WordPress for Designers: Building Beautiful Sites

Well, today we won’t get into too much detail explaining what WordPress is and what it does. We did that in an earlier article. So, if you have not read it, please make sure to. All in all, it’s the greatest CMS we have around, and if you have no idea what a CMS is, please read that post we just mentioned.

With that said,  we’re here to offer you tips on how to build a beautiful WordPress site. Are you’re thinking all you need is a WordPress theme to build a beautiful WordPress website? Well, this isn’t entirely true. There are a number of things you must set in motion to get everything right from the word GO.

Let’s get started.

Set Down the Right Foundation

Web Design

What do I mean? Many at times we focus on the outer shell of a website and forget its delicate backend nature. This is wrong. We tend to think of the backend as “immaterial” (I’m saying this with my eyes closed, so don’t crucify me.) Often times, we think the backend is of less significance in relation to beauty and performance but we couldn’t be further from the truth.

Clients mainly focus on results. That’s what beauty is to them. They might be clueless of what graphic design is and how it marries with their needs. All they want is a website that serves their purpose. As a designer, however, this isn’t a reason to design interfaces that are horrible just because your client doesn’t care. Your designs sell your work to those who understand what design is.

The major thing here is to understand what the client wants or what you want if you are designing one for yourself. Once you’re pretty darn sure what needs to be achieved, then and only then can you go around and build a website around the idea. This way, you can find the perfect balance between aesthetics and performance. In any case, we always recommend WordPress for startups and new businesses (it’s what we use – and we love it!).

Get the Right Utensils

Web Design Utensils

Utensils huh? No, I’m not trying to pull your leg here. If anything, we have a “delicious” website we need to marinade, bake and finally serve. Designing is just like cooking, but it’s much more fun (chefs don’t argue with me please, I know what I’m saying). Well I’ve tried cooking a couple of times and it surely isn’t that fun.

Back to the bigger picture, Web design entails quite many components put together to bring out the best of user experiences. We won’t focus on all. Instead, we will take you on a short interface design journey.

See how while cooking you choose the right utensil for your various dishes? Well, web design requires you to have the right tools in hand to bring out the best in you. These tools, which can be standalone programs or plugins, offer you amazing results including awesome fonts, images, colors and logos. Here, have a look at these two:

  • Sketch – This tool has been tailored for the modern day graphic designer. It’s a vector based program that allows elements to be reused easily, which saves a great deal of time. Vector image programs, use a mathematical formula (unlike raster) which results in high quality images.
  • ForeUI – This is another tool that you should check out. It is the best tool you can have as far as creating prototypes for your websites go. What’s better than having your idea generated into a recipe? It just makes everything easier.

Why just two tools?! For interested parties, these are some of the tools we have in our arsenal. You can check out other tools in “The 10 Hottest Design Tools You Should Try in 2017” and “10 Amazing WordPress Plugins for Designers”.

With these tools, you will have a great recipe to build your beautiful website. They are designed to make your life easier, so have fun.

Avoid Clutter

Avoid Clutter, Minimal Design

At a certain point in your life, you must have visited a website that really got on your nerves. Yes I see you, (don’t raise your hand), I too have. Have you ever tried scrolling down a page and the darn thing starts playing music (or even a video) automatically? How about intrusive newsletter pop ups or some unexpected animation? Rather than piquing your interest, this clutter drives you away, right?

Yes, all this is clutter. Too much of this stuff and you’ll diverge focus from your content. While advertising is an intrinsic component in the profitability of your website, cramping your sidebar with adverts or having them pop up in each and every post won’t translate to more money – so take the time to declutter your WordPress site.

Each of these items needs to be placed in an orderly manner.  Make sure to place them wisely and the visitor is bound to have an easy and fruitful experience. In the event that your website is new, the focus should be mainly on the content. That’s how you build an audience. When you have an audience, you can now think of Google AdSense and whatnot.

Understand the Nitty-Gritty of WordPress

Make Use of Web Services

WordPress is probably the easiest and yet most powerful content management system out there (making WordPress perfect for business). So, if you’re reading this and you haven’t jumped on the WP bandwagon, you don’t need a degree to know you’re missing out. Oh yes, you’re missing out big time!

Understand how WordPress works, from the internal setup of existing themes and picking the right WordPress theme to learning how to setup a content management system. These are the things you should knuckle down to. Learn all the elements and the dynamics of how they interact with each other. Why? This not only equips you with techniques to develop the best of designs, but also helps you to easily test your design.

Having a clear picture of what WordPress has to offer will also give you some insight on when you need to develop a project from scratch or when to modify an existing theme. An existing theme has the advantage of having functionalities that have been tested and proven to work, which makes design and development easy and fun. All you have to do is manipulate them.

Borrow Ideas

There is a thin line between stealing someone’s work and borrowing from it. Copying the results of someone else’s work, even with the best of intentions, doesn’t make it borrowing. It is stealing. However, unlike (code, graphics and brand identity) which are the result of someone’s work, ideas can be borrowed.

What do I mean by ideas? There are designs out there that give you some kind of web design inspiration. They challenge you and fuel your imagination. This inspiration results to a blueprint of your own idea(s). This is because, for every idea there is, there are more than a dozen ways to implement it. Authenticity is indispensable.

Parting shot

This was fun, right. I mean, the fact you can please your client and at the same time please yourself is just priceless. Well, at least the client has to pay lol. Anyway, make sure to be there for the client in case they need your help. Get them involved during the development and after. This will build a bond between you two. And guess who they will turn to if they have another project? Hope you guessed right. You.

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About The Author
Freddy Muriuki
Freddy Muriuki

Freddy is a WordPress theme reviewer at WP Theme Raves, writer, web developer and founder of Vista Media Enterprises, a nice place dedicated to the online entrepreneur looking to boost conversion rates using effective web content.