If you’re looking to become a Web Designer then one of the first things you’re going to have to put together is your Web Stack, which simply put is the set of software or code you will be using to build your websites. There are tons of options out there and there are pros and cons of every single one of them.
Understanding your Web Stack and being familiar with all of its components is key in becoming a Web Designer. As you use these various software or code you’ll get more and more familiar making your life easier and allowing you to design much faster. This means you can pick up more clients!
There are various website platforms available for use, so take your time and see about testing quite a few out before you decide. I’ve heard of Wix Website Designers all the way to Magento or WordPress Web Designers. I don’t believe there is any shame in using any platform as long as you work as a professional and do a good job. Some popular platforms are:
- iPage Website Builder
- GoDaddy Website Builder
Aside from these builders you also have the option of using just raw code if that’s what you enjoy and you are efficient enough at it to do so. I’ll leave frameworks and coding stacks for another post, but there are some popular ones we can discuss. If you don’t already know HTML and CSS no matter what you want to do that’s where you need to start.
Quite a few of these platforms have various themes attached to them. Some of these themes are pretty broad like DIVI or Beaver Builder for WordPress. Those specifically are ‘themes’ that turn WordPress into a sort of “website builder” making it much more efficient to design websites in WordPress. Both of these have various “child themes” that are designs using those specific builders. There are various subscriptions for things like this.
Aside from WordPress I know there are built in themes for other platforms included in the platform. You can also pay for themes and that is quite a lucrative business (designing themes). Keep this in mind as you decide on what all is going to be included in your Web Stack. You’ll find yourself diving deeper and deeper into your Web Stack and building out a list of themes you can take apart for the sake of building your own sites.
Plugins & Addons
Each platform is going to have various plugins, add-ons, and methods of dealing with various parts of your website. There are SEO plugins, form builder plugins, payment plugins, e-commerce solution plugins, and much much more. Actually there are way too many out there for me to even go over, but know that you will most likely have to find various tools that you use.
Some of the ones I use for WordPress are Gravity Forms, Yoast, Podbean, WooCommerce, and Askimet. There are a few more i’ll go into detail with in a later post I just wanted to throw in a few that I use often. If you have any to suggest be sure to throw it down in the comments so I can take a look. I’ve also used quite a few with Magento, but that’s not one of my favored platforms to use.
Obviously your Web Stack will grow, change, and get better as you move along, but consistency is key. I say this because the more consistently you use your stack the better you will get with it and the faster you will be able to work. This is important especially if you’re doing all parts of your business (sales, design, billing, paperwork, contracts, etc…). As you can see from that short list there is quite a bit more to being a web designer than just knowing how to design.
I’ll be breaking down my opinion on various platforms in future blogs, but for now know that I am a pretty big fan of WordPress and Shopify in general. I have designed on Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Joomla, GoDaddy builder, and Magento in the past just so you know a bit about my experience. I’m sure I’m missing a few things in there and not to mention the various frameworks of code I have used.
This was a post for those completely new to the subject of Web Design so I hope you got some use out of it and better understand what a Web Stack is and what all goes into setting one up for yourself. Theres not much more I can say other than get out there and play with these things! You need to see what works for you and what you enjoy using because you’ll be using it a lot if this is something you truly want to do. Until next time, stay classy and be safe.