Web Design For Novices

Web Design For Novices

Paralysis of​ Choice

So you want to​ create your first web site but are feeling more than a​ little daunted by the​ thought. First step… relax. Just about everyone who has ever created a​ web site has been here before. the​ feeling is​ not uncommon. Perhaps one of​ the​ scariest things about the​ whole prospect of​ creating a​ web site is​ the​ sheer number of​ choices out there.

There is​ a​ phenomenon that I like to​ call the​ paralysis of​ choice. it​ goes like this… give me a​ choice between two or​ three items, no problem. That’s easy. But now make it​ a​ choice between twenty items and​ a​ paralysis starts to​ set in. There are simply too many choices! and​ with people afraid of​ making the​ wrong choice, they decide that the​ safest choice is​ no choice at​ all. at​ least this way, they haven’t made a​ mistake. So instead of​ getting wrapped-up in​ things like HTML, XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, and​ Php, let’s go more basic where there are fewer choices.


The first choice is​ whether to​ do it​ yourself or​ pay for​ someone else to​ do it. for​ many people, this one is​ decided by budget alone. Web sites built from scratch can cost a​ lot of​ money. So let’s assume that you’ve already decided that you want or​ need to​ do-it-yourself otherwise you probably would have already shelled out the​ money and​ wouldn’t be reading this article. Am I right?

Web-Based Services

The second choice is​ whether to​ use a​ web-based service or​ to​ construct the​ web site on your own computer. Many hosting services have built-in online web site building tools. While you can certainly construct a​ web site, the​ end results are usually pretty rudimentary. This avenue is​ probably just fine for​ a​ little personal web site, but most likely not enough to​ impress more important visitors, like clients and​ customers.

A Step Above

A step above the​ online web site building tool is​ the​ stand alone program that allows you to​ construct a​ web site without knowing any HTML or​ other types of​ coding. Among the​ better ones is​ Incomedia’s Website X5 which comes in​ two flavors: Compact and​ Evolution. Think of​ these as​ personal and​ business.

You start from a​ number of​ template choices and​ then color combinations. Between those two elements alone, the​ chances of​ your site looking just like someone else’s is​ pretty slim. the​ main idea of​ Website X5 is​ to​ divide each page into a​ grid. in​ each square of​ the​ grid you decide what’s going to​ go there: text, a​ picture, a​ flash movie, or​ a​ slideshow, etc. Adding those elements is​ easy. Not bad. and​ it​ gets you an​ end product better than those online web site builders. But I’m still a​ less than wowed.

Web Templates

OK. as​ is​ usually typical I’ve saved the​ best for​ last! Unlike the​ canned web site templates that come with software like Microsoft’s FrontPage (now dubbed Expression Web); professional web site templates are much more sophisticated and​ give you much more control over each design element. Each template typically comes with a​ list of​ software you would need to​ edit the​ template before you buy it. Higher level templates may require specialized software like Flash. But for​ a​ typical price of​ between $55 and​ $75 for​ most templates, this is​ short money compared to​ paying someone to​ design a​ web site from scratch.

Most templates also come with Adobe Photoshop (PSD) files. Even the​ low-cost Photoshop Elements can fully edit these. the​ beauty of​ this is​ that for​ the​ price of​ less than $100 you’ll have the​ ability to​ edit every single little design element. This makes customizing your template much easier. for​ most templates, the​ only other software you would need is​ the​ design software like: FrontPage, Dreamweaver, Expression Web, SharePoint Designer, and​ more.

If you’d like to​ add Flash elements to​ your website, but can’t afford Macromedia Flash (now Adobe Flash) there are the​ poor man’s alternatives like SWiSHmax. SWiSHmax allows you to​ create Flash (SWF) files without having Flash and​ costs only a​ fraction of​ the​ price. Take a​ look at​ SWiSHzone on the​ web for​ more information. if​ you’d like to​ use SWiSH as​ an​ alternative, simply look for​ web templates that list SWiSH as​ one of​ the​ softwares.


Many people don’t realize that most templates can be professionally customized for​ an​ individual. Simply look for​ template customizing services where you buy your template. Since you are beginning with a​ template that you’ve picked out, you have a​ much better idea how it’s going to​ turn out after some custom tweaking and​ there are fewer surprises. There’s much less risk involved than with a​ web site designed from scratch.

You can generally save hundreds of​ dollars by starting with a​ template even after adding in​ custom tweaking if​ you prefer someone else to​ do it. Remember, you’re not starting from scratch. You already have a​ fully function site, so the​ costs of​ editing a​ template are small compared with the​ cost of​ constructing a​ full web site.

Bottom Line

So for​ a​ novice like yourself that wants to​ do-it-yourself, you basically have three choices: 1) use a​ web-based service like the​ one than probably comes with your webhosting plan, 2) use standalone software like Incomedia’s Website X5, or​ 3) start with a​ web site template. the​ results you can expect will probably increase in​ quality in​ the​ same order.

Web Design For Novices

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