Web Design for the non-designer
The first thing to do is to have a clear distinction in your head between content and style. Content is the text and images that visitors read and look at; style is how these are arranged, laid out and presented.The style side is where the web designer comes in. This is his/her main area of expertise and he/she will have the design skills to present your content in a way which communicates your message clearly and professionally.
The content is the site owner's responsibility. In website marketing content is king. The main reason a visitor will come back to your site is because he/she found what they were looking for. The look and feel are very much secondary to this.
Creating your content can appear a little daunting if you've never thought about it before, even for a small site, but it's really quite simple if you approach it in the right way. You may not have designed a site before but you have used plenty of sites. The trick, as with any marketing, is to put yourself in the visitor's shoes. You need to consider:
- When they come to your site, what are their objectives - what might they want to go away with?
- What information will they expect to see?
- What other information might be helpful to them?
- What do similar sites (your competitors) offer?
- Can you offer anything that they don't?
- Can you make your site more useable than theirs?