How do you design a website?

Hi there, I’ve been in the Graphic Design trade/industry for over 20 years. I’ve made websites from scratch, static, homegrown CMS, purchased themes, WordPress, Page Builders (WP Bakery), you name it, the more I am doing this, the less I feel like I know what the hell I am doing anymore and as of recent post Covid am basically in a panic everytime I have to make a website now that I don’t know how to do it, or have a clue what people’s web design process is, and what tools to use. I have always tried to be pragmatic in my approach, keep things very simple, but with all the STUFF that goes into a site these days, and all the different frameworks and CMSs and version control platforms, etc., I sure could use to be a fly on the wall in another web design process. Feeling like I am getting caught up in the tech more often than the design these days. I’ve always found a way to scrap something together and clients have always been happy in the end but it sure would be nice to have a more confident and trustworthy process. Thanks for your time!


I feel exactly the same way about the state of web design today. I learned HTML in 1994, and built several websites for newspapers and government agencies. As time moved on, I kept up with CSS, and enough JavaScript and PHP to get by. I learned to code templates/themes for Joomla and WordPress.

At some point, though, it got way too complicated to keep up — and needlessly so, in my opinion. Knowing everything needed to market myself as a web designer became impossible as various specialties began branching off in a dozen different directions. I’ve never liked simply taking somebody else’s theme and simply tweaking it through whatever GUI was included.

I finally decided that I’d had enough of it and decided to quit taking on web design projects. That was three and a half years ago, and I don’t regret it at all. I still hand-code my own website and will help out friends, but I no longer take on paying web design jobs. I don’t need the frustration.


Prior to Covid that is exactly what I had decided, and stopped taking on new web design projects. Then as it turned out other work started drying up, and these web projects started coming my way, so I circled back committed to finding a new way to develop websites. Now, I am totally unsure anymore, I like the design aspect but everything always seems hung up in the tech aspect, and then when the site launches the security and maintenance stuff. Feels like too much for an individual anymore.

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I feel pretty much the same with a similar past

I used to do more programming, but I am no longer up to date.

I tweak Wordpress themes/plugins for smaller projects where my client has to trust my talent.

I work with programmers for larger projects where clients get a presentation from the designer programmer team beforehand.

Edit: :grimacing: lots of “I” above.


A lot of the time I have an existing client who wants a website and I get pressured to do it. Once I had a project I was avoiding for 5 years and it never went away they kept asking even after I would decline just because of comfort in working with me I guess. I don’t know, it’s tough, I enjoy web design in the traditional sense, but don’t enjoy the shroud of mystery surrounding what best practices are. Everyone is using different tools and methods these days. Back in the day you had BBEdit and Fetch. Guess I am just aging out of my profession I don’t know.

  1. Define the Site’s Purpose.
  2. Choose Your Platform.
  3. Gather Your Brand Elements.
  4. Select a Template or Theme.
  5. Map Out Your Site.
  6. Design Each Site Element.
  7. Customize Your Web Pages.
  8. Test and Launch Your Website.

I can only speak for what has worked for me, but I host my sites on Bluehost and build them with WordPress. I use the Astra Pro theme and the Elementor Pro builder. I subscribe to the unlimited versions of each so I can use them for all of my client’s sites. I sketch out the designs and wireframe them in Illustrator or XD, then build them out. I like the freedom and flexibility of WordPress since there’s a plugin for anything you could want.

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Designing a website involves these key steps:

  1. Define Purpose: Clearly understand the website’s goals and target audience.
  2. Plan Structure: Outline the site’s structure and create a sitemap for navigation.
  3. Choose Platform: Select a suitable platform like WordPress or Wix for building.
  4. Design Layout: Create a visually appealing layout with a focus on user experience.
  5. Add Content: Populate the site with high-quality and relevant text, images, and multimedia.
  6. Optimize for SEO: Incorporate SEO-friendly elements for better search engine visibility.
  7. Test Responsiveness: Ensure the site works well on various devices and screen sizes.
  8. Launch and Maintain: Publish the site, and regularly update content for freshness.