How to design your website using a DIY website builder

How to create a website for your business

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

In today’s digital landscape, a standout website is your business’s ticket to online success. But making that eye-catching website isn’t a walk in the park. That’s why we’re here to help! Our ultimate guide to website design is your trusty sidekick on how to design a website, packed with all the know-how and tips you need.

From laying the groundwork to bringing your vision to life, we’ve got you covered every step of the way. If you’re looking for detailed instructions that will help you create the best website to promote your business online, read on!

The ultimate guide to web design

Before you start: Everything you need before creating your website

Gather your website team

To create your dream website, you need a superhero squad—a team of diverse talents geared up to conquer the digital realm. 

So, who are the key players you’ll want to recruit for your website dream team?

  • Web designers: Armed with Adobe Photoshop or Figma (or any other graphic design tool) and a hefty dose of creativity, they’ll transform your vision into a mockup. 
  • UX and UI designers: The dynamic duo of UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) designers are the architects and interior designers of the web world that prioritize the user. They’ll meticulously craft every button, layout and navigation element to ensure every click feels effortless and every interaction leaves a lasting impression.

Tip

UX and UI design go hand-in-hand, with the user experience informing the interface, so you can hire one designer for both jobs. You can hire a web designer with UX/UI design skills if you’re on a tight budget. 

  • Web developers: The backbone of your digital endeavor, web developers possess the technical prowess to bring your design vision to life. Proficient in a myriad of coding languages (or at least several), they add functionality to your website, transforming static mockups into dynamic, interactive platforms.

Within the realm of developers, there are front-end and back-end developers:

  • Front-end developers are masters of the visible realm, specializing in crafting your website’s user-facing elements. From responsive layouts to captivating animations, they ensure your site looks polished and performs seamlessly across devices.
  • Back-end developers work their magic behind the scenes, implementing the infrastructure that powers your website’s functionality. Whether it’s setting up databases, integrating payment gateways or optimizing server performance, they ensure your website operates smoothly and securely.

Tip

If you want a jack of all trades on your website development team, look for a full-stack web developer who can manage both your website’s front and back end. 

Finally, without content, your website would be just a page on the internet that doesn’t serve any purpose. For the website to perform well and help you achieve your business goals, you need to fill it with well-crafted content. To do that, you need a content team:

  • An SEO specialist, who employs strategies to enhance your website’s search engine rankings, drives organic traffic and maximizes exposure.
  • A content strategist/manager and copywriter collaborate to craft compelling messages that engage your audience.

However, if your resources are limited and you don’t have the budget for a full-blown team to work on your website, you can always seek online tools that help you to build a website (check out this website builder by Vista x Wix), hire a few freelancers for a one-time project or turn to an agency for help. 

Choose a hosting and secure a domain

Launching your online presence is akin to setting up a shop in a bustling city; you need a prime location to attract visitors. In the digital world, this means securing hosting and staking a claim to a memorable domain name.

Hosting: Your website’s virtual home

Web hosting is the bedrock of your digital presence, providing virtual real estate where all your website’s assets, from images to databases, find their home. While setting up your server is an option, most opt for the convenience and reliability of renting space from hosting providers. Rates vary depending on your needs, ranging from a few dollars to upwards of 20 dollars per month.

Research available hosting providers and their prices, and compare pros and cons. If you have a web developer, consult with them to select the right provider for your specific requirements.

Domain: Your website’s digital identity

Think of your domain name as your online storefront sign—it’s the first thing visitors see and remember. Your domain name is what users type into their browsers to access your website, so choose wisely.

Best practices for selecting a domain name include keeping it short, memorable and reflective of your brand or business. Avoid complicated spellings or obscure references; clarity is key. Opt for a “.com” extension for universal recognition and trust. Securing your domain involves registering it with a domain registrar, a straightforward process that is often offered by hosting providers for a hassle-free setup.

Once you’ve secured hosting and a domain name, the final piece of the puzzle is to point your domain to your hosting servers. This essentially directs internet traffic to the right place, ensuring your website is readily accessible to visitors. While this step may seem daunting, fear not, both hosting providers and domain registrars offer robust support to guide you through the process.

Map out the website structure and gather content for it

When it comes to your website, the content and structure are in your hands. While your web designer and developer can craft the mockup of the site and bring it to life, it’s up to you to provide the content, like texts and imagery, and outline the site’s layout.

How to design your website using a DIY website builder

Source: Custom website design by deandesign via 99designs by Vista

As you consider the structure, think about the essential pages your site needs. Each of these pages requires careful design and relevant content:

  • The homepage
  • About us and/or contact page
  • Product page grid
  • Individual product pages
  • A blog section
  • Delivery and returns info and/or terms and conditions
  • A gallery
  • Landing pages for special promotions

While you don’t need finalized content right away, it’s important to plan. Will you write the copy or hire someone? Decide if professional photography is needed for your products. You’re responsible for custom visuals like your logo, but your web designer can help with stock images if necessary.

Figure out the functionality you need for your website

As you map out your website’s purpose, consider the desired actions for your visitors. What interactions do you want them to engage in? Whether it’s accessing information about your offerings, making purchases, exploring blog content or interacting through forms and profiles, defining your website’s functionality is key.

To streamline your development process and budget effectively, clarifying your website’s functions upfront is crucial. Common functionalities include:

  • Information pages (about, contact)
  • E-commerce capabilities (shopping cart, checkout)
  • Blog pages
  • Inquiry forms or quote requests
  • User registration and profile management
  • Search functionality
  • Integration with social media platforms
  • Analytics and reporting 

Decide whether or not you need a CMS

A Content Management System (CMS) serves as the backbone of your website, enabling relatively effortless content uploads without the need for coding expertise. A CMS can be indispensable if you regularly update text or images across your site.

The CMS landscape is vast, offering tailored solutions for various needs. From WordPress for blogging to Shopify for e-commerce, there’s a platform for every use case. 

However, if you want your website to be the next big thing, custom development is the route to take.

How to design a website for your business: A step-by-step guide

No matter which path you choose, whether it’s creating a website yourself, hiring a freelancer or turning to an agency for help, there are fundamental steps to follow in crafting a top-notch website for your business. We’ve dissected the website creation process into seven key steps. Keep reading to delve into each of them!

Step 1: Gather all the required materials to get started

If you’ve followed our preliminary preparations, initiating the website development process should be a breeze. To establish a clear direction and set specific timelines, consolidate all previously gathered information into a comprehensive document. This document should include:

  • A clear idea of roles and responsibilities.
  • A detailed timeline outlining important milestones and deadlines for the website creation process.
  • Identified functionality requirements that need to be developed and implemented.
  • A list of content elements that need to be prepared for the website.
  • A compiled list of references, encompassing both functional capabilities and aesthetic solutions.

The next step is to work a freelance web designer or explore templates on website building platforms like Vista x Wix. Review designer or agency portfolios or conduct research into website builders to identify whether they align with your functional and aesthetic preferences.

Website templates by Websites by Vista x Wix

Source: Website templates by Websites via Vista x Wix

Step 2: Develop wireframes

Wireframes serve as foundational blueprints for website pages, providing a simplified visual guide for their structure. They outline the placement of essential elements such as navigation menus, content sections and interactive features, emphasizing functionality over detailed design aspects such as colors, fonts and imagery.

Wireframe for the homepage of 99designs

Source: 99designs by Vista homepage wireframe 

Developing wireframes is a crucial step in the website development process as they do the following:

  • Facilitate effective communication and collaboration between designers, developers and stakeholders.
  • Streamline the design process, allowing for quicker iterations and revisions.
  • Help prevent costly redesigns in later development stages by identifying potential design issues early on.
  • Prioritize user experience by emphasizing usability and navigation flow.
  • Allow for experimentation and exploration of different design concepts before committing to final designs.
  • Enable designers to test and refine design ideas, ensuring the final product meets the needs of the project.
  • Ensure alignment between stakeholders by providing a visual reference for design decisions and requirements.

It’s important to create wireframes for all important page types, such as the homepage, product listings and blog articles. Even if you’re using a template, wireframing helps you understand design limits and areas for change.

Step 3: Create a website design that aligns with your brand identity 

You’re creating a website to promote your business online. So, everything about its design, from the color scheme to the fonts used, needs to reflect your brand and encompass your brand identity.

Consider sharing your brand style guide with the web designer to make sure the design of your website is aligned with your brand. If you don’t have one yet, provide them with a document with the essential information, including:

  • Your logo and all its variations
  • Brand colors (including precise hex codes)
  • A curated list of brand fonts
  • Brand attributes (e.g., “vibrant and approachable” or “elegant and refined”)


It’s also beneficial to compile a mood board and a list of reference sites that resonate with your brand. These carefully selected examples, accompanied by brief explanations of why you chose them, offer valuable insight into your design preferences.

Usually, the designer will start with the most important page (often the homepage) and share the first draft for you to review before they move on to the others.

Website design for a beer brand

Source: Website design for a beer brand by DSKY via 99designs by Vista

Upon receiving the initial design draft, allow ample time for reflection before providing feedback. Avoid immediate reactions and instead, take at least 24 hours to digest the design and gather input from other stakeholders. When offering feedback, strive for specificity and clarity to effectively guide the design process.

If you’re designing the website yourself, either using Figma or editing a website design template like the ones Vista x Wix offer, apply these design principles:

  • Integrate whitespace thoughtfully to achieve balance and improve readability. Strategic whitespace reduces clutter, directs focus to important elements and enhances overall aesthetics.
  • Choose typography that aligns with your brand identity and enhances legibility. Consider factors such as font style, size and spacing to ensure text is visually appealing and easy to read.
  • Establish a clear visual hierarchy to guide attention and highlight important content. Utilize size, color, contrast and placement to prioritize information and create a logical flow.
  • Strike a harmonious visual balance between text, images and other design elements. Each element should contribute meaningfully to the overall narrative without overwhelming or distracting the viewer.
  • Pay meticulous attention to design details such as alignment, spacing and consistency. These nuances significantly impact the website’s overall aesthetic appeal and professionalism.
  • Ensure that the design is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. Consider factors like color contrast, font size and navigation to make the website inclusive and user-friendly for everyone.

If you are looking for more inspiration, check out these top web design trends!

Step 4: Create templates for different website pages

With the primary page design finalized and wireframes in hand, creating designs for the remaining pages becomes a straightforward process.

Website design for a dog food brand

Source: Website design for a dog food brand by DSKY via 99designs by Vista

As you transition from designing the primary page to creating templates for various pages across your website, some common adjustments are required to ensure cohesiveness and functionality:

  • Layout variations: Each page type may necessitate adjustments to layout elements such as header size, navigation placement and content arrangement to cater to specific user interactions.
  • Content density: Pages with different purposes, such as the homepage, product listings and contact page, may vary in terms of content density. Adjustments may be needed to balance text and visual elements.
  • Visual emphasis: Certain pages may require greater emphasis on specific elements, such as product images on an e-commerce page or call-to-action buttons on a landing page. Adjustments in size, placement and styling may be necessary to highlight these elements appropriately.
  • Navigation design: Navigation patterns may differ across page types based on the hierarchy of information and user journey. Adjustments to menu styles, dropdowns or breadcrumb navigation may be needed to optimize usability and clarity.
  • Interactive elements: Pages with interactive features, such as forms, sliders or galleries, require testing and refining to enhance the overall user experience and ensure seamless functionality.

Once your designs for different pages are ready, it’s time to pass them on to the web developer to code them into existence.

Step 5: Code your design into life

A skilled web developer is instrumental in moving from planning to execution. Choose a developer who prioritizes functionality. They should explain their approach in clear, simple terms, regardless of your technical knowledge. Look for a developer who asks questions to understand your needs thoroughly.

Discuss the available options for a CMS with your developer. Make sure they show you how you’ll manage content updates in the future. After briefing, expect a prototype of your website. Test it out and provide feedback for refinements.

Step 6: Upload your content to the website

As your website ventures into the online realm, it’s likely filled with endless Lorem Ipsum (placeholder text) awaiting your content. This is your chance to bring it to life.

Imagine your employee or product photos, headlines and copy filling the digital space, each chosen to reflect your brand’s essence. Seek assistance from a content strategist or SEO expert to refine your messaging and consider investing in professional photography for customized visual impact.

Website homepage with placeholders

Source: Website design with placeholder text by Design Monsters via 99designs by Vista

Step 7: Test away 

With each element thoughtfully curated, your website becomes a dynamic platform ready to engage visitors. But before your website makes its debut online, it’s essential to invite numerous individuals to explore and test its functionality and usability. 

Pay close attention to their feedback and be open to making necessary adjustments. If you notice that multiple users are pointing out the same issue or suggestion, it’s worth addressing. Take the time to make any final refinements, ensuring that your website is polished and ready for launch, then confidently unveil your website to the world!

You have your website. Now what?

Because a website is a dynamic entity, not a one-time project, it’s important to embrace progression and regular updates to stay relevant. Flexibility is key, whether it’s adapting to changing customer needs or keeping up with technological advancements.

So, as you embark on your website creation journey, keep an open mind and be prepared to iterate and innovate along the way. With the knowledge and tools from this guide, you’ll be able to create an exceptional website that evolves with your business.