It’s a blank slate and a crayon dilemna. Finding the best design for your website can be a high-pressure choice of thousands of different layouts, color schemes, and design elements. Adding to that pressure is the need for consistency in visual design, so getting it right the first time is something that most will be working fiercely towards.

Step 1 – To get started, narrow down your selections to one general design style. Don’t consider this a limitation for design purposes, and just brainstorm on what kind of style you want for your website. The odds are you’ll have at least a few existing options for your website design, and custom websites can always be designed.

Step 2 – Now, find out what layout style you want. Most websites will be a fixed width, usually 960px wide, 1000px wide, or lower for unconventional Web 3.0 sites. Some websites also stretch to fill any monitor’s width, but this has a lot of design glitches and issues associated with it usually.

Step 3 – Now, where will you want areas that you can edit or feature normal page content in?

Step 4 – What design elements would you normally see associated with websites using your overall design style? If there are any existing examples, you can get an idea of what competitors and other sites in your field are doing and plan extra features accordingly.

Step 5 – As an often-overlooked aspect of your design, consider the fonts and typography that you’d like to use. It is now possible to use custom fonts (with most modern browsers) to really give your website’s text a creative boost. What kind of font styles would go best with your website? For a great list, search google for “google web fonts” for a great free fonts resource that can be used with most websites.

Step 6 – Most websites will have some sort of menu, either horizontal or vertical generally, do help users navigate around the website. Where do you want that menu to go in your ideal design style? For large designs, an often-used technique is to have a full-width drop-down menu at the very top, but for smaller designs a simple left-hand sidebar menu can be used.

Step 7 – Next, consider how you’ll want to see the features on your website. Will these features need to be built into the design at the start of the project, or will they need to be set up and then styled to look like your design?