Kim’s Website Design & Marketing
The Ultimate Guide for Web Design on WordPress
According to w3techs, WordPress powers over 37% of all websites on the internet. This makes it the most popular website builder at the moment. The massive success that WordPress has received since it started in 2003 has been due to the way it makes it easy to build websites.
WordPress has hundreds of themes in its store that can be customized to create different web designs. The only downside to using the free and paid WordPress Themes is the fact that your website may look similar to several other websites. It will require you to apply some unique design techniques to make your WordPress website look unique and professional.
If you are out there, and you are wondering how best you can design a professional-looking WordPress site, this article is for you. I am going to share a step by step guide for designing a WordPress site and some of the best design practices that you can use while creating it.
Why WordPress for Web Design Projects?
Before I take you through the web design guide and the best practices, let’s look at why you need to choose WordPress over the other website builder.
It has the largest community.
Having a big community of users is important especially if you fail to figure out how to do something while building your WordPress site. By simply doing a google search, you’ll land on hundreds or even thousands of solutions to your problem. This may not be the case for website builders that have a small number of users.
It has lots of themes and plugins.
One of the things you will have to consider while choosing a website builder is whether it has a good number of other third-party developers making that create themes and plugins that you may need to make your site robust. WordPress has hundreds and thousands of these.
It has lots of SEO tools.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is necessary for any website that wants to get free traffic from search engines. If you have a WordPress site, you will have a wide range of tools that you can use to make the content on your site search engine friendly – this is in the end will increase your traffic from search engines. Other website builders also have a couple of tools, but WordPress has the most of these.
It is easy to use
WordPress can be used by even people that don’t have any coding skills, thanks to the straightforward procedure of doing things. It has lots of third-party plugins that make it further easier to build pages and sections of your website. If you try plugins like Elementor, you will know exactly what I mean.
WordPress is free
Using the tools available in WordPress is free of charge/ All you will need to pay for is your domain name and a hosting package. If you want to build a more sophisticated site, you will then have to pay for the paid versions of WordPress that starts from $4 per month.
Step-by-step web design guide for WordPress
These steps assume you have already secured your domain and a hosting package. But if you haven’t, you can get a domain name for free if you subscribe to the annual packages of Hostgator.
Choose a relevant theme.
One of the strengths of WordPress is the wide range of free and paid themes that you can choose to use on your site. But before you choose a theme, it is important to make sure you choose one that will let you do less work in terms of customization. It is best to choose a theme that already has most of the pages and sections that you need on your website by default.
Get a robust WordPress pages builder.
WordPress has a wide range of page builders that make it easy to create and edit pages of your WordPress site. Some of the most popular ones that you can choose from include; Elementor, Beaver Builder, The Divi Builder, Visual Composer, and many more. My favourite amongst these is Elementor. But you can give 2 or 3 of these builders a try to find out which one works for you.
Customise your theme
By default, your theme comes with its layout and content. If you want to make your site look different from the rest that used a similar theme, you will have to change a few things here and there.
Some of the first things you need to change are the website header, footer, social links, theme colors, etc. You can use your WordPress page builder like Elementor to customize all these aspects.
The best design practices for WordPress
Websites built with WordPress are very customizable, which allows web designers to create unique and captivating designs. The ease of use of this platform makes it simple for even beginners to create wonderful designs for their websites if they can follow the best practices for designing websites on WordPress.
Here is a collection of best design practices that we have compiled for you:
Leave enough white space on your web pages.
A web page of any WordPress site is all white by default. This means the more you add content (words, images, audio, and video), the more you reduce the white space. Most users on the web love it when a web page has enough whitespace since it makes it easier for them to read the content.
So, while designing your website, make sure your content has enough white space in between to improve the readability and neatness of your web pages.
Use high-quality images
The quality of images is determined by the number of Pixels it has per inch. In most cases, the more pixels in one inch, the clearer the image. Many people today use devices with displays that have above 200 pixels per inch (PPI). So, while choosing images for your website, you can consider a pixel density of 200ppi to be your minimum.
If you intend to use stock images from the internet, make sure you look for the most recent ones. For instance, a stock image of 2010 will most likely be of poorer quality than one of today mainly because of the technological advancements that have happened in the camera industry between now and then.
Use a simple but readable colour palette.
One of the choices you need to make while designing a website is the main color you will use throughout the site. Most people would prefer using the theme colours of their business, which is a good idea. However, the way you use them matters. For instance, if your theme colours are white and orange, using these two colours as your default palette for texts won’t be a good choice.
You may choose to use the color orange as the background of your header with white as the text color. But when it comes to the main body of your content, it is best to use black and white or grey and white for easy readability. You may then opt to use your orange colour for both inbound and outbound links.
Choose an easy-to-read font.
Helvetica is the most popular used font on the web, and if you don’t have any font ideas, I would recommend you use it because it has a good track record of readability. However, if you chose to use a custom font, you need to make sure it easy to read, whether in its default state, italics or in bold.
You should also have a couple of other fonts that you can use for the H1, H2, and H3 tags of your content. The font you use for your inbound and outbound links should also be different from the one you use in the main content.
Your website should be mobile-friendly
Since the beginning of 2017, statistics by Statistica show that the number of people accessing the web using their mobile devices has been over 50% (and this excludes tablets). This stat simply means half of the internet traffic is from mobile phones. So, any website that is not optimized to work well on both PCs and mobile devices risk losing out on a lot of web traffic.
The good news is most of the popular WordPress page builders like Elementor have tools that can help you build a website that is well optimized for both PCs and mobile devices. Most of the recent themes are also very responsive and will automatically change the way the content is displayed by detecting the display a user is using.
Avoid using too many plugins.
Plugins are an important component of a website thanks to the extra functionality they add. However, using too many plugins slows down websites and may even cause errors while loading some of your web pages. After installing them, you may have to uninstall any plugin that you don’t find useful for your website.
You should also regularly update them for better efficiency and performance. As web technology evolves, the plugins you use on your website should also evolve to match the available tech.
The Must Do’s and Must Do NOTS for web design in WordPress
Be consistent with colours and fonts
If you want to make your website content easy to read and follow for your users, don’t use lots of colours and fonts. Using just two or three major colors and fonts throughout your website is good enough to make your website content readable and organized. Using too many colours tends to make websites look messy and unprofessional.
Navigation should be easy.
While designing your website, one of the things you need to give a lot of attention, is the ease of users moving from the webpage of your site to another. For instance, you need to carefully choose what pages to add to your header, sidebars, and footer because this will hugely affect the ease of navigation of your site.
You may also consider adding a scroll bar just to the right of your web pages to make it easy for users to quickly move to the top or the bottom of your web page.
Use high-quality images
People love looking at images because they give more context to your written content. Using clear and high-quality images will make the content on your web pages more interesting and easier to follow on the side of your website users.
Must DO Nots
Don’t congest your home page
Some people think having a lot of information on your homepage is a good idea. However, congesting the home page affects readability and is a turn off for most web users. So, always make sure your home page has only the necessary content and links to the rest of your website.
Don’t direct internal links to a new tab.
One of the best practices while adding content to your website is including relevant inbound and outbound links. While it is advisable to open outbound links in a new tab, experts advise opening inbound links within the same browser tab. So, the user will always know that whenever a link takes them to another tab, that’s for an external link that is not part of the website.
Don’t use too many images on the website.
Whereas using images within your content is one of the most reliable ways to make your content more engaging, using too many of them will make it look messy. It is always best to use at least one or two images for every 500 words.
WordPress still has a lot of potential when it comes to creating great website designs if used properly. The way you design your website has a huge impact on its success both in the short and long term. If you can follow the best design practices, the Must-Dos, and the Must Nots that we have shared above, you will likely start to see good results from your website very soon.