If you’re thinking about developing your passion into a business venture, or a vessel through which you can express your interest and demonstrate your knowledge and/or abilities, you might be thinking about setting up a website.
This is a good place to start, and our Content Guru and Communications Assistant, Liv, has some advice on beginning your journey into web design.
I’ve had a website since I was 17. It started off as a free WordPress blog for the first few years, with many changes to the domain and themes as my ideas developed. Then I invested in a WordPress business plan and website builder and have since used it for a freelance business, a temporary e-commerce store and now, seven years on from it’s initial set up, my portfolio.
We go over the basics of web design in our Skills Programme and I think it’s really important to learn before diving in and starting up your own website. Websites are an investment of time – and sometimes money – and there will be technical roadblocks along the way. It’s good to be able to understand what some of these are and how to get through them so you don’t end up in a hot, flustered mess and eventually give up (or for at least a few months before plucking up the courage to give it another go). Understanding a bit of the jargon and platform basics from day one will stand you in good stead for the rest of this journey.
Alongside this initial learning, I think it’s important to do your research into which platform you’re going to use and what the limitations are with each payment plan they offer. Choosing the free option is a great way to start – especially if you’re just looking to learn and to get a feel for web building and designing. However, free plans do have limitations and if you’re setting up an e-commerce business for example, you might encounter these quite quickly. So, do your research and definitely read and watch a lot of reviews based specifically on the type of website you’re setting up. This could be a blog, an e-commerce website, a portfolio and you will need to determine the best host for that type of website and which plan you’ll need.
With a hosting platform in mind, it’s time to get some inspiration. We spend a lot of time on other peoples websites without consciously taking note of the design elements, or our likes and dislikes about a page’s features. Start writing these things down and bookmark the sites that you love, as well as those you don’t love so you can begin to narrow down what you want your own site to look like. Head to Pinterest and pin colour combinations and fonts you like the look of. Take a look at some free stock photography sites and download images that you like – what do they have in common? Are they dark and moody? Colourful and bold? Light and airy? Noticing trends in the things you like will help you begin to break down what it is you want your site and brand to look like.
I also follow a few web designers on social media. It’s great to see what they’re producing for clients as well as looking at website templates to get inspiration from. Do remember though, this is your website. Draw inspiration – but don’t copy (unless it’s a template that your host offers or you’re buying from a designer). It’s important that your site reflects you and your business so don’t obsess over trends or someone else’s work because these inconsistencies will be reflected in your brand and site. Be confident in your vibe, style and your vision.
You can find out more about our fully-funded Skills Programme here – including how our students use the digital skills they’ve learnt on our programme to deliver high-quality projects over the course of 8 weeks with leading employers.
Or you can click here to download our Information Pack.