So, you’ve decided to launch a website for your business — but how do you go about creating one? Does free web design actually exist?
If you’ve never designed a website before, you should know your options: you can hire a designer to build your website from scratch or use a web-hosting service that provides templates to use as the foundation for your site’s design.
While hiring a designer allows for more website customization, it can be costly. Using the pre-built templates from a web-hosting service like WordPress.com is beginner-friendly, as its step-by-step processes feature support and guidance. It’s also less expensive, with many opportunities to benefit from free web design.
WordPress.com features hundreds of free website themes and page templates to organize your site’s information. WordPress.com’s enhanced tools can be used to optimize the customizable pieces of your site. If you’re deciding between investing time and money into hiring a designer, or using templates from a web-hosting service, here are a few reasons why going with the latter might be a better fit for you.
Themes drive web design
Building a website from scratch requires a lot of legwork. First, consider your site’s hierarchy and structure. This involves choosing the pages that you need and where they will live on your website. Then come the design considerations like color scheme, typography, use of images, and more.
If you’re working with a designer, the entire process involves decision-making, collaboration, and countless rounds of revisions until your finalized product genuinely represents your brand and business. However, using an existing template streamlines this process, making it much more straightforward.
WordPress.com offers more than 300 free and premium website themes. Each theme features a different layout, color scheme, and architecture — and in many cases, several of each. You can also view live demos and take a detailed tour of each template before you pick one to use.
Going this route will save you a step, as skilled designers already created each website theme for WordPress.com. All you need to do is decide which one aligns with your business, whether it’s an image-centric template to promote your travel photography services, or an elegant theme for your digital-marketing business that showcases your previous work.
Each theme comes with built-in features that improve page-load times and enhance your SEO.
Understanding site architecture and layout
Another benefit of using a web-hosting service to build your site is that you don’t have to worry about your site’s hierarchy and architecture.
All WordPress.com themes come with the ability to create standard website pages, from a front page (or a homepage) to Contact and About Me pages, as well as a Blog that displays and archives your posts. You can add pages, upload a featured image to each one, and decide how users will navigate to these pages across your site. For example, you can add a Services page and create individual child-pages for each service that you offer. Users can access each page through a drop-down menu beneath a header that reads “Services” on the main page. For a spa business, this drop-down menu might include links to individual pages about the different facials, massages, and salon service offers.
You can also add tags to each post on your website (and in some themes, to pages as well) so that everything is categorized and easy for users to find. An included page-analytics feature will reveal statistics about your fans, how often they visit your site, and which types of content are the most popular. These features, along with the flexibility to add or change pages without having to learn HTML, are the other key advantages of using WordPress.com templates to design your site.
Take customization a step further with CSS
If you have basic technical and web-design skills, you have the option to customize certain elements of your WordPress.com site yourself, from your custom header image and background to the types of fonts you use.
More advanced site owners can execute additional customization using CSS. WordPress.com themes use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to design the visual elements that you see in each theme. CSS formats and designs elements on each page, and every WordPress.com theme has a style.css file that contains all this information. You can use WordPress.com’s CSS editor to change the default styles within your chosen website theme. This might entail changing the background colors of your site from white to teal, or making additional tweaks to the fonts and default graphics that come with your theme. To use the CSS editor, you must have either a WordPress.com Premium or WordPress.com Business plan.
If you’re working with limited resources, take advantage of WordPress.com’s free web design functions and features. Everything is housed within a template, so that business owners with little design experience (or none) can still create visually stunning and engaging websites. If you have some technical experience, you can take this process a step further by tailoring the look of your site with enhanced features like custom CSS.
When it comes to creating a website, you could always hire a web designer — but with WordPress.com’s themes, you might never have to.