How to Create a Killer Website (even if you don’t know what you’re doing)

 

You might’ve caught our post a few weeks back on why it’s important for a modern gal to teach herself a little bit of coding, because it makes you a more viable job candidate and will likely save you money in the long run if you’re able to tinker with your own site rather than pay a web whiz by the hour. And we stand by all that, of course; there are more reasonably priced (or free), user-friendly resources for learning how to code and build your own website from scratch than ever before. But should you count yourself among a certain hopelessly tech unsavvy demographic that is constantly texting your younger sibling things like “WHY WON’T CUT VIA LAYER WORK FOR ME ON PHOTOSHOP :( :( :( :( :(?!?!?” (an anecdotal example from a friend, of course), don’t count yourself out of the game just yet.

As millennials have become fluent in coding languages, the economy of ready-to-wear websites has boomed, and here’s the best part: it’s no longer limited to whack designs! In fact, the marketplace has expanded such that you can pick out a super handsome, functional template, customize it if you wish, and buff it to a professional sheen all without entering so much as an “&nbsp”.

In other words: a bunch of sharp, design-minded people have done a lot of the work for you, and as the need to have a functional, aesthetically pleasing website that clearly communicates what you or your business offer becomes more indispensable by the day, you shouldn’t let that fall by the wayside simply because you never absorbed the fact that “cache” is pronounced “cash” and not like the ladies formalwear store that used to populate every suburban strip mall back in the early aughts (RIP, Caché). Check out the following resources that will trick everyone into thinking you definitely know how to do the Internet:

 

  • Layers claims to be “the world’s most user friendly WordPress theme,” which offers a point-and-click (read: code-free!) site builder in a variety of templates. If you need a store or purchase component to your site, it integrates with WooCommerce, and it’s responsive, meaning it’ll scale appropriately depending on the device your site is being viewed on. There are presently 10 different themes you can choose from that cater to different needs, which is something important to consider; a coffee shop has different functionality requirements than a clothing store, after all. Themes start at $49.99 for a single license. Should you up your game in the future, there are extensions like the StoreKit and LayersPro that allow you to create more robust functionality.
     
  • Black and white is forever a safe bet, sure, but are you falling back on that out of laziness/trauma from that time you painted your teenage bedroom algae green and haystack yellow? Head over to Coolors and start hitting that space bar; every time you do, it presents you with a five-color scheme that looks positively lovely together, along with their corresponding hex color codes so you can implement them in whatever site building platform you choose.
     
  • Hipster Logo Generator isn’t kidding around about being full-bore hipster-y (a logo designed around a giant X, a prominent anchor, etc.), and the templates feel a little dated at this point, but they’re promising “more swaggyness” and options soon. If you need a site like, yesterday, it can work as a stand-in at the very least (and hey, it’s f-r-e-e to download a low-res image, and then $5 for a bigger file). 

...and some bonus #inspo

  • siteInspire features a ton of lookers to help you shape the aesthetic you want. While you might not be able to achieve some of the fancy stuff, it doesn’t hurt to track down examples of the vibe you’re after and keep them bookmarked for reference.
     
  • One Page Love provides abundant examples of sites that are maximizing the information being conveyed in minimal space; there’s some fancy footwork going on with a lot of them, but that efficiency principle is good to keep in mind as you set out to carve your digital dwelling.

-Deena Drewis