the ARPANET network, but the system crashed after the first two letters. However, about an hour later, the system recovered and the full text was successfully delivered.

1970s: The rise of the LAN (Local Area Network)
The early 70s saw the development of several experimental LAN technologies. LAN stands for Local Area Network, a computer network that connects nearby devices in the same buildings — such as in schools, universities, and libraries. Some notable milestones include the development of Ethernet at Xerox Parc from 1973-1974, and the development of ARCNET in 1976.

1982 – 1989: Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), Internet Protocol (IP), the Domain Name System and Dial-Up Access
In 1982, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) emerged as the ARPANET protocol, and TCP/IP remains the standard internet protocol today. In 1983, the Domain Name System was established, providing a more user-friendly way of labelling and designating websites (i.e. careerfoundry.com instead of a series of numbers). In 1987, Cisco shipped its first router, and in 1989, World.std.com became the first commercial provider of dial-up internet access.

1990: Tim Berners-Lee and HTML
In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) developed HTML — HyperText Markup Language. HTML became, and still is, a fundamental building block of the internet.

1991: The World Wide Web Goes Mainstream
With the rise of the visual internet browser, the World Wide Web made its way into the mainstream. As of 2018, there are more than 4 billion internet users around the globe.

3. What Does a Web Developer Do?

The role of the web developer is to build and maintain websites. Web developers can work in-house or freelance, and the specific tasks and responsibilities involved will vary depending on whether they’re working as a frontend, backend or full stack developer. Full stack developers specialize in both the frontend and backend; we’ll go into more detail about what a full stack developer does later on.

Web developers are responsible for building a product that meets both the client’s needs and those of the customer or end user. Web developers collaborate with stakeholders, clients and designers in order to understand the vision: how should the final website look and function?

A large part of web development also revolves around identifying and fixing bugs in order to constantly optimize and improve a website or system. Web developers are therefore keen problem solvers, regularly coming up with solutions and workarounds to keep things running smoothly.

Of course, all web developers are proficient in certain programming languages. However, different developers will work with different languages depending on their specific job title and area of expertise. Let’s take a look at the different layers of web development and the associated tasks in more detail.

Learn more: What is a typical day in the life of a web developer?

A comparison of the tasks of a frontend developer vs. backend developer vs. full-stack developer
What does a frontend developer do?
It is the frontend developer’s job to code the frontend of a website or application; that is, the part of the website that the user sees and interacts with. They take the backend data and turn it into something that is easily comprehensible, visually pleasing and fully functional for the everyday user. They will work from designs provided by the web designer and bring them to life using HTML, JavaScript and CSS (more on those later!).

The frontend developer implements the website’s layout, interactive and navigational elements such as buttons and scrollbars, images, content and internal links (links that navigate from one page to another within the same website). Frontend developers are also responsible for ensuring optimal display across different browsers and devices. They will code the website in such a way that makes it responsive or adaptive to various screen sizes, so that the user gets the same experience whether they’re visiting the website on mobile, desktop or tablet.

Frontend developers will also carry out usability tests and fix any bugs that arise. At the same time, they will consider SEO best practices, maintain software workflow management, and develop tools that enhance how the user interacts with a website in any browser.

What does a backend developer do?
The backend is essentially the brains behind the face (the frontend). A backend developer is therefore responsible for building and maintaining the technology needed to power the frontend, consisting of three parts: a server, an application and a database.

The code that backend developers create ensures that everything the frontend developer builds is fully functional, and it is the backend developer’s job to make sure that the server, application and database all communicate with each other. So how do they do this? First, they use server-side languages such as PHP, Ruby, Python and Java to build the application. Then they use tools like MySQL, Oracle and SQL Server to find, save or edit data and deliver it back to the user in frontend code.

Just like frontend developers, backend developers will liaise with the client or business owner in order to understand their needs and requirements. They will then deliver these in a number of ways depending on the specifics of the project. Typical backend development tasks include creating, integrating and managing the database, building server-side software using backend frameworks, developing and deploying content management systems (for a blog, for example), as well as working with web server technologies, API integration and operating systems.

Backend developers are also responsible for testing and debugging any backend elements of a system or application.

What does a full-stack developer do?
A full stack developer is someone who understands, and can work across, the “full stack” of technology: i.e. both the frontend and the backend. Full stack developers are experts in every stage of the web development process, meaning they are well-equipped to get hands on, but can also guide on strategy and best practices.

Most full stack developers have gathered many years of experience in a variety of different roles, giving them a solid grounding across the entire web development spectrum. Full stack developers are proficient in both frontend and backend languages and frameworks, as well as in server, network and hosting environments. They are also well-versed in both business logic and user experience.

Mobile Developers
Web developers may also specialize in mobile app development, either for iOS or Android.

iOS developers build apps that run with the iOS operating system — the one used by Apple devices. iOS developers are fluent in Swift, the programming language that Apple created specifically for their apps.

Android developers build apps that are compatible with all Android devices, such as Samsung smartphones. Java is the official programming language for Android.

Learn more:Your guide to mobile app development tools

4. Programming Languages, Libraries and Frameworks

In order to build websites and apps, web developers work with languages, libraries and frameworks. Let’s take a look at each of these in detail, as well as some other tools that web developers use in their day-to-day work.

What are languages?
In the world of web development, languages are the building blocks that programmers use to create websites, apps and software. There are all different types of languages, including programming languages, markup languages, style sheet languages and database languages.

Programming languages
A programming language is essentially a set of instructions and commands which tell the computer to produce a certain output. Programmers use so-called “high-level” programming languages to write source code. High-level languages use logical words and symbols, making them easy for humans to read and understand. High-level languages can be classified as either compiled or interpreted languages.

C++ and Java, for instance, are compiled high-level languages; they are first saved in a text-based format that is comprehensible for human programmers but not for computers. In order for the computer to run the source code, it needs to be converted to a low-level language; i.e. machine code. Compiled languages tend to be used to create software applications.

Interpreted languages like Perl and PHP do not need to be compiled. Instead, source code written in these languages can be run through an interpreter — a program that reads and executes code. Interpreted languages are generally used for running scripts, such as those used to generate content for dynamic websites.

Low-level languages are those that can be directly recognized by and executed on the computer hardware; they don’t need to be interpreted or translated. Machine language and assembly language are some common examples of low-level languages.

Some of the most popular programming languages of 2018 include Java, C, C++, Python, C#, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby and Perl.

Learn more: A beginner’s guide to the 10 most popular programming languages

Markup languages
Markup languages are used to specify the formatting of a text file. In other words, a markup language tells the software that displays the text how the text should be formatted. Markup languages are completely legible to the human eye — they contain standard words — but the markup tags are not visible in the final output.

The two most popular markup languages are HTML and XML. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and is used for the creation of websites. When added to a plain text document, HTML tags describe how this document should be displayed by a web browser. To understand how HTML works, let’s take the example of bold tags. The HTML version would be written as follows:

<b>Make this sentence bold!</b>

When the browser reads this, it knows to display that sentence in bold. This is what the user sees:

Make this sentence bold!
Learn more: What is HTML? A beginner’s guide
XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. It is a markup language very similar to HTML; however, while HTML was designed to display data with a focus on how it looks, XML was designed purely to store and transport data. Unlike HTML, XML tags are not predefined; rather, they are created by the author of the document. The point of XML is to simplify data sharing and transport, platform changes and data availability, as it provides a software and hardware-independent means of storing, transporting and sharing data. You can learn more about XML and how it works here.

Style sheet languages
A style sheet is basically a set of stylistic rules. Style sheet languages are used, quite literally, to style documents that are written in markup languages.

Consider a document written in HTML and styled using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), a style sheet language. The HTML is responsible for the content and structure of the web page, while CSS determines how this content should be presented visually. CSS can be used to add colours, change fonts, insert backgrounds and borders, as well as to style forms. CSS is also used to optimize web pages for responsive design, ensuring they adapt their layout to whatever device the user is on.

Learn more: What is CSS?

Database languages
Languages are not only used for building websites, software and apps; they are also used to create and manage databases.

Databases are used to store huge volumes of data. The Spotify music app, for example, uses databases to store music files, as well as data about the user’s listening preferences. Likewise, social media apps like Instagram use databases to store user profile information; every time a user updates their profile in some way, the app’s database will also update.

Databases are not designed to understand the same languages that apps are programmed in, so it’s essential to have a language that they do understand — like SQL, the standard language for accessing and manipulating relational databases. SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It has its own markup, and basically enables programmers to work with the data held in a database system.

What are libraries and frameworks?

Web developers also work with libraries and frameworks. Despite much confusion, they are not the same thing — although they are both there to make the developer’s job easier.

Libraries and frameworks are essentially sets of prewritten code, but libraries are smaller and tend to be used for more specific use-cases. A library contains a collection of useful code, grouped together to be reused later. The purpose of a library is to enable developers to reach the same end goal while writing less code to get there.

Let’s take the example of JavaScript, the language, and jQuery, a JavaScript library. Rather than writing, say, ten lines of code in JavaScript, the developer can take the condensed, prewritten version from the jQuery library — saving time and effort.

Learn more: JavaScript vs. jQuery — What’s the difference?

A framework contains ready-made components and tools that enable the developer to write code faster, and many frameworks also contain libraries. It gives the developer a structure to work from, and the framework you choose to work with will largely dictate the way you build your website or app, so choosing a framework is a big decision. Some popular frameworks include Bootstrap, Rails and Angular.

The easiest way to understand libraries and frameworks is to imagine you are building a house. The framework provides the foundation and the structure, as well as instructions or guidelines for completing certain tasks. Say you want to install an oven in your new home: you could buy the separate components and build the oven from scratch, or you could pick a ready-made oven from the store. Just like building a website, you can write the code from scratch or you can take pre-written code from a library and simply insert it.

Learn more: Should I learn Ruby on Rails?

Other web development tools
Web developers will also use a text editor, such as Atom, Sublime or Visual Studio Code, to write their code; a web browser, such as Chrome or Firefox; and an extremely crucial tool: Git!

Git is a version control system where developers can store and manage their code. As a web developer, it’s inevitable that you’ll make constant changes to your code, so a tool like Git that enables you to track these changes and reverse them if necessary is extremely valuable. Git also makes it easier to work with other teams and to manage multiple projects at once. Git has become such a staple in the world of web development that it’s now considered really bad practice not to use it.

Another extremely popular tool is GitHub, a cloud interface for Git. GitHub offers all the version control functionality of Git, but also comes with its own features such as bug tracking, task management and project wikis. GitHub not only hosts repositories; it also provides developers with a comprehensive toolset, making it easier to follow best practices for coding. It is considered the place to be for open-source projects, and also provides a platform for web developers to showcase their skills. You can learn more about the importance of GitHub here.

Learn more: 7 essential tools for frontend development

5. What Does it Take to Become a Web Developer?

Infographic with statistics regarding the web development job market

A career in web development is challenging, financially rewarding, and has a lot to offer in terms of job security. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 15% employment growth for web developers between 2016 and 2026 — much faster than average — and web developer ranked as the 8th best job title in tech based on salary and employment rates.

At the time of writing, the average salary for a web developer in the United States is $76,271 per year. Of course, salary varies depending on location, years of experience and the specific skills you bring to the table; find out more about how much you could earn as a web developer here.

The first step to a career in web development is to learn the necessary languages, libraries and frameworks. You’ll also need to familiarize yourself with some of the above-mentioned tools, as well as some common terminology. For a beginner-friendly introduction, start with these 50 web development buzzwords that all new programmers should learn.

In terms of the languages you learn, it all depends on whether you want to focus on frontend or backend development. However, all web developers should be proficient in HTML, CSS and JavaScript, so start by learning these three. If you are interested in becoming a web developer, check out these 5 tips to get started or try our free 5-day short course.

How To Design a Website in 8 Simple Steps

Designing your own website. Seems daunting, doesn’t it? Well, fear not. Our guide will show you how anyone can build a website – with just a few pointers!

A lot of folks think that if you want to design a great website, you need to be some Silicon Valley whizz-kid or have state-of-the-art tools. The good news? That’s total garbage.

That said, you will need to know a thing or two about web design. After all, it’s important – so much so that 38% of visitors will leave a website if they find the layout unattractive.

You can think of web design like selling a car – it could have the most incredible engine, but if the chassis is hideous, people won’t be interested in buying it.

Here at Website Builder Expert, we know a thing or two about designing websites. So to help you out, we’ve put together this simple, easy to follow, eight step guide. For a quick overview, here’s what we’ll be covering:

Designing Websites: Our 8 Step Guide
Define Your Site’s Purpose and Strategy
Research the Latest Web Design Trends
Choose Your Platform
Select a Template and Start Customizing
Decide on Your Branding
Add In and Optimize Your Content
Publish Your Website
Analyze and Improve
Below, we’ll run through all eight steps in detail, and teach you exactly what to do at each stage. If you’re interested in designing a new website, or giving an existing one a makeover, then you’re in the right place.

Have your mouse at the ready, and get those creative juices flowing – it’s time to dive in.
Define Your Site’s Purpose and Strategy
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It sounds like such a simple point to make, but before you jump head-first into designing your website, you first need to be clear on its purpose.

Beyond simply knowing your industry and defining a content strategy, you need to think about what your USP (unique selling point) is, and how you want to come across.

People aren’t stupid. If you put yourself out there just to make a profit or raise your own profile, people will see through it. Your website’s design is directly linked to your brand, and it needs to come across as authentic and engaging.

“An organization’s ‘culture of purpose’ answers the critical questions of who it is and why it exists. They have a culture of purpose beyond making a profit.”

Punit Renjen, Deloitte

What are you trying to achieve?
Once your purpose is clear, the focus shifts towards what action you want visitors to take when they land on your website. Is your site there just to display information? To sell products? To get sign-ups?

The answer to this will ultimately dictate how your website looks and feels. Using ecommerce as an example, one crucial element of your design is your landing page.

According to Crowdspring – a top digital branding company – your landing page should be laser-focused around one product or deal, with a clear CTA (call to action) accompanying it.
Taking this one step further, we caught up with Wolfgang Bruns, a conversion rate expert at a global tech company. We asked him about the importance of having separate landing pages for different visitors, in order to individually tailor offers and products – a process known as customer segmentation. Here’s what he had to say:

Advice from the Experts
Wolfgang Burns“Understanding your users is essential to the success of any business. It means you can customize and improve the experience you deliver and better serve their needs. Doing that has a direct impact on the bottom line.

“Segmenting your traffic to provide a more relevant experience is your first step on the journey to a personalized user experience, and the business success that comes with it.”

Wolfgang Bruns, CRO Manager
Research the Latest Web Design Trends
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Web design evolves quickly, but there are some more prevalent trends you can learn from. At this point, it’s important to note that just because a web trend is current, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for you.

48% of people cite design as the most important factor of a website, so it’s important to take your time and look at what competitors are doing. Each sector will have different styles, so it’s vital you know whether you want to fit into your industry, or disrupt it.

Alex Vasili – a leading brand expert – believes you should always research by industry, rather than age or gender. When speaking to us about web design, he said:

Advice from the Experts
Alex Vasili“There’s a whole load of stuff in terms of color theory – which colors suggest certain emotions, and how they place you in a sort of feeling. I think it depends on whether you’re trying to disrupt or trying to fit in.

“If you’re trying to disrupt, then you want something completely different to what the sector is offering. But if you’re trying to fit in, there are clear patterns.

“If you’re a tech company, you’ll probably have some blue in there, whereas if you’re a start-up, you might have a really vibrant, hot color in there. The same goes for your font. You’ll want a really clean, simple design, and a lot of whitespace.”

Alex Vasili, Brand Manager

This goes to show the importance of knowing what you want before diving into the physical design itself. We’ll come back to color in the ‘Branding’ section, but to help you out, here are some current trends that are taking the internet by storm.

Micro-interactions
Micro-interactions are small animations which takes place when a user engages with a website. For example, if you ‘react’ to a post on Facebook, it will pop up with the relevant, animated emoji.
Micro-interactions are there to inject a website with some personality. Micro-interactions create a human touch point that actively makes your visitors feel like they are communicating with your website.

Micro-interactions can take many forms – clicking, hovering, scrolling etc. – and are important in building a relationship with users. They might not suit serious white-collar businesses, but most sites could benefit from a little interaction.

Brutalism
If you thought you wouldn’t be learning about architecture in this guide, we’re afraid you’re sadly mistaken. Brutalist web design takes its inspiration from mid-twentieth century building construction, and although many people see it as ugly, it just works.

Spanish fashion house Balenciaga was one of the first major companies to adopt a brutalist website back in 2016. And much like its seasonal trends, brutalism has quickly caught on.
Brutalism derives from the French word ‘brut’, meaning ‘raw’, and offers a basic, bold and striking approach to web design. It’s not for everyone, but those looking to disrupt their industry will certainly want to take note.

Chatbot Support
Here’s a stat for you: businesses spend nearly $1.3 trillion every year on customer service requests. It’s estimated that chatbots could reduce this by 30%.

Gone are the days when chatbots were mere gimmicks – now, they’re becoming ever more essential to customer-facing services.

The major draws of chatbots are time-efficiency and cost-effectiveness. They work 24/7, which frees up your time to get on with other matters. They also save you the expense of employing staff to work as customer service representatives.

Sure, chatbots aren’t perfect, but their emotional intelligence and ability to provide tailored support is improving by the day. There’s never been a better time to install one.

Choose Your Platform
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The first thing that springs to mind when you think of quality web design is a professional agency, right? And while top companies largely do a great job, they can be eye-wateringly expensive.

Luckily, there is another way: website builders and ecommerce platforms. These are DIY online tools that allow you to create and design your own website – without needing to know a single line of code!

Naturally, there are tons of options out there – of varying quality – but we’ve put in the legwork and researched the best on the market. Through a combination of expert research and thorough testing, we can now reveal the best options for designing your very own site.
Below, we’ll run through the top three options for both regular websites and online stores. First, though, let’s address the elephant in the room: WordPress.

What about WordPress?
WordPress.org is a self-hosted, open-source CMS (content management system) – but all you really need to know is that it’s the most popular platform for designing a website.

WordPress gives you total control over the look and feel of your website, and is technically free to use. We say this because, in order to get your website live, you’ll actually need to pay for web hosting, security, a domain name, and any additional plugins or themes you need.

The biggest issue with WordPress, though, is that it’s not really suitable for the average Joe. Unless you’re comfortable with code – or have the budget to hire a professional developer – WordPress will prove near-impossible to use.

For this reason, we’d recommend that people who are building their own site stick to website builders and ecommerce platforms.
Designing Websites: Website Builders
Unless you’re looking to sell online, website builders are the most effective way for non-tech whizzes to create their own website. If an online store is what you’re after, skip to our ecommerce platforms section.

From our expert research, we’ve been able to establish the 10 best website builders available to you today. All cater to different needs, but for a general overview, take a look at our quality scale below:
Wix
Wix Pros Wix Cons
Highly intuitive and easy-to-use editor Can’t switch templates after your website goes live
Great value for money May have to spend more on third party apps to scale your website
Strong help and support features The sheer choice and amount of customizable options can be overwhelming
The builder our users were most likely to recommend
Wix is generally regarded as the best website builder on the market. Its easy to use drag-and-drop editor gives you total creative control, allowing you to add in all your content and position it wherever you see fit.

There’s also a choice of 510 professionally designed templates, a bunch of amazing features which come built-in, and a huge app store where you can install any extras you may need.

From thoroughly testing the platform ourselves, we can confirm Wix lives up to the hype. Have a look at our final research scores and see for yourself:

wix logo
4.7out of 5
TOP CHOICE
Ease of Use
4.5 out of 5 stars
Features
4.5 out of 5 stars
Design Flexibility
4 out of 5 stars
Help and Support
5 out of 5 stars
Value For Money
4.5 out of 5 stars
Customer Score
5 out of 5 stars
Read Full Review
We also arranged for regular people, just like you, to sit down with Wix and attempt to design their own website. These volunteers were blown away by just how quick and easy Wix was to use, as well as the sheer choice of features on display. Here’s what they had to say:

“I was genuinely surprised that it was that quick [to design a website]. I didn’t think that it would all get done in an hour.”

“I like the side menu where you can add images and apps etc. because it was simple and easy to navigate.”

logo-wix-100×100
Wix is the best website builder on the market. Sign-up to its free plan and see what you make of it.
Wix Review – Read more about Wix in our in-depth review.
Wix Pricing – An overview of Wix’s pricing plans.

How to use Wix – A step-by-step guide for beginners.

Wix Editor vs Wix ADI – Learn about the different ways you can create a Wix website.

Squarespace
Squarespace Pros Squarespace Cons
Best quality templates in terms of design and flexibility Limited number of price plans
Best quality features of any builder on the market Not totally beginner friendly
Full customization control without the need for coding
Squarespace is a website builder that oozes class, and comes with a glossy, premium feel.

Squarespace prides itself on its templates. Their cutting-edge designs make them perfect for anyone in a creative field, such as photographers, artists, or graphic designers.

Squarespace also comes with an array of quality features. Here you can see how it scored in our research for all the major categories:

squarespace logo
4.3out of 5
Ease of Use
3.5 out of 5 stars
Features
4 out of 5 stars
Design Flexibility
5 out of 5 stars
Help and Support
4 out of 5 stars
Value For Money
3 out of 5 stars
Customer Score
4.5 out of 5 stars
Read Full Review
Squarespace proved a real hit with our users, too. Here’s just a couple of their thoughts:

“My website looks really clean and fresh. I think a lot of that is down to how well the template I chose is designed.”

“It’s a huge challenge to create a site by yourself unless you’re a designer, so the fact that the templates have industry-specific features is a huge benefit. I’d say that’s one of the most important factors [when designing a website].”

squarespace logo
Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial. Discover why creatives love it so much.
Squarespace Review – Discover why Squarespace is a dream for creatives.
How to use Squarespace – Our simple handbook for using Squarespace.

Squarespace Pricing Review – Which plans offer real value for money?

Weebly
Weebly Pros Weebly Cons
Best for small businesses, with all the basic tools you need to build a great business site Drag-and-drop customization is limited – unless you’re confident with code
Cool customizable templates No personal restore option, so if your site goes down, you’re totally reliant on the Weebly support team
Really helpful SEO guides in Weebly’s help and support center No ADI option (short for Artificial Design Intelligence, this is where a website builder uses information you provide to automatically create a site for you)
Weebly is marketed as a website builder for all, but really, it specializes in small business websites. It has a great range of templates to choose from, and a drag-and-drop editor that’s pretty easy to get to grips with.

Weebly really comes into its own when you start looking at its features – there’s hundreds to choose from, and most of them are brilliant! For a closer look at where Weebly’s strengths lie, take a look at our scores:

weebly_logotype
4.1out of 5
Ease of Use
3.5 out of 5 stars
Features
4.5 out of 5 stars
Design Flexibility
4 out of 5 stars
Help and Support
3.5 out of 5 stars
Value For Money
4.5 out of 5 stars
Customer Score
5 out of 5 stars
Read Full Review
Our users who tested Weebly really liked how it helped them structure their site, and how it showed them that anyone really can build their own website:

“I think Weebly’s templates are a good way of introducing you to the structure and presentation of a website.”

“Overall, it was really easy to use, and kind of debunks the myth that it’s really, really difficult [to build a website].”

comparacion de editores de paginas web weebly
Weebly’s free plan lets you ‘try before you by’. Take a look at what all the fuss is about.
Weebly Review – Everything you need to know about Weebly.
How to use Weebly – 7 steps to getting your Weebly site online.

Wix vs Weebly vs Squarespace – The ultimate comparison.

Designing Websites: Ecommerce Platforms
Ecommerce platforms work in a very similar way to website builders, but they’re specifically designed to help you set up an online store. Some are purpose-built just for ecommerce, while others (like Wix) are website builders that have ecommerce functionalities.

Ecommerce Platforms Quality Scale
Shopify
Shopify Pros Shopify Cons
Sell across multiple channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Amazon and eBay You have to create your storefront between the editor and dashboard, meaning you’ll have to flick between the two
Brilliant inventory system which helps you manage your store Only platform to enforce its own transaction fee with Shopify Payments
Came first in our research for sales features and customer score Content doesn’t automatically reformat if you switch to a different theme
Shopify stands head and shoulders above its peers as the best ecommerce platform. It has a range of themes which are all designed with your products in mind, and more sales features than you can shake a stick at.

Where Shopify really excels, though, is away from your website. The platform allows you to broaden your online store’s reach by tapping into different channels, and by selling across various marketplaces and social media networks.

Here you can see how Shopify performed in our ecommerce platform testing:

shopify logo small website builder
4.7out of 5
TOP CHOICE
Ease of Use
4 out of 5 stars
Design Flexibility
4 out of 5 stars
Sales Features
5 out of 5 stars
Website Features
4.5 out of 5 stars
Help and Support
4.5 out of 5 stars
Value For Money
3.5 out of 5 stars
Customer Score
5 out of 5 stars
Read Full Review
shopify homepage
Shopify provides a gentle slope into designing your own ecommerce website.
Shopify is slightly different to website builders in that you predominantly work from a dashboard, rather than an editor.

Because there is so much more to consider with online stores – like marketing, inventory, and shipping – it makes sense that you have a hub to manage everything from, including your website’s design.

shopify logo small website builder
Shopify’s 14-day free trial lets you get a real feel for the platform before deciding whether to invest
Shopify Review – Understand the power of Shopify, and what it could do for your business.
How Does Shopify Work? – Our 9-step guide covers all the basics.

Shopify Pricing Review – Is Shopify worth the investment?

Wix eCommerce
Wix eCommerce Pros Wix eCommerce Cons
Eye-catching designs – add product videos to give customers a better shopping experience No social media integration – doesn’t let you sell across multiple channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
Advanced ecommerce tools, including abandoned cart recovery to catch customers who have left items at the checkout Too much creative freedom, which can get in the way of ecommerce design best practices
Multilingual sites – grow your business globally by creating multiple sites for different countries
“But haven’t you already covered Wix?” Well, yes – but building an online store with Wix is a whole other ball game!

Although Wix can’t rival Shopify when building a ‘pure’ online store, it’s perfect for people who just want to have a store section on their website.

Anyone who sells products on the side could benefit from Wix. If you’re in a band, for example, the main purpose of your site will probably be to provide fans with tour information and take bookings for gigs.

However, you may also want to sell merchandise, such as tour tops, albums, and branded instruments. Wix makes it easy to either build an online store from the off, or add in a store section further down the line.

wix ecommerce homepage
Wix provides attractive template designs to really show off your products and catch the customer’s eye
Here are Wix’s ecommerce-specific scores from our research:

wix logo
4.7out of 5
Ease of Use
4 out of 5 stars
Design Flexibility
4.5 out of 5 stars
Sales Features
4.5 out of 5 stars
Website Features
4.5 out of 5 stars
Help and Support
5 out of 5 stars
Value For Money
4.5 out of 5 stars
Customer Score
4.5 out of 5 stars
Read Full Review
Squarespace and Weebly also offer online store pricing plans, so if you just want the option to sell online, it’s worth having a look around.

comparacion de editores de paginas web wix
Use Wix’s platform free of charge and see whether it’s worth upgrading to the online store plans.
Wix eCommerce Review – Discover why Wix is the best website builder for ecommerce.
Wix vs Shopify – Learn more about the difference between the two platforms.

BigCommerce
BigCommerce Pros BigCommerce Cons
Most scalable ecommerce platform Hard for ecommerce beginners to get to grips with
More built-in features than any competitor No mobile app to run your store on the go
Lets you sell across multiple channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
Fantastic SEO tools
Between Shopify and Wix, BigCommerce is far more similar to the former. It’s designed solely for selling online, and is widely regarded as one of the best platforms to create an online store with.

One thing BigCommerce has over Shopify is the amount of built-in features it has. With Shopify, you may end up spending far more than just the standard monthly fee to install a whole bunch of apps – many of which are free to use with BigCommerce.

On the flip-side, BigCommerce is undoubtedly harder to use than Shopify. Some of the terms it uses are quite technical, and the actual design of your site can get quite complex – meaning it’s not exactly a beginner-friendly platform.

bigcommerce homepage
BigCommerce is a powerful online store builder with tons of built-in tools
Still, BigCommerce more than held its own through our research testing:

bigcommerce logo
4.2out of 5
Ease of Use
3.5 out of 5 stars
Design Flexibility
3.5 out of 5 stars
Sales Features
4.5 out of 5 stars
Website Features
4.5 out of 5 stars
Help and Support
3.5 out of 5 stars
Value For Money
4 out of 5 stars
Customer Score
3.5 out of 5 stars
Read Full Review
We’d see BigCommerce as a platform for those who are both more technically skilled and budget-conscious. It’s really designed for SMEs, so anyone just looking to sell a few products a month will be better off with a website builder that has ecommerce functionality.

bigcommerce logo
BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial for you to find your feet.
BigCommerce Review – 7 crucial things to know before using BigCommerce.
BigCommerce vs Shopify – Read our comparison as these two titans clash.

BigCommerce Pricing Review – Is BigCommerce the best valued ecommerce platform?

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4
Select a Template / Theme
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Now you’re clear on your site’s purpose, clued up on the latest web design trends, and have a platform in mind, you should have a much better idea of what you need from a template.

A template, sometimes referred to as a theme, is the layout of your site. Think of a template like the structure of your house – it forms its basic appearance, before you fill it with all your belongings.

Most platforms will offer you a range of templates to choose from, which come pre-filled with example content.

Templates are usually divided into industry categories, making it super simple to sift through them and find ones that are relevant to you. Each category will have templates with built-in features that are relevant to that industry, saving you the time and effort of adding them in later.

wix cafe templates
Wix has 510 professionally designed templates, split across 15 main categories
For example, if you wanted a website for your new coffee shop, you may browse the templates listed under ‘cafe’. Most of these will already have a contact form, menu page, and contact details built into the template, as they are all related to what a cafe website would require.

All templates can be previewed before you begin editing, so you can get a clear idea of what it looks like – and, more importantly, whether it fits your needs.

wix coffee house template
Rolling with the example of a coffee shop, it’s worth checking out what other cafes are doing.

Research suggests that website users find information faster by scrolling, rather than by flicking across different pages. So, if your website just needs some basic information, it may be worth considering a one-page template.

3 Simple Criteria to Help You Choose Your Website Design
Wix Templates Review – Learn what we really think of Wix’s templates.

Squarespace Templates Review – Just how good is Squarespace’s design?

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5
Decide on Your Branding
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The time has come to start designing your website! Now, let’s put what we’ve learned into practice.

When designing your site, you should think about how everything you do relates to your overall brand. Everything from the color scheme to font style and imagery play a part in telling your brand’s story. It’s important they’re all sending the same message.

Color Scheme
Color is one of a brand’s biggest communication tools. In fact, according to Color Matters, a signature color can boost brand recognition by 80%.

There’s a lot of psychology behind people’s perception of color, so it’s important to understand how it’s used in relation to your industry. To help you out, here’s an infographic we’ve put together that helps explain what different colors mean and how they’re used.

Personality of color infographic by website builder expert
Most brands have one dominant color, then two or three secondary colors. Blue is the most popular color, with one third of the top 100 brands using it in their logo.

If you want your site to be in-keeping with modern trends, then vibrant colors are the way to go. Color experts, Pantone, recently voted ‘Living Coral’ as color of the year for 2019:

pantone color of the year
Source: Pantone
How to Choose a Color for Your Website
How to Make a Logo – The 4 best online logo makers.

Font Style
Similar to color, the font you opt for has a big impact on what people think about your website. The average website user will read about 20% of the text on any given page, so it’s crucial to entice them with an appropriate vibe.

Naturally, white-collar businesses will want to use classic styles of font. Fonts like Arial and Helvetica are synonymous with professionalism, and therefore make sense when discussing serious matters.

A more fun or playful brand, however, may wish to explore more abstract fonts. It’s important to strike a balance between interesting and readable, though – the last thing you want to do is alienate your readership.

font versatility
It’s important to choose a font that is readable, versatile, and on-brand.
As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid using Comic Sans font. That is, unless you’re planning a kids birthday party!

Interested in reading in-depth about how to use different font styles? Check out our guide on how to pick the best font style for your website.
Imagery
Images are how you turn a modest website into a visual feast.

Visual content is useful for increasing clicks and engagement, but on a more basic level, images simply stick in the mind. According to one study, if we hear a piece of information, we’ll only remember 10% of it – but if you add a picture, you’ll remember an incredible 65%.

That said, be careful not to overload your site with images. Lots of high-quality images might look great, but they can slow your site down. Web users are impatient, and will vote with their keyboards if your site doesn’t load quickly.

Image help:
Where to find professional images for your website

Free image editors we recommend

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6
Add In and Optimize Your Content
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So, now you know what you want to add to your website, there are two things you need to think about: positioning and optimization.

Positioning refers to where your content sits on each page, and how it’s laid out. Optimization, meanwhile, is the process of tweaking content to help it rank higher on search engines, such as Google or Bing.

Below, we’ll discuss the technicalities of both, and explain why they’re important.

Positioning
Research into reading patterns teaches us that people commonly consume content in an ‘F’ format. In simple terms, this means that website users will scan a page in a shape that resembles an F.

This picture is taken from a Neilson study, where the group tracked the eye movement of readers on a web page.

neilson content eyetracking
A classic example of how people read information in an ‘F’ pattern.
This is why navigation bars on websites are nearly always displayed across the top of the page. It’s the first thing people are drawn to when landing on the site.

It’s good practice to lay out your content with this in mind, so as many people as possible see the important stuff.

Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO, for short) is when you make changes to your website in order to increase the quality or quantity of people landing on your pages. Think of SEO like this:

If you own a racing car, the aim is to win a race. You can have the fanciest looking car, but it’s what’s under the hood that’s going to make a difference.

When you make tweaks to the engine, replace the tyres, or lighten the chassis, what you’re doing is optimizing your car. It may look the same, but you now stand a far better chance of winning the race!

SEO is much the same. Your site may not look any different, but making tweaks to content, images, and responsiveness can have a huge effect on how highly it ranks in a search engine’s results.

Here are just a few of the most important things you can do when designing an optimized website:

Metadata
Beyond your actual content, page titles and descriptions – known as metadata – are the easiest way of telling Google what your site’s all about. Metadata appears in the search results, and allows users to discover what’s on your webpage before they click on it.

Metadata example
Most people are familiar with Google’s search results and how websites are presented.
Image Compression
Images are typically quite large files. This means that having a lot of imagery can slow your site down, leading to people becoming impatient and leaving it before it’s even fully loaded. This is known as ‘bouncing’ off the page.

To put that into some context:

Webpages that have a loading time of two seconds or less have a bounce rate of 9%, compared to those which take five seconds, which have a 38% bounce rate.

Source: Unbounce

So, what can you do about it? Why image compression, of course!

There are tons of free online compression tools that will reduce the number of pixels in your images. And while it’s important not to distort the quality of imagery, compressing pictures can have a big impact on page loading speeds.

Image Alt Text
Alongside compressing images, another important part of SEO is to tell Google what an image represents. Unlike text, search engines can’t ‘read’ images, so by adding alt text to an image, you are effectively helping them understand what it being depicted.

squarespace image alt text
Squarespace makes it really easy to add alt text to images
Alt text doesn’t appear directly on your website – it’s added in when you’re editing – so you don’t need to worry too much about making it your most inspiring work (as long as it’s representative of the image.)

Squarespace SEO Review – How to rank highly with Squarespace.
Mobile Responsiveness
This is a big one. In 2018, 58% of all internet browsing took place on mobile devices. That’s why Google favors websites that format properly on mobile. If yours doesn’t, you’ve got a serious problem.

Most templates these days are mobile responsive, and will automatically reformat your content to fit various screen sizes. It is, however, worth thinking about if you want anything to appear differently to mobile users.

Nailing this will improve your users’ experience, and earn you some serious SEO brownie points.

Internal Linking
Internal linking is where you direct users to another webpage on your site via a hyperlink. This is generally done when you mention something that you have related content on. This tells Google and co. that you are an authority on the subject, since you have multiple articles about it.

‘E.A.T’ stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. By writing in-depth about a subject and internally linking to more content related to it, you are showing search engines that you really know your stuff, which should in turn help you rank highly.

Use Our SEO guides to become an optimization expert!
Website Architecture

Anchor Text

Backlinks

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7
Publish Your Website
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At this point, let’s have a quick recap of what you should have done by now:

Established your website’s purpose
Researched the latest web design trends and done some competitor analysis
Settled on a platform and theme to build your website with
Decided on your branding (color scheme, font style etc.)
Created your website and optimized its content
Now, it’s time to check everything works before you go live!

Ask your family, friends, and colleagues to test the site in preview mode (all website builders and ecommerce platforms will have this), and see if they find anything wrong. You can even get members of the general public to test it too, and to offer their thoughts.

Some common things you want to check for are:

All your links work properly, and they direct users to the right page
All your content is readable and easy to find
You are never more than three clicks away from the homepage
Your site looks great across desktop, mobile, and tablet
Loading speeds are no more than 5 seconds on any page (use a free site speed tester to check this)
For more details, you can find loads of UX (user experience) checklists online. It’s important to be as thorough as possible before you go live. Think of it like a restaurant’s opening night:

Your restaurant interior, menu, chefs, and entertainment could all be spot on, but if you’re understaffed, it will leave a bad first impression on many customers – something that’s hard to recover from.

Always take the time to properly check your website before it goes live – first impressions count. After that, you’re ready: publish your site, and send it out into the online world!

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8
Analyze and Improve
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Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of a live website. You can kick back and relax now, right? Well, not quite.

It’s important to keep track of how your website is performing. Without meaning to sound like a pushy personal trainer, you have to keep working and improving!

Most platforms have their own built-in analytics, or at least have an app you can install. Alternatively, you can connect your site to Google Analytics, so you can track things like:

How many page views you’re getting
The amount of time users are spending on each page
What your bounce rate is
Conversion rate (for ecommerce)
These stats, known as behavioral metrics, help give you an idea of which web pages need some attention. They also help you spot where you need to improve your SEO.

shopify analytics
Shopify’s analytics dashboard is the home of all data insights.
The truth is, a web designer’s job is never truly done. If you just sit back and admire your work, others will overtake you.

We’re not suggesting you need to be making by-the-minute changes, but keeping on top of your site’s performance and shifts in web design trends will go a long way.

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Summary: How to Design a Website
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And… there you have it. You’re now armed with the essentials for designing a website. Let’s look at those steps one more time.

Designing Websites: The 8 Steps
Define Your Site’s Purpose and Strategy
Research the Latest Web Design Trends
Choose Your Platform
Select a Template and Start Customizing
Decide on Your Branding
Add In and Optimize Your Content
Publish Your Website
Analyze and Improve
Bookmark this guide as your website design manual. That way, you can always revisit it if you’re unsure about best practice, or basic design ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’.

Remember: keep an artistic eye on your competitors, and don’t be afraid to learn from the best. Follow the steps in our guide, and you’ll be turning dull design into delightful browsing in no time.

Oh, and if you ever get stuck, drop a comment below – we’ll try to help you as best we can!

The truth is, a web designer’s job is never truly done. If you just sit back and admire your work, others will overtake you.

We’re not suggesting you need to be making by-the-minute changes, but keeping on top of your site’s performance and shifts in web design trends will go a long way.

9 SKILLS EVERY SUCCESSFUL WEB DESIGNER NEEDS—AND HOW TO LEARN THEM

Web designer. Is it just us, or does that have a nice ring to it? And it’s not just a catchy title—learning web design can lead to an exciting and fascinating career, especially for a creative problem-solver like you.

But just the idea of getting started in web design can be overwhelming. Maybe you’re secretly thinking: what do web designers do? Or maybe even: what is web design? (Yes, we were there at one point, too!)

As you consider whether web design is the right career path for you, you need some answers to the big questions: What do you really need to know? Should you learn to code? What tools do you need to have? How about managing clients?

Don’t worry! Getting started designing websites is more easy than you might imagine. Just start with these web and visual design skills and you’ll soon be on your way.

(Psst! You can learn ALL the skills listed below in Skillcrush’s Web Designer Blueprint, an entirely online program designed to take you from zero to web designer in 3 months flat. We’ve also got a Visual Designer program that covers everything from color theory and typography to becoming a Photoshop master. It’s the perfect digital course for creative types.)

How to Learn Web Design: Tech Skills 101
First, let’s go over the technical side of becoming a web designer. All those strange acronyms and terms can seem intimidating, but they’re actually pretty easy (and super fun!) once you get to know them.

1. VISUAL DESIGN
It might seems obvious that you need design knowledge to be a web designer, but visual design focuses on digital products, so it might be different than what you expect. In this case, design principles are what determine the look and feel of a site. They can range from proportions to typography, to grid systems, to color theory. In other words: visual design is your chance to dig into creating mood boards and type hierarchy and experimenting with web fonts and color palettes.

2. UX
Here come those funny abbreviations! UX stands for user experience, or how people feel (calm, frustrated, etc.) when they use a website. Above all else, UX is about approaching your designs from a user-first perspective—how can you design a website that helps them get exactly what they need?

To do that, you’ll research your users and create “personas” (profiles of imaginary ideal users). You’ll lay out the pages and content with a site map. You’ll figure out the path users take on your site in user flows. (For example, do they always click straight through to social media? Or are they just looking for contact information?) And you’ll build wireframes to sketch out the key parts of each webpage. All of these components are essential to practicing user experience design.

Pro tip: Still confused about the difference between all these types of design skills, and which one you should learn first? We recently broke down the difference between visual design and web or website design, as well as UX design and graphic design if you want more clarity!
3. DESIGN SOFTWARE
Like any craftsperson, to do your work you need the right tools. Knowing your way around the industry standards will be helpful in every case and critical in many. While designing a website can be done right in a web browser, tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Sketch are ones that almost all designers use for important parts of their job like creating mockups, designing assets (think logos and images), and of course modifying and enhancing photos. You should learn how to use them (although, if you’re just getting started, consider trying out a few free photoshop alternatives instead)

4. HTML
You might not have imagined that a web designer would need to know how to code. But nowadays it’s an expected skill for most design jobs. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language, which is the coding language used to put content on a web page and give it structure. That means it’s how you turn a bunch of words into headlines, paragraphs, and footers. And it’s also how you get the “cool” content like photos, videos, and graphics on a website.

5. CSS
And then there’s HTML’s partner, CSS or Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is the code that tells browsers how to format and style HTML for a web page. In other words, it’s what makes all the text and other content look good. With CSS, you can adjust the colors, change the fonts, or add a stunning background—and so much more! This is where your eye for design really shines and how you can put your creative stamp on every site you create.

Pro tip: If you want to start learning web design for free, HTML & CSS are great skills to start with. We’ve got our free 10-day coding bootcamp if you’re ready right here and now. Otherwise, take a look at our roundup of free resources for learning coding.

BONUS! JAVASCRIPT
While you can code up your designs using just HTML and CSS, if you can also program using JavaScript, you’ll have a huge leg up against the competition. JavaScript allows you to take static elements on your site and make them interactive—think Twitter feeds that update automatically, websites that look different when you’re logged in, image sliders, and more!

Soft Skills (Or the Secret Weapons Every Web Designer Needs)
Now that you have the design and tech parts down, you only need to add some management to keep yourself organized and effective in your web design work. These are the skills most web designers swear by, so save yourself some time by learning them now rather than later.

6. TIME MANAGEMENT
Whether you’re interested in learning web design to go freelance or to work for a company, you’ll need to stay on top of your schedule and your projects to be a standout web designer. This can mean getting to know productivity apps like task lists or calendars or, especially if you’re in a large organization, learning project tracking tools like Trello or JIRA. Whatever the tools, mastering the art of prioritizing and tracking your work will be essential for your success (and sanity!) in the busy world of web design.

7. COMMUNICATION
Staying in touch and getting your point across are also must-have skills for a designer. You can’t make a living from building websites without great communication. You’ll need to keep clients up-to-date on the progress of their projects plus pitch ideas and explain your creations. You might even be called on to do some copywriting or editing for sites, especially if you’re running your own one (wo)man shop. So buckle down on your writing and your presentation skills, and you’ll be sure to get your point across in every situation.

8. SEO / DIGITAL MARKETING / SOCIAL MEDIA
The skill set of SEO (search engine optimization), digital marketing, and social media might seem like it’s meant more for a salesperson than a web designer. But, since the Internet is the way so many companies sell today and since you’ll also need to sell your web designer talents (when you’re looking for a job or for freelance clients), you should wrap your head around them, too. Even knowing the basics of each and keeping them in mind for both client and your own sites will get you a long way in your web designer journey.

9. BUSINESS / CLIENT MANAGEMENT
And, as an employee or as a freelancer, understanding the bottom line will help you make sure you or your company is profitable and sustainable. You don’t have to go back for your MBA, but you should have an idea about the goals and finances of your employer or your own business so you can use them to guide your work. And, if you’re designing directly for clients, you should have a plan for making sure that your cash flow and project backlog are both healthy and doable in the short and long term.

How to Learn Web Design Online
As you can see, there’s nothing mysterious or mind-blowing about the skills you need to be a web designer, but then there is the question of where and how to learn them. A foundation in the tech side and a good handle on the organizational parts will both get you going and be there for you as you build your knowledge and your career in web design.

Skillcrush’s Web Designer Blueprint covers all the skills you need to become a web designer—without leaving the couch. Our courses are fully online and include 24/7 access to materials as well as lots of support from friendly instructors and your fellow budding web designers in the special online student community. You’ll even learn how to find, land, and complete your first paying web design project — all in just 3 months!

If you’re looking for an even DEEPER dive into all things visual design, take a look at our Visual Designer Blueprint. It’s perfect for creative types obsessed with colors, fonts, and all things visual.

Pro tip: You don’t need any design or coding experience to get started for any of our courses. So, join us now to get that exciting and fascinating career in web design you’ve been dreaming of.