Designing a website may not seem like the easiest of tasks, but with the help of some new web building conveniences that have entered the market in the past few years it is possible to create a professional website for your business with only a small investment of your time and money. In fact, with the advent of greater choice in web design such as ready-made website templates, logos and other corporate necessities, you can build a website in three easy steps.
Step One: Plan Ahead
Before you delve into the world of web design and start looking for a suitable template, it's important to plan ahead. You need to clearly define your company's objectives beforehand so that the design selection process goes more quickly and you choose the right template.
For instance, who is your target audience? You must know your customer inside and out in order to choose the best site design for bringing in business. For instance, if most of your business comes from corporations and professionals you will need to choose a template that caters to that group of people – one that gives the right first impression and shows you are a serious business that can handle top-notch clients. In this case, a simple, efficient design will be your top preference. If, however, you are building an ecommerce website selling a range of goods, a template that can be customized for online shopping will probably be your design of choice. Perhaps you require a more "flashy" website? Flash templates are also an option and suit many different types of websites that rely on more than just text and a logo to make money.
Ensure that the template you eventually purchase is easy to customize and update. That's the whole point of buying a template in the first place – to make both the building of the website and its maintenance stress-free, affordable and fast. You will need to add your own content to the template and work with the overall theme once it is downloaded. Also, most businesses will want to add fresh content, site updates, links etc. as time goes by so keep this in mind when searching for that perfect template. If you plan to incorporate interactive features into your site, such as forms and chat areas, the template you choose should be able to handle this as well.
Step Two: Choose a Template
Now that you are prepared, you can begin shopping for a website template that will work best for your business. Start by researching the many website template companies on the market that offer professional designs for reasonable prices ($20-$40). Most companies offer the choice between copyrighted and non-copyrighted material as well, so if you want to be the only one using the template design spend a little more money to receive exclusive usage. One such website template company I found that offers reasonably priced templates is TemplateDogma(see the link in Resource Box). Once you purchase a copyrighted template it is taken off the market. If you don't find a template that fits your business precisely, investigate which companies offer to design custom-made templates for your usage. This will cost more but prices are kept lower than hiring a designer and the results are just as good – if not better.
When you find the right template after reviewing the available designs, the rest is simple. All you have to do is purchase the template and download it to your hard drive in seconds.
Step Three: Customize
With the template all ready to go, all you have to do is add your own content, graphics, images – anything you need to make the site your own. If you can use a simple editor such as DreamWeaver or FrontPage, this can be done in a few days or less. If you are inexperienced when it comes to any aspect of web design you can hire someone to do the editing for you for a very small fee – much smaller than what you would pay a designer to create the whole site from scratch.
When adding content, if you only require a few simple words, consider writing the text yourself. If you need a lot more information, such as product descriptions, articles or sales content, consider hiring a writer to create unique, high-quality content. Because you saved so much money purchasing a ready-made website template, you can spend a little more hiring a great writer! If you write the material on your own, remember to keep it short. Keep paragraphs short and don't bog the reader down with unnecessary information. People are in a hurry and don't want to spend a lot of time reading pages and pages of writing. Let your visitors get the information they need so they can move on and buy your product or service, but also make sure the information you provide is actually helpful and written without grammar or spelling mistakes.
The overall design should be kept simple, but that doesn't mean you can't add graphics, pictures or even video. As long as you keep it uncomplicated visitors will not regret visiting your site and learning more about your business. Not everyone has high-speed Internet yet, so fast loading pages are still a consideration.
Other additions include tables, forms and quizzes. Tables specifically are an easy way to organize text on a web page and they load very quickly. Most HTML editors make it easy to generate tables on your website.
Website templates have brought web design out of its infancy and into the 21st century, catering to the unique needs of the online business owner, so don't be afraid to take advantage of the convenience – you won't regret the decision.