Learning To Design Websites and Blogs
The advent of blogs has simplified web design. In blogs, you can easily arrange modules and even change the complete look and feel of a website by simply loading a new theme. However, ther is nothing like being in complete control of your design, particularly when you are ready to crate various types of web pages, like articles, sales letters, comparative reviews, and ecommerce pages.
We design is very similar in nature to using page layot software, like Microsoft Publisher. In fact, Microsoft Publisher can export HTML code to help you create the design of your webpages.
But web design is more than somply learning to combine test and images in an attractive and effective way, it also involves the anticipation, plannning and design of user interactivity. Wahat makes the sob so unique is the fact that users can interact with the content you create, or with whatever other content for which they may be looking.
For instance, I recently searched for flight information, booked the flight, and printed the boarding pass. Im actually travelling while I write this article. I was surprised that I was allowed to print a boarding pass for an international flight with all the security restrictions that are being implemented throughout the world.
A Little Knowledge Can Give You Freedom
There is an abundance of templates and themes that you can buy or use free of charge. I have bought some of the most expensive and flexible templates and themes available, but Im never satisfied with the results; I always have to stick my spoon into the soup and stirr things up a bit to make it more palatable to my taste.
Templates and themes are almost the same thing. Templates are used for HTML sites, while themes are used for blogs.
Special Considerations For Blog Design
The typical way to install a blog, is to go to your cpanel and use Fantastico to do an automatic installation. Probably 90% or more of all WordPress blogs are installed that way. The problem using the standard installation is that hackers know it by heart and if your site becomes popular, it can be a traget for hackers. There are other ways to install WordPress, though that is beyond the scope of this article. I use a very inexpensive service to do my installations, which also include several useful plugins. Dont be afraid to use the scrambled passwords suggested by cpanel or installation services. They are suggested for a very good reason, to keep your website safe. I once heard an interview with a reformed hacker that said that many of the financial websites that he hacked years ago were still using admin as the userid and password as the password.
Blogs are very modular in nature. You can increase the programmability and capacity of a blog simply by adding modules called plugins.
Pluggins are bits of code that increase the functionality of a blog. Some are free, some are paid. Each plugin performs a specifict task. It is not uncommon for a blog to have somewhere between 20 and 50 plugins.
Potential Problems With Plugins
Even though you may be using a WordPress blog, each plugin is created indenpendently and come from different sources, not from a common programming team. Conflicts can occur either between plugins, or between a plugin and a theme, or even between a plugin and a new release of WordPress. It is best to use plugins that are updated regularly for each release of WordPress.
Another problem with blogs is that they are dynamic websites, that is to say that the pages dont exist until a visitor comes to the site and the webpage is served by the server. A dynamic website uses databases that store information for every section of the webpage, such as the header, the body, the sidebar, and the footer. As soon as a visitor requests the information, the server creates the page and displays it. The process of creating the page takes time, perhaps seconds or fractions of a second. However, when you are using a lot of plugins that are also contributing to the creation of the page, then the delay can be significant considering the fact that an average visitor on spends a few seconds on a website.
To me, this loading time is the main drawback of a blog over a static site. There are plugins to help with that too, but since search engines like Google take into consideration your pages loading time to rate your site, you should do everything possible to keep that loading time to a minimum. Your visitor will thank you for it.
Designing Blog Themes and Website Templates
I like to design themes or templates, rather than create a different web design of each site. That way I can spend a lot more time on one template and create place holders for elements I plan to add later.
I use Dreamweaver to design templates. It can also be used to design blogs. You can program visually, or using HTML. You can also include built-in snippets of various code languages. I have used Artisteer to design blog themes. I really like the program and have created a number of designs with it. There are also free programs, like Komposer, that you can download and used to create static sites and sales letters very efficiently.
Learning a bit of web design and learning how to manage your blogs will give you greater confidence in creating new sites and greater control when you have to make corrections or adjustments to them.
How to Become a Web Designer in 2015 | Design Careers
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