Web design

By Matthew Felsted

Web design is a general term that has grown to encompass a wide and growing field of web site development. It includes design, e-commerce, templates, cms systems, programming and scripting, optimization, and photography for the web.


  1. Design is the artistic side of website design and is where creative thinking and artistic abilities form the uniqueness and distinction that can set your website and company apart.
  2. Professional web design typically requires advanced design software. Some programs that you should be familiar with include:
    1. Photoshop by Adobe
    2. Illustrator by Adobe
    3. Fireworks by Adobe
    4. Flash
  3. Color themes and tools, color schemes, and the color palette are important in design. Mozilla Firefox browser offers many web developer friendly extensions and tools for free. Three essential tools: eyedrop color selector, measuring ruler, and firebug.

E-commerce is more than just using paypal. E-commerce is a term that refers to a premium suite of electronic transaction tools where all business revolves around the shopping cart platform installed on your server. Popular shopping cart platforms include:
  1. Opencart
  2. X-Cart
  3. Zen Cart
Shopping cart platforms are complex software packages built upon relational databases like mysql and often use php. Shopping carts can be customized by modifying the css stylesheets of the template, changing the template, editing internal .tpl files, and by configuring the shopping cart settings.


Templates are pre-designed themes and styles that you can easily integrate into your website design. Templates can provide a solid foundation upon which you base future designs off of and not only save time, but also provide higher levels of sophistication and functionality without costing thousands of dollars. Here are some examples of popular themes that you can start using today.

CMS systems

CMS systems are content management systems and like shopping cart platforms are complex packages of software that maximize website administration and management. Most cms systems come with built in WYSIWYG editors and have powerful administration tools. CMS systems are highly customizable and are recommended for most web projects. These platforms require cms web hosting.

Popular CMS systems
  1. Wordpress
  2. Drupal
  3. Joomla
  4. Expression Engine
  5. ModX 
Programming and Scripting

Web design often covers important programming and scripting languages. These languages include HTML, CSS, PHP, MYSQL, JAVASCRIPT, and JQUERY.


Optimization is the field that covers image compression, article writing, keyword analysis, alt tags, anchor tags, meta tags, and other related topics.


Photography adds a critical dimension of respectability and visual communication to any website. Photos set the motif of a website and can add meaning. Website designers can either take the photos themselves, or rely on a popular alternative, stock photography. Stock photography is photo sets that professional photographers and artists have created with many years of experience and precocious talent. Stock photography sites offer a license to use and download  photos and images created by graphic designers in exchange for a fee that is split between the website owners and the photographers.

If you'd like a css web design kit that comes with 3d lightboxes, modals, carousels, and more along with step by step tutorials, you might want to try my jQuery combo pack. See the html web design kit.

Related fields

Search Engine Marketing

Organic SEO

Organic search engine optimization is a search engine friendly approach to market a website online for free. Organic strategy emphasizes attracting links and thus page rank by focusing on building useful content that is sometimes called "link bait".

Pay per click

Pay per click marketing has not proven to affect organic listings in either a positive or negative sense. This might seem counter-intuitive given that page rankings and SERP position is mainly connected to inbound links from reputable sites on the internet. Link ads after all are links themselves. Search engines have grown in sophistication and they are likely capable of detecting ads, even if the ads are not dependent on javascript or any other obvious signature.

cost per click

Pay per click programs typically encourage competition because the pricing is set by an automatic auction where advertisers set their maximum bid amount for any given keyword and the algorithm ranks each ad according to max bids and automatically bids lower than the max amount if the ad can yet still outrank the competition that is paying less.


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