Julian, here! I wanted to tell you about the one major mistake I made as an early web designer. It’s also a mistake I see people still making, which is why I wanted to address it in this post.
But first, let me give you some background. At the start of 2012, I got made redundant from my print graphic design position three weeks before Emily and I got married. I knew the future of design was in websites, and I needed to pivot my skills. After we got back from our honeymoon, I sat in front of YouTube for three weeks to learn the basics of WordPress design.
Its been a long journey since then of honing my skills, making mistakes and applying everything I’d learnt to numerous sites for my own clients and at my new web design roles that I managed to land. Back then, there wasn’t many opportunities available to officially learn WordPress and it was all very trial and error.
Coming from a background of print design, I was all about quality design and imagery. There was a lot of technical web builders out there, but they often built sites that weren’t so easy on the eye. My learning curve was the technical aspect, which after seven years in this fast-moving industry, I think I’ve got the hang of!
When I would build websites in the early days, the one mistake I would make was to upload images that were WAY too big. This slowed down my site, made the individual pages take forever to load and just wasn’t good practice.
One of the biggest and most underrated factors in good web design is page speed. Without it, no one will hang around to read what you’ve written or see your pretty pictures. Page speed can be affected and affect a myriad of things. Any professional website should have a great page speed if they want to see any results. These days, Google expects a page to load in just 2-3 seconds!
Anything longer and your page speed will detract from your user experience, SEO visibility and much more. Read more about optimising page speed here. For beginners, one major factor to remember is to keep your image sizes low. You can still have quality, crisp images without the huge download size. For more tips on optimizing images for your website, read this post.
If you’re learning web design or figuring out how to build your own site, make sure to optimise your images for web! Each image really doesn’t need to be any larger than 100kb and should be around or less than 1000 pixels wide.
This is just a small, simple lesson that can trip beginners up. If you’re a beginner web designer or are designing your own website for the first time, let me know in the comments what you’re struggling with! Now that I have so many years experience, I’d love to help you out.