There is a lot of information on the internet about web design and development. If you are a new user, amateur or expert, you will always have questions. Below are the most asked questions in the industry that I have came across.
Most Common Questions
- How to start designing and developing a website?
- How important is responsive web design?
- What is responsive web design?
- What is the standard width for a website in pixels?
- Which image format should I use for my website?
- How to come up with website content ideas?
- What software can I use to development websites?
- What is the most used internet browser?
- What is a content management system (CMS)?
- What is the best hosting for WordPress?
- How to starting selling products online?
- Is jQuery worth learning?
- Is it Ok to use jQuery in responsive web design?
- How important is website page loading time?
- How to start doing search engine optimization (SEO)?
- What are the best SEO tools?
- Which social networking sites should I be using?
- How to get started in freelancing?
How to start designing and developing a website?
Before you start diving into web development, it is important to know what type of website you would like to creative. One quick way to figure out your idea is to brainstorm, storyboard and outline your website.
If this is your first website, try to make it basic. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself when first starting off. Try to think of a simple website with a dozen pages.
Once you have your goal determined you will need to learn some basic HTML and CSS to get you started. There are thousands of step by step tutorials and YouTube videos on this subject. Just do a quick search and you will be on your way.
Places to learn web development code:
You will see a lot of references to install WordPress and your website is ready to go. This is true, but if you want to take this serious and be able to customize your site to be different from the rest. You still need to know some basic HTML and CSS.
Once you have your site built, you will need to get a domain name and web hosting to make it available to the public. Both of these will cost you a per year or per month charge. The best place to get a domain name is Godaddy, they always have sales that make them cheapest.
How important is responsive web design?
Responsive web design isn't necessarily important as much as having your website mobile friendly. The latest Google search engine update has encouraged websites to be mobile friendly to continue to rank in their search engine. This doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be responsive, just mobile friendly.
What is responsive web design?
Responsive design is a way to dynamically change your website design depending on your visitor's device resolution. This makes your text easier to read, navigation more optimized, and images to scale to the correct proportion. You can do this by using CSS3 and in some situations jQuery.
This is also the recommended way for most websites.
What is the standard width for a website in pixels?
For most web developers they will start at a 1024 x 768 resolution. As this number has slowly grown larger over the years, it is still a good place to start.
There are many tablets that currently run at this resolution. Once starting at 1024 x 768 you can decide what layout to work with, a fixed or liquid layout. Both of these methods are widely used. They can both help solve different problems when deciding the width of your website.
Which image format should I use for my website?
There isn't a one size fits all answer to this question. The best image is the one that will keep the strongest quality vs. the file size. When saving images for the web, you want to get the file size as small as possible, by keeping quality in check.
Just tell me what format:
For a picture shot by a photographer use jpg.
For a picture that is a vector image and has sharp edges use gif.
For a picture that has transparency use png.
How to come up with website content ideas?
This is one of the hardest topics to talk about. Everyone has their own idea how to do it and everyone generates ideas differently. Here are a few places that may help you find some inspiration.
Social Media, preferably Twitter
Twitter has a never ending update of world events, drama, and news. There has to be something in there that gets your attention.
Quora is a Q/A platform where people ask questions all the time, on all types of topics. Maybe you can write something that will help them answer a question.
Expanding on the Quora idea. You can Google search for forums that are in your niche and find topics that people are talking about.
Find what is being shared online with BuzzSumo. When you find something that may fit your site, maybe you can make it better, or give a better explanation.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner
In Google's Keyword Planner you can put in your niche primary keyword and hit generate. It will give you hundreds of similar terms that you can make into content. This gives you double points because these are keywords that people are searching for.
Once you finally have your idea, it's time to get to work on generating some quick content.
What software can I use to development websites?
There are a lot of software available that will help you code and create your website. The most popular product is Adobe Dreamweaver. This application gives you both worlds of dragging and dropping your layout and coding it.
If you really want to learn how to code and do it properly, get Notepad++ or Coda. Start learning how to do everything from scratch. There will be times that software won't do and you will have to write it yourself. The only way to do that is to learn how the all the different elements and attributes.
One piece of software I feel is a must is a good image processing program. Everyone knows that the leader is Adobe Photoshop. But if you can't afford it, you can get some good alternatives like Gimp, Corel, or Pixelmator.
What is the most used internet browser?
For a world that use to completely run Internet Explorer, other browsers have cut into the market and made a place for themselves.
The most used desktop internet browser is:
- Chrome - 64%
- Firefox - 21.3%
- Internet Explorer - 7.1%
- Safari - 3.8%
- Opera - 1.8%
What is a content management system (CMS)?
A content management system is what it sounds like. It is a system that stores all of your content in a backend database and then displays to the front end user. These applications are a must if you are planning a big website that publishes a lot of articles and/or blog posts.
What is the best hosting for WordPress?
When you are using a content management system it is important to have a reliable hosting company. Knowing that it won't go down, full technical support, and it has the necessary software to run your software.
There are a lot of different web hosting services that you can run your website on. When you first get started, you will probably have low traffic and not many database requests. You can get by with a simple shared hosting plan.
Shared hosting is when you and other webmasters share the same resources on a server. With this, you don't get the full speed of the hardware on the server.
Once your site gets more dynamic and starts have thousands of users. You will need to upgrade to a VPS server or a dedicated server. A VPS server is still shared by other webmasters but you will have guaranteed hardware allocated for your website. With a dedicated server, you have your own full hardware server only hosting your website.
Recommendations for Web Hosting:
Depending on your needs, you will have to decide what fits your website currently at the time. Take note that it is a pain to migrate servers, so try to get the best one for features vs. the cost.
How to starting selling products online?
To start selling products online you will need an e-commerce store. An e-commerce store is a content management system specifically design and developed to manage a catalog of products, inventory, invoicing, shipping fulfillment, and credit card processing.
A quick way to get started is using a platform that is an online service. Places like Shopify and Yahoo Stores gives you all the tools you need to get start quick. The downfall to this strategy is the lack of flexibility and customization.
Doing your own e-commerce store gives you the full options to make your store exactly how you want it. This goes on a design, development, optimization, and SEO. But sometimes this may be overwhelming for most people. As you will be responsible to maintain all elements of your store. Which includes software security and hardware updates.
There is a lot of work that needs to be addressed when doing an e-commerce. Such as product descriptions, shipping, taxes, inventory and processing orders. But security is your number one priority. Make sure your software is PCI compliant and you use an SSL Certificate when processing sensitive information.
Recommendations of e-commerce platforms:
Try a few different e-commerce platforms before making your decision on which one you would like to use. Everyone's workflow is different and all the e-commerce seem to be the same, but all do it differently.
Is jQuery worth learning?
This is a different question now as it was 5 years ago. There are many coding languages that come and go and you never quite know which one you should sit down and hash out.
Is it Ok to use jQuery in responsive web design?
Simple answer, yes it is perfectly fine to use it in responsive web design.
With that being said jQuery can be resource heavy if you start over using it. Make sure you can't accomplish the same things with CSS or changing your HTML code.
If you start using a lot of different plug-ins, make sure they aren't compromising the user's experience. Having too many plug-ins or jQuery code can make your website slow. In result, your users will leave your site.
How important is website page loading time?
HUGE. This should be one of your top goals of your website development. Having a fast website not only makes your users happy, it can also help you search engine optimization.
With mobile traffic increasing daily, this becomes even more important. Mobile devices, for the most part, are slower than desktop devices in hardware and internet speed. Having a fast load time will put you ahead of the competition.
If you want to see where you stack up, you can use Google PageSpeed Tool.
How to start doing search engine optimization (SEO)?
This is a loaded question as search engine optimization is a marketing strategy, it can be broken down into multiple levels. Keyword research, onsite optimization, copywriting, link building, social media...just to name a few.
The best way to start learning is to take it piece by piece and be patient. Start with reading How To Do SEO and Moz's Beginners Guide. Once you get the idea, start with doing some keyword research and onsite optimization. Sometimes that is all you need to get some decent ranking.
Two things to keep in mind when starting your SEO campaign. One, there is a lot of copywriting in SEO and marketing. Learn to love it. If you absolutely hate it, find someone to do it for you.
Two, track everything. Try to identify what is working and what isn't and adjust from there.
SEO doesn't happen overnight but with a lot of hard work, it is very rewarding.
What are the best SEO tools?
It's hard to say what tools are the best for SEO. Everyone has their own techniques to combat the beast and will require different tools. It can also depend on your objective. Doing keyword research and link building will require different methods.
Here are some tools that are widely used by the professionals:
- Keyword Research
- Onsite Optimization
- Backlink Checking
- Social Media
Which social networking sites should I be using?
With there being thousands of social media sites. I personally think there is only a half dozen where you should focus your social media efforts.
Recommendations of Social Media Network
Even with the ones listed, some may not be applicable to your site. Use your best judgment and only do the ones you can consistently work on. It's better not to have a social media account than to advertise one that has no activity or fans on it.
How to get started in freelancing?
Some of you may be interested in working for yourself and need to get started someone. Before you have an official company you will be known as a freelancer. Finding clients is the most stressful area in the freelancing field, lucky with the internet has made it easier.
First, you need to start an account on Upwork. This is the largest freelancing communities where companies go to find people for work.
Things that will help you get started is to create a nice professional bio that lists your strongest points. Make sure you put a real photo, not a logo, avatar, or an illustration. A real person, companies want to see a real person they are hiring.
When you first start you may need to do things for "free". Not free, but almost that you are giving away your expertise. While you are getting going, you need reviews and work. Dropping your price will make hiring a newbie more enticing.
Keep all your customers happy, put out great quality, increase your prices, and the rest falls into place.
If you have any additional questions, please leave a comment below.