I can do thatAre you a web designer or a web developer? Why are you messing around looking for free programs, free or paid themes or templates? Web design and development is truly a lot more than what you imagine. Maybe you’re an expert app user or even a graphic designer and think sure I can do this and maybe you can but not because you’re a graphic designer or an expert app user, but because you may also be a programmer, a marketer, a psychologist, an organizer, an experienced promoter all combined into the person you are. Because, frankly, it takes all those personas and more for an effective and useful finished website. Following two articles will help explain or support this point: Visual Hierarchy and Designs That Connect.

Using Themes or Templates

 I am not knocking the DIY profession, more power to you for trying but web design is one of those it-sounds-simple kind of thing but there is so much more to it than most people realize. Even if you are not trying to do it yourself but perhaps you have hired a professional for the job but impacting the outcome so much that you might as well be doing it yourself!

Most of the templates or themes today, are the kind that customizing them takes knowledge of the web languages. You need to know CSS at the very least for styling modifications. You may also need html and/or JavaScript or php in order to make core changes. For example to move the navigation menu from the top of the page to the bottom of the header you may have to change the header code. In this case you don’t have to be a php expert but you need to know enough so you can move the menu code to a new location if you needed to.

If you are not familiar with any of the above languages you’re stuck with what the theme gives you and while that maybe fine for some, it may not be for you if you don’t like the same website as other DIYs who use the same theme. After all you don’t want your website to be identical to some others. Its even worse if you are in the same niche as them, well you can see where that leads!

Using Free Programs from Hosts

Using design program from web hosts that offer them is another avenue some people take. These are very limited programs in many aspects including the number of pages you can have. Most are limited to 3 or perhaps 5 pages and what you can do. Real websites are typically more than 5 pages; they don’t look alike and have more visitors. These programs are created for mostly simple sites without too much functionality and expectation. You do not have access to the code, specially styling, so you are basically stuck with what the program allows you to do. Most offer limited functionality with little to entice a visitor to stick around much less to buy anything. I have known people using this method to only get frustrated but also give it up and seek professional help. Almost invariably all the work that was done is lost and even an experienced web developer can’t help recover it since the files are not available to copy, change, modify or save! It’s a total disaster!Many facets of web design

The Design Aspect

Most people think design is a simple thing to do. They possibly can draw or take pictures or do an essay on a word processor and all that is fine. Designing a website is a tad more! For one thing you need to like to work on a computer for hours on end. For another you don’t need to take pictures, you just need to have an eye for good images that suit the website, not an easy task. Of course knowledge of color combinations and proper font selection, proper line height and font size are also helpful. Knowing when to use white space and how to make images or text stand out on a page subtly goes a long way. But design is not so easy! It’s not something you study, sure its good to know some basics, but in general you must have it, be creative, and know what’s pleasing to the eye and soul. Its like a painting, its an art.

now that you put it like that!The Bottom Line

 Web design is like any other trade. It involves knowledge, some creative talent, experience and meeting most of the criteria mentioned above. When one spends days, weeks and years studying and practicing a subject and having done the actual work many time over he/she becomes an expert in that subject. On the other hand a novice is one who has not put in too much time learning the subject, perhaps just beginning or has never done it. So it simply boils down to having a website designed by an expert or a novice. It’s your website!

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