Are you thinking of becoming a web designer?
If yes then we’d love to share our work experience and skills with your as you progress towards working in the growing web design industry.
Start with the basics
Regardless of what one does, once upon a time we were all beginners. But some of us kept on learning and doing and in time, we go good at it. Prolific Web Design doesn’t just serve customers, we also teach anyone who want to learn.
Once online, our training videos and downloadable PDF books (digital format) will give you a solid grounding when it comes to coding HTML5 websites.
After that, you will learn how and why style HTML5-driven websites with CSS or similar method.
Because you will work a lot with the fantastic CMS (content management system), we’ll divide the topic into four courses. They are:
– Basic WordPress sites
– Advanced WordPress sites
– Learning management sites
– Custom theme coding (advanced)
- Domain names
There is a lot to know when it comes to getting that perfect name and why you must keep your domains separated from your web host.
- Web hosting
Besides a great domain names, web hosting is the second-most important decision you will have to make. Many web hosts are expensive and the fair-priced ones are complex to configure.
Fear not, there is a good middle ground which works for most of us.
To get started, you will need to have access to at least one computer. Web design does not require top-of-the-line specification which means to you can get by with almost any setup.
A work computer can be broken down into the following:
Computer (desktop or laptop)
A computer consists of the following components which are present in both, desktop and laptop machines:
Since web designers often do graphics work, it’s best to go with at least 8 virtual cores. Both, Intel and AMD work great.
Laptops can get by with 8 or 12 Gig and desktop machines will work fine with that configuration too but to be safe, 16 Gig is a good starting point.
- Hard drive
If possible, go for a small SSD (Solid State Disk) drive. 256 Gig or 500 Gig is good. A 1 Gig 7200 RPM (spinning) hard drive is good to have for backups.
- Graphics card
Web design itself does not require a powerful graphics card but we often have to create 3D renders or large poster-sized artwork which means that a good GFX card is a must. Again, NVIDIA and AMD cards with 4 Gig or more memory are a good starting point.
If you are just starting out then go for an 34″ ultrawide monitor because the 21 : 9 ratio is better suited and cheaper than two monitors. Ultrawide monitors also take up much less room on your desk. A 28 or 32″ 4K monitor is also suitable.
Web design used to be an expensive business to start but thankfully, those days are over. For a while now, we have free opensource software which is free to download and works on every major operating system, especially Linux which is what we use. The key to success is to use what you have. Technology keeps changing and the grass is always greener on the other side. The point is that to get started, a laptop, some free software, a fast internet connection and time is all you need.
IMPORTANT! Unless you are using Linux, we advise you to make sure that your antivirus software definitions are up-to-date. Never install a software program from a website that just happens to make it available for “free”. There is no such thing as free commercial software.
Web design software
- Web browser
Our number one web design tool is the Firefox web browser. Google Chrome or Edge which is the default web browser for Windows 10 users also work well.
Configuring and creating WordPress-driven sites is all done via a web browser. Inspecting and trouble shooting websites also start by inspecting the source with a web browser.
- Code editor
There are too many to list. I happen to use SublimeText3 but Visual Studio Code and Atom are very good choices and also free.
What ever can not be done with a web browser is done with the code editor. Try them all and use the one you like best.
- Planner / scheduler
Learning to code web pages is not hard. Managing time on the other hand is a different story. At first, everything is easy then come multiple customers and meetings that get cancelled or moved and sometimes moved again.
Thunderbird is a great choice to stay organized. Thunderbird handles not just email but comes with a capable built-in planner as well.
Graphics design software
This free graphics editor is ideal for creating and preparing images destined for the web. There are a few other options but some are expensive and others are too limited.
Blender 3D is a complex piece of software and not easy to learn. Still, those who have/take the time to watch YouTube videos can become proficient 3D modelers which opens up a few more doors.
Blender is all we use and a real time saver. Clients want everything yesterday and deadlines always get moved and revised.
- Open Broadcaster Software
If clients have needs for video content, then OBS is the best free tool to do the job. OBS can simultaniusly record your desktop and webcams plus record the audio as well.
- SFTP Client
Unless you are willing to use Linux (which most of you are not), you will need a software program to access files on various client web servers. Linux is able to do this right from within the file browser. FileZilla is a free option for Windows users and Forklift is a cheap app for OS X users.
All of the above is useless unless you are willing to come up with a good data backup strategy that works for you. It’s nice to get paid for making a website for a company but losing that data is hell. Be smart and set aside 30 minutes per day to back up all of the work you have done to an external drive. External USB3 hard drives are cheap. If possible, go with a 500 Gig SSD but even the older spinning hard drivers are good enough to hold a copy of your work. We use both and everything works as it should.
Computer security topics fill bookshelves so I’ll make it short and sweet. Instead of giving you advise, I simply tell you how we do it here at Prolific Web Design. When the day is done, turn your computer(s) off. A computer that isn’t on can not be hacked into. Encrypt sensitive information such as email and account login names and passwords. Don’t store them in your web browser. Have a .txt file with everything that you must know and encrypt it with 7 zip. I will explain more when we cross that bridge. Until then, be smart. When you sleep, so does your PC.
Contact us for additional information and starting dates.