Designing Your Own Website Isn't as Tricky as It Seems

Let’s kill the mystery around building your own Web site. Surfing the Web, you see different sites, some more elaborate than others, and assume there must be some magic involved. NO. Every site is simply structured despite the smoke and mirrors. Every site has a front-end and a back-end. That’s it. The front-end is the visual appearance of the site; the back-end is the source code and server-side functions. When you design a Web site, the first thing you design is the front-end.

Because the front-end is the visual aspect of the site, many design it the same way we’ve been designing print ads over the years, namely on a piece of paper with pencil in hand. Once the overall layout and color schemes are decided, designers work with software to build the page on the computer. Most use Photoshop or Illustrator. Using computer software lets you get the right sizes and proportions for your eventual layout. And it makes creating the static HTML page easier.

Because browsers “see” information differently, it can be quite the hassle to create a page that looks reasonable enough the same computer to computer. Some designers even design for each browser for greater control. Many Web hosts offer great templates and site-building software to aid in the process of turning that static page into a living code. Unless you are trained in HTML, writing back-end code may be more difficult a challenge than you want to tackle.

Most companies use templates and site-builders or else hire out a web designer to design their Web presence. It doesn’t have to be as costly as that, and you can have a lot more control over how your Web site looks than you may first believe. Don’t let the smoke and mirrors trick you. Even the flashiest sites are simply put together.