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Web Design Inspiration

Understanding how to do web design is of obvious importance to creating an online presence, but there's an equally important consideration; How will you design your site to look? Where do you draw web design inspiration? An obvious recommendation is to start surfing the millions of online websites already in existence, but there are better ways to narrow your search for inspiration.

Check Out Your Competitor's Websites

Chances are that you'll find at least a couple websites in your field that will stimulate ideas. Look at your competitors to stimulate ideas for your own site. It's likely that they've been online a while and have been refining their website through the years. You want to see what information they're offering and determine if it's information that you might also want to present on your website. Join their newsletters and discover the marketing ideas that they're using to successfully promote their site.

Understand Your Design Limitations

Don't waste your time going site to site for design ideas if you've already chosen Wordpress (as an example) as your tool for creating a new website. Very often, Wordpress can be manipulated to achieve a very unique and distinct look, but without years of design experience, you likely won't achieve this. Your best bet is to search for Wordpress templates in Google and search the thousands of pre-made templates already in existence. You might be surprised at the many results you'll turn up by typing in such keywords as 'Wordpress Band Themes' or whatever your chosen subject is. Use your imagination when looking at templates and consider what they'll look like by changing the header image, layout, colors and fonts to suit your needs.

When I first began creating websites in 2001, Wordpress was unheard of and the majority of design tools today simply did not exist. If I wanted to recreate a website, I would use the 'save as' option in Internet Explorer, saving the whole page and all of it's components to a single folder. Since sites were typically all HTML that didn't utilize database backends (which all Wordpress and CMS sites now use), this was easy to do. I would open the web page in the long since retired "Microsoft FrontPage" and start editing it to see how it was put together. This experience still serves me well today as I often go to 'View Source' in the Internet Explorer to understand how a web page was built. I make this point because as your web design experience grows, so does your web design inspiration. If you can dream it, you can achieve it, but you'll find that it's often difficult to conjure up inspiration with no experience to draw on. Don't let this deter you. If you're brand new to web design, jump in and start designing. If it's of interest to you, you'll find yourself learning things at an alarmingly fast rate.

Where Can I Find the Newest Wordpress Templates?

Again, I use Wordpress as an example because probably 90% of all new websites that go up today by beginners, are Wordpress sites. It's just become an immensely easy task to install Wordpress and start working away on a new website within the hour. Try building your own site from scratch and do that. You'll find that you'll need to spend weeks and months to build in the functionality that exists for you in only minutes with a Wordpress install. With this in mind, I typically look to the following websites for inspiration:

  • Smashing Magazine - always one of the best resources for new templates.
  • Thesis Theme for WordPress - The most highly optimized search engine friendly theme that runs on Wordpress. If you're starting a blog for profit, consider this theme.
  • WooThemes - A long running reputation for having some of the sexiest Wordpress designs.
  • EZwpthemes - One of my favorites for themes with a more artsy look.

Don't Rush Your New Design

Take your time in finding inspiration for your new website. Once the site is live, it becomes a matter of modifying it daily to perfect the look. The "meat" of it all is permanent. Don't sacrifice the initial look for getting online fast! I can't tell you the number of times I would scrap an entire project months into it during my first few years of web design. Make sure you get the look you want. Consider the advantages of using a professional web design company. Call and talk to a couple in your area to see what they can offer. If you have any questions, I'm here for you!

Amy Kastner is a Web-Designer, Online Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Specialist. You can usually find her on twitter, where she occasionally writes about interesting stuff.

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