Because so many people use the Internet for so many different purposes, website design is a vast field. There are informal, personal sites designed to amuse a few close friends. There are massive commercial sites designed to make millions of dollars in profit.
There are educational sites, entertaining sites, journalistic sites , the possibilities are endless. If you want your own website to stand out, you should look at where it fits in the bigger picture.
The first question you have to ask yourself is whether your site will be personal or professional. Do you want people to get know you by reading your site, or would you prefer to demonstrate formal expertise? This distinction will inform the tone of everything that goes on your site.
Next, shift your attention to your audience. One of the important questions many web designers forget to consider is the age of the people who visit them. Do you want to make a site that’s friendly to children, or are you only concerned with an adult audience? If you want to go all-ages, you’ll need to set several restrictions on your content.
Think about how people will get to your site. Do you anticipate visitors looking your site up from their phones or other mobile devices? If you intend to produce the sort of site that will make a handy reference for people on the go, building a mobile version will be important.
To get back to your content, ask yourself just how much of it you can generate. How often will you update? If you’re ready to produce a steady stream of frequent updates, a blog format should work well for you. If you anticipate a slower pace of content generation, another format may suit you better.
Is your website going to be commercial? Do you intend to sell anything? Don’t forget about advertisements; how involved in marketing do you intend to be? Even an informal, personal site can generate considerable ad revenue, and this will have an impact on how you run your site.
Speaking of advertising, do you intend to advertise your site? This may be a smart move if you’re planning a commercial site and you want to maximize your exposure to customers. The ways in which you intend to market your site should inform its design. You may need specialized content and formatting to accommodate traffic that comes to you through ads.
By this point, you should know enough to determine whether or not you can handle the design of your website on your own. Make an honest evaluation of your web design skills. Do you already know how to create the features you want? Do you have the time to learn? Perhaps the touch of a professional would serve you better, especially if you intend to launch a large commercial site.
As you can see, there are a lot of big-picture questions about your website that you should answer before you get down to details like where the navigation menu should go. If you take the time to consider your site from this wider perspective before you start building it, you’ll find you’re better equipped to make smart web design choices. Keep the big picture in mind and you’ll have no trouble creating a website that meets your needs.