Maybe you’re starting a business? Perhaps you want to create a blog? Whatever the case may be, you’re looking to create a website.
The only issue is: you don’t know the first thing about web design and development. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. We have the information you need, and we’re about to provide it to you.
Without further ado, here’s the complete guide to web development and web design.
What Is Web Development?
Web development refers to the full creation of a website, mobile app, or any other internet-oriented entity. It involves not only the look of the website but the functionality of the website as well.
Developing a website requires the writing of a substantial amount of programming code. This code can either be written from scratch, or with the help of a website builder tool.
After you’ve produced this code, you’ll need to upload it to a server. This is a centralized computer program that enables the code to be read by web browsers. This is what allows it to appear and function on a remote person’s computer screen.
Web development entails not just producing the code itself but managing it on its server so that it doesn’t crash. It also entails updating code to produce changes on the website itself.
In essence, web development is a huge and complex responsibility. This is why, generally speaking, it’s best to use the services of a seasoned web developer. These individuals have built up a reserve of knowledge and skill that a DIYer just doesn’t possess.
What Is Web Design?
Though the terms “web development” and “web design” are often used interchangeably, in reality, they’re different. Whereas web development refers to the actual production of the website through coding and server management, web design refers to the creation of the website’s appearance.
In fact, in some cases, web designers don’t write any code at all. They simply draw up optimized designs for websites and then have web developers turn those designs into a reality.
The goal of good web design isn’t just to create something aesthetically pleasing. It’s also to create a website that’s easy to understand and easy to use.
The layout of a website alone can radically affect its usability. If web elements are easy to find, users of the website will be able to get from point A to point B in no time. If they’re not easy to find, the user will struggle to get anywhere; this could result in them giving up and going to a different website.
Therefore, it’s imperative that you produce a good design for your website. It could make or break your website’s success.
Front-end Web Development vs. Back-end Web Development
Web development is typically boiled down to two types: front-end and back-end. We’ll discuss the specifics of each below.
Front-end Web Development
Front-end web development includes the development of the visible part of the website. It’s the part that the web user can see on their browser and includes everything from pictures to background colors to buttons to text and more. If the web user comes into contact with it, it counts as front-end development.
Back-end Web Development
Back-end web development includes the creation of all the things that happen behind the scenes on a website. It includes database actions, server actions, and other hidden but hugely important entities.
Back-end development is what allows a website to remember a customer’s transactional data, for instance. It’s also what allows a customer to build a profile on a website.
In truth, you can create a website without a true back end. However, it will be severely lacking in functionality, and will really only be useful for getting information across (almost like a digital brochure).
There are a number of programming languages commonly used for back-end development. These include Python, Ruby, and Java, to name just a few. Back-end developers also work with database languages such as SQL.
Tips for Web Design
Now, let’s discuss a thing or two about good web design. Some tips to utilize during your web design efforts include the following:
Leave White Space
Our first tip is to leave white space. This doesn’t have to mean literal white space. It just means leaving some portions of your website blank, possessing nothing more than a background.
The purpose of white space is to break up different elements of the website so that they’re easy to locate and understand. In essence, white space prevents the web design from coming across as mentally overwhelming.
So, when designing your layout, be cognizant of how the positioning of your various design elements might be affecting the user’s perception. If they’re too close together, they’re going to cause your website to look cluttered, thus resulting in mental fatigue.
Utilize Calls to Action
When a user arrives on your website, they’re coming either to do something or to learn something. Regardless of their specific purpose, your goal should be to get them there as quickly as possible. This is where calls to action come in.
A call to action is essentially an instruction that tells the reader what to do. It’s designed to provoke a specific action. For instance, if you want the user to buy something from you, you might use a call to action that says “Buy Now”, accompanied by a clickable button that leads to the purchase page.
You should have calls to action all over your website. Not only should they appear in the body of the website but in the header and footer as well. The more visible your calls to action are, the easier time the user will have, and the more likely they’ll be to do what you desire them to do.
Use a Readable Font
A common mistake made by new web designers is using a font that’s hardly legible simply because it looks cool. This might work in a logo (though that’s questionable also) but it’s not good practice for web design.
Why? Because you want your website to be as easy for the visitor to use as possible. If the writing is difficult to read, the user won’t have an easy time, and might even click away from your website entirely.
Stick to something simple like Arial, Times New Roman, or the like.
Stick to a Color Scheme
Branding is integral to creating a memorable website. Choosing a set color scheme is integral to branding. That’s why you need to pick 2 or 3 colors and stick to them throughout the entire website.
For instance, you might use blue as your primary background color and yellow as your secondary color. You might then add red as a supplemental color.
This isn’t to say that you should make your text one of these colors. White or black will work just fine for that. However, the rest of your website has to maintain a color theme.
Make It Mobile-friendly
At this point, there’s no question: you need to make your website mobile friendly. It has to work just as well on a phone or a tablet as it does on a laptop or desktop computer. After all, around 55% of web usage is done on a mobile device.
Now, how do you make a web design mobile-friendly? You write the code so that the design alters with different screen sizes. This can be done manually or with the help of a website builder.
Keep It Simple
Regardless of anything else, you need to keep your web design simple. The simpler it is, the easier it will be for the visitor to use. The easier it is for the visitor to use, the more they’ll be willing to come back to it in the future.
So, don’t overload it with pictures. Don’t get cute with the navigation bar. Don’t force visitors to search for highly sought-after information.
Keep the design simple, clean, and effective. The user experience should be your number one priority.
Optimizing the Speed of a Website
One of the most important aspects of creating a website is optimizing it for load speed. If your website loads slowly, users are going to grow tired of it and move on to a different website. As such, fast load speed is imperative.
Now, how do you facilitate fast load speed? There are a few strategies, including the following:
Use Good Hosting
To put a website on a server and have it shown on the world wide web, you must purchase hosting from a hosting provider. This hosting provider owns the server and provides you with functionality within it.
While some hosting providers force you to put your website’s data on the same server as other websites’ data, other hosting providers give you the choice to purchase the use of your own server. If you want your website to be as fast as possible, you need to choose the latter.
Note that different hosting providers offer different services as well. So, you should do some research before choosing one. Here are some of the best options on the market right now.
Minimize the Size of Images
Another thing you can do to increase load speed is to minimize the size of the images on the website. Make them as small as possible while still maintaining a decent level of quality. This way, the server won’t have to process as much data.
Images, in particular, take up a lot of space, especially when they’re of extremely high quality. So, by cutting their file size in half, for example, you can make a lot of headway in increasing the speed of your website.
Minify Your Code
Not only should you minimize the size of your images but you should also minify your code. What this means is that you should edit your code so that there’s as little of it as possible, all while maintaining the same functionality.
Different lines of code can invoke the same actions on the website. The key is to find the simplest line of code for completing each action and use it instead of alternatives.
You should also cache your web pages. This makes it so that, when a website visitor uses an element of your webpage, the element gets remembered. As a result, the server doesn’t need to process as much data, thus resulting in increased load speeds.
You can cache your data in a number of ways. If you’re using a WordPress website, you can simply download a plugin. W3 Total Cache has a good reputation.
If you’re not using a WordPress website, you’ll have to do it at the server level. This would be handled by your hosting provider. In other words, you can simply ask them to do it for you.
Note that, in addition to server caching, you can also employ browser caching. This will speed your website up even more.
Need Help With Web Design and Development?
Are you ready to create a website? Need help with web design and development? If so, look no further than Synaptech.
We offer a wide range of website development services, from Ui/Ux design to app development to data analysis and much more. If it’s a website designer you need, there’s no one better to turn to than us.
Contact us now to discuss your web development needs!