In the web design class I teach, a few questions always pop up, so I figured I will write a blog post about them to answer these once and for all.
1. Why do I need to pay for hosting annually?
Even though your website exists on the world wide web, it does actually have a "physical" location in form of a server on which your data is saved. In order for your website to work you need to continuously keep your data on that server. If the data is deleted, the website disappears. Thus, you basically pay for your online storage space so that your website is up on the web 24/7.
2. Can I use images that I took on my phone?
Yes, you can. However, before you use any images on your website, they should be optimized for the web. Namely, they need to be resized to a small file size, so that your website loads quickly and runs smoothly. This is especially important if your website is going to have a lot of images on them. You can read my post about how to resize images for the web here.
3. I added keywords to my website, why am I not showing up on Google?
Adding SEO (Search Engine Optimization) keywords to your website will not automatically make your website pop up on Google. It can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months for Google to pick up your website. The good news is your SEO results should grow over time, so your Google ranking may change over time as well. However, we cannot control how Google ranks websites, we can only control our SEO settings. Thus, you technically cannot 100% guarantee that your SEO settings will work perfectly. But we can do our best and forget the rest ;)
Keep in mind, it is best to add keywords, a meta description and a page title to each page of your website.
Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments below and I will answer them!
Are you READY to create and launch your very own website?
Then come take my class through Duluth Community Ed! Learn how to build your very own website with Weebly. You will learn how to set up a multiple page website within the online platform. We will also cover topics such as web design principles, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and how to save images for the web. No website coding skills are required to take this class. You must have a working email address.
There are a few things that you need to do before you can drop images into your website. Here are three very important steps you should take before hitting the publishing button on your website.
1. Check Copyright
For one, you need to make sure that the images you are using are okay for you to use. Images that you did not take yourself are typically not okay to use due to copyright reasons. That includes cute pictures of kittens you found on Google. Thus, it is best to stick to your own images for your website. If you are not able to take high quality images for your website, but really want to use some, you have the option to purchase stock images through stock sites. I like to use ThinkStock, which features many high quality stock images to choose from.
2. Choose the Right Format
Images come in varying sizes and formats. The Jpg or jpeg format is the most used format on the web. It is used for any images that are static and are not transparent. My headshot shown above was saved as a jpg file. Be sure to set the color profile of the image to RGB, so that the colors appear correctly on screen. After all, RGB is for digital and CMYK is for print applications. The png format is for images that require transparency such as logo files. My own logo, for instance, is a light colored logo that I placed over a dark background image on the home page, so it had to be saved as a file that allows for transparency. Otherwise it would show up as a white rectangular image with a turquoise triangle at the center and you wouldn't be able to read my name. Last but not least, if you want to have a moving image or animation on your website, you will have to use the gif format. Be aware that it only supports 256 colors, so the quality of a gif isn't as high as a jpg image.
3. Resize for the Web
Now that you have taken or purchased images for your website and have ensured that they are in the right format, you are almost ready to place them. Before you drop them onto the site, you now need to resize them for the web. After all, we don't want our images to compromise the load speed of the website. Banner images can be larger in resolution at about 2000 by 600 pixels and smaller images like my headshot can be around 800 by 800 pixels. You should be able to crop images in any image editing software, such as Photoshop. Make sure that all images are at a file size less than 500 KB. If you have Photoshop CC, you can go to File > Export > Save for web and resize your image that way. If you don't have Photoshop or you want to compress your image files even more, you can use the free TinyJPG web tool.
If you have any additional tips in regards to web imagery, be sure to let us all know in the comments!
1. Organization is Everything!
If a web user cannot find information they are looking for on your website, they will leave it as quickly as they found it. That is why organization is key. Organize your information in a way that makes sense, but also in a way in which your audience would be looking for it. So put yourself in your audience's shoes and think about what they would be looking for and where. If you don't know where to start when it comes to organizing content, start by following the simple and common used navigation structure that lists "home", "about", "services", "blog" and "contact" and go from there. The simpler the organization structure, the better.
2. White Space
Use white space to separate your content areas. It gives your content the room to breathe and also to shine. A good example of white space is Apple's website. All of the products are in their own area of white or negative space within a grid. It makes each product pop visually.
3. Less Text More Imagery
Web users usually don't spend much time on a website. Therefore it is important to know that the less text the better, because chances are, users will not read the text. What they will see, though, is your imagery, so look for compelling and high-quality images that convey your message.
Please note that for SEO reasons it is crucial to include keywords throughout the website that describe your services or business. They don't have to be in large text sections, though. You can put them in headlines and short paragraphs.
4. Keep Your Website Updated
There is nothing that makes a website look older than old content. So update your website frequently. If you don't have the time to post blog posts weekly or monthly, at least make sure to update the year in your footer and to keep your information correct at all times.
5. Mobile View
Last but not least, be aware of the fact that these days most web users look at a website on a cell phone. Thus, it makes sense to create a responsive website that adjusts to the web user's screen size for easier viewing. The mobile view is as important as the desktop view of your website, so make sure everything looks and works correctly in both views.
What do you think makes a good website? Let me know in the comments!
I would love to chat more about web design tips!
wife • mama to 3 • sustainable, digital & print designer • photographer • educator • german