Fist Steps to Building a Responsive Website ( Become a Website Designer Series - Pt1)

As the world is changing, so is the way of how we represent ourselves. As the world is embracing the revelations in technology, we are slowly moving closer to the idea of adapting to technological representation. Many more organizations do regard our social media profile above resumes it would showcase a true representation of ourselves. Understanding this brings upon an era where social media profiling may not be enough to showcase our work in a more structured and meaningful way and this is where websites come in to play.

A website or a web page can be organized and modified by the administrator to their liking and gives the opportunity to stand out amidst the rest of profiles when it comes to job search or business acquisition.

Although there are many web development or web design agencies that promise and offer above average results both in Vancouver or Richmond areas where I currently reside, as well as the rest of the world. These agencies do however charge high for their services and may be a good fit for a person with large projects at hand, however, a single web page site doesn't need to cost $700-$800, it can cost you as little as $30 for the first year.

In this series of articles, I will explain step by step on how to start your own website and teach you how to optimize the website for your personal CV or Portfolio.

STEP 1: Plan

The word "Plan" may be a broad one and may not entail a lot to some, however, this is likely the most difficult step of all. "Plan" consists of 5 points.

  1. Decide on how will you build the site?
  2. Understand the properties of what makes the site user-friendly.
  3. Plan out a schedule to learn the method that you have chosen.
  4. Practice using your computer as a server.
  5. After deciding on a method, learning it, sketch a rough draft of what you site will look like.

Now I know that some of these points may not make sense to you, especially if you are not familiar with web design, but trust me it will not be difficult to learn.

Decide on how will you build the site?

So there are many software, CMS's or languages that are available to web developers. Choosing each of these methods would have pros and cons. If you choose to work with a software like Adobe Dreamweaver or use an online website builder like you may run into some complications. In the case of Dreamweaver, it is a great option especially if you already have the Adobe Suite Access. Adobe Dreamweaver allows for great integration between its counterparts like Photoshop. Although Dreamweaver is not very intuitive if learned it would provide users with the flexibility to integrate both codes and use drag and drop tools to build a web page. It is suggested however to learn HTML and CSS (web design scripts) to operate Dreamweaver more efficiently. Web design builders like Wix are not a bad option for beginners although these builders are not very flexible especially when it comes to functionality of the site. Not to mention that builders and software may come in at a hefty price.

An alternative to software or web builders is what we call CMS's or Content Management Systems. Content management systems are the most frequently used web applications that are both convenient, self-explanatory and flexible. The best thing about CMS's, besides their flexibility is that most of them are free to both use and install as they are open source, it is also free to make adjustments to the pre-integrated peace of code. The more popular CMS's today are WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Magento. CMS can be both simple and complex depending on the amount of flexibility that you wish to have. For example, WordPress has a good balance of themes and plug ins that fulfill the 3 primary principals of a website; Structure, Design, and Function. It doesn't hurt to learn primary scripting languages to support your CMS development. (HTML, CSS, Java Script and Python)The drawback of using CMS is likely the security, although with some work even that flow can be handled.

The last option if neither of the two options work is simply learning how to code your site. this process is the best in terms of your development and generally the understanding the web design and development, however, this method may provide to be more time consuming as learning scripting languages thoroughly take time.  It is not to say that it is a bad idea regardless. Learning a little coding even to support the first two methods may still be a good thing as it would give more flexibility to your site. ultimately coding your own site gives you absolute freedom as it takes away any boundaries that may exist with the first two methods of web development.

This concludes the first part of Becoming a Website Designer Series, keep checking the website for the next part.

Hayk Karapetyan
Richmond Web Designer & Web Marketing Specialist (Servicing Vancouver and the surrounding area)