Web Designers ask questions. I answer them.

Top 10 questions new web designers ask

 you are new to web design you are faced with lots of technologies and techniques. It can be a very deep field and sometimes answers are difficult to find. Nobody knows everything but I always try to help when I can. 

Confused web designers
Any art form can be confusing in the beginning

On occasion I receive a request for advice, Therefore here is a list of the top ten questions I have gotten in the past. new technologies.

If you are reading this article and have a question, please feel free to post it in the comments. More advanced developers are more then welcomed to contribute, and/or correct me as well. 

How can I learn front and back end development? I know HTML, CSS, and have done some JavaScript and Ruby. How many hours does it take to be as good as other web designers?

It has nothing to do with the number of hours one spends. That statement makes the learning process sound painful. There will never be a point in time when one complete as a web developer moment. Or maybe trer is but personally I haven’t  reached it.

I recently learned of Dunning/Kruger effect, which I found to be quite cathartic. It was a stud y that provided statistics that show the level of confidence that a person has in their abilities is not a true representation of what they are capable of. In short, people that are neophytes to soon self proclaim themselves as experts. It is only when a grasp on a finally forms that we become more humble.  The more we learn, the more we realize how much more undiscovered information there is available.

What I am saying in a nutshell: work at it daily and don’t see web design as a finite project. keep improving. Take online courses, get on Git Hub and talk to other developers at your level and beyond. It’s the work of a lifetime and just enjoy yourself.

What are the best dimensions to use when designing a website?

If I understand the question correctly, you are asking for height and width in pixels or inches?  Well, if we get in a time machine and go back to the 90’s I will show you that the web was designed in pixels.  computer monitors ranged from 640 x 480 (low resolution) 800 x 600 (medium resolution) to 1024 x 768 (high resolution.)

Now, in the 90’s that was the internet. We used computers to surf the web.  We did not have smart phones, tablets and big screen TV’s. Now be are back in the new millennium. Not even stopped Y2K issue.

Appropriately, one should not be focusing on one single medium as the primitive laptop and desktop computer. Today there are large screen TV’s, tablets, smart phones that  access the internet and as web designers we have to accommodate to elasticity.

 Today’s web designers are focused not on pixels but retaliative units of measurement, such as: percentage, rem’s and em’s which are called “relative units of measurement”. Don’t think in terms of ‘absolute units’ such as: pixies, millimeters and inches.

What is the best book for CSS and JavaScript?

The problem with technology books is that they have a short shelf-life. There There exist classics such as: CSS: The Missing Manual 4th Edition. It is great for getting the core but versions change rapidly.

I would suggest to new web designers that they keep a watchful eye on standards; especially with CSS3 where browser compatibility is imperative.  W3Schools Online Web Tutorials. I suggest the Can I use website. 

JavaScript has a large varity of purposes that you really have to pin down what you need it for. Do you want to develop apps? Do you want to use it on webpages? I would guess you want to learn the basics. I would simply look at JavaScript for dummies. It is where I started.

What are the tools used in making a portfolio for junior web developer?

Well, websites for web designers and developers should showcase their skills. Therefore, the tools that you know. People want to see how well you can back up what you claim. Are you a Photoshop?  If you claim that you know PHP and  JavaScript but don’t use them on your site, the user will just move on.

How do I make a website for free and use it for affiliate marketing?

Well, the appropriate question should be: “How can I design a website at a minimal cost while marketing for my affiliates?”

There are many companies that provide for the creation of a free website: Blog space and WordPress being the most popular.  There are two problems.

Usually the end product does not look professional and are not taken seriously by the vast majority of the users and if you want to be taken seriously, you have to look professional.

Second, not having a domain name does not help your cause. Web surfers can care less about a site hosted on a  free service. Would you use a business that is only listed on Facebook?

I am a developer, (so I like to think) the design of a site is less of a challenge for me. But, consider a paid template for $30.

your affiliates will love you. Web designers will admire you and some cash may find its way into your pockets

How will I be able to sell myself as a “web designer.” Can it be profitable within six months?

Many web designers have became quite good after six months. Especially since you have photo shop skills this will not be such a daunting task. Before you take on anything like Rails, Python etc. Learn HTML 5 first and the way the DOM works. That will take about 5 days. From there Get down CSS (also look at flex-box when working on CSS) Scripting languages like JavaScript are the next step .  Client side web designers want to learn JavaScript then get into jQuery (a JavaScript library). From there learn  PHP and MySql.

When I was learning I used Codecademmy.com a lot.

I want to be a professional web designer . I need advice and what is the track I should follow?

Well, you say web designer so I must assume that you are more concerned with design and visual effects. In that case I would say learn Adobe Photoshop and illustrator. I will provide a couple of sample designs in Photoshop format for the client to look at and work from there.

Of course, the second thing you should learn is HTML. It is the skeleton of a site.

Now that you have your skeleton, it is going to need some skin. CSS is exactly that skin being, the actual layout and design.

Next, you want to be able to add some functionality. Learn JavaScript. Your user will be able to interact with your site and visual effects not possible with CSS alone Also,  jQuery is a JavaScript library and is used as an alternative to the “real” JavaScript.

Then study up on PHP. There are a lot of programming similarities between JavaScript PHP the learning curve should go down. PHP It is very good for making web forms, getting user input and working with databases such as SQL

MySql is your database. It is the most common and is very PHP frindly.

At this point you self-proclaim yourself as web developer and have the skills to back up that claim. The next path to take is the following:

Ruby and Ruby on Rails – is a powerful and popular language. Ruby is the actual language and “Rails” for simplicity sake, is the  framework.

Frameworks – Bootstrap, Foundation 6 (HTML, JavaScript, CSS) and others that you can play with

Other libraries – include: Angular, Node JS, and many others you can research depending on your needs

That is a quick overview.

A couple of good places to begin exploring are: codecademy.com and lynda.com.

The most important things are to keep programming  and asking questions.

Is ad words harmful for a new website?

Depends on what you mean. Ad words are from google so you will not get penalized. In page ranking,  paying for visitors does not do much to get a better overall ranking. Pure non-advertised search results have a much higher value as it shows that your site is worth viewing and it holds a lot of weight on overall ranking.

In other words, adwords doesn’t help but it won’t hurt.

How many visitors did you get on your website on its first day of launch?

I got about 20. Problem: it was 20 me’s looking to see if anyone came for a look. It depends on if you advertise it or expect the search engines to grab it. That takes time. You will need, content, a sitemap a few SEO tricks.

In other words, getting visitors is work, patience and waiting. Don’t give up if you get very few in the beginning.

Web Designers always face the daunting task of having to learn a large number of

Confused web designers
New web designers can get confused very easily

new technologies. Web Designers have to stay current with new innovations and techniques. More often then not, knowing where to begin is the most daunting task.  Following, is a list of eleven common questions I received over time.

How can i become a front and back end Web developer?. I currently know HTML, CSS, and have done a bit of Java and Ruby on rails. How many hours do I need to be as qualified as other web designers?

It has nothing to do with the number of hours. That statement sounds painful. There will never be a moment where you say “eureka” I am now a great developer.

If you ever heard of the Dunning/Kruger effect, I suggest you read up on this very profound study. It forces us web designers and people from less interesting walks of life to understand how we view ourselves during the lerning process.  The more we learn, the more we realize we how much more undiscovered information there is available in any field.

When one spends enough time developing, designing and researching, like any other hobby or profession, there is the breaking point, or the natural tendency to want to quit.  Web designers and web developers will always agree that we are swimming in very deep waters.

Compared to many web designers I feel like a complete rookie but I keep on swimming and hope a shark doesn’t eat me while I tread water and hope to find another island of knowledge.

What I am saying in a nutshell is: create something every day. Don’t see it as a finite project and keep improving like you would in any other field. It is a life’s work of learning and relearning.

What dimensions should be used when designing a site?

If I am understanding your question correctly, you are asking for a perfect height and width in pixels?  This question would be best asked if you spoke to some web designers in the 1990’s.

Appropriately, one should not be focusing on one single medium, like a computer. Today there are large screen TV’s, tablets, smart phones that allaccess the internet and as web designers we have to accommodate all of these devices.

 Today’s web designers are focused not on pixels but retaliative units of measurement, such as; percentage and rem’s (relative to the basic font size). You are thinking in terms of absolute units such as pixies, millimeters and inches

What is the best e-book for CSS3 and JavaScript?

I would have to say that you really want to keep up with web standards. The problem with books is that get out-dated really fast. Therefore, I would suggest suggest to new web designers that they begin with W3Schools Online Web Tutorials. Also, browser compatibility is such an issue. Look at Can I use… Support for HTML5 and CSS3 Otherwise, I would read at CSS: The Missing Manual 4th Edition.

As for JavaScript, it is a world in itself.  JavaScript is a large language.  Do you want to develop apps? Do you want to use it on webpages? I would guess you want to learn the basicst. I would simply look at JavaScript for dummies. It is where I started.

What tools should I use to design a Junior developer portfolio site?

Well, websites for web designers and developers should showcase their skills. Therefore, the tools that you know. People to see examples of what you claim you can do. If you claim to be an expert in Photoshop then prove it. PHP then have database queries using PHP. JavaScript then make your website very interactive

How do I create a free website and use it for my affiliate marketing?

A more appropriate question would be: “How do I put together a site at minimal cost and how do I get attention for my affiliates?”

There are many places that allow’s one  to build a website: Blog space, WordPress, Square Space etc. There are two problems.

First, those sites don’t look professional and are seldom taken seriously by the majority of users.

Second, you don’t have a domain name. People never take a site seriously hosted on a free service. Would you use a business that is only listed on Facebook?

I am a developer, (so I like to think) the look of the site is easier for me. But, consider a paid template for $30.

your affiliates will love you. Web designers will admire you and some cash may find its way into your pockets

What can I learn now to be able to call myself a “web designer” and make money off of it in five-six months?

Many web designers have became quite good after six months. Especially since you have photo shop skills this will not be such a daunting task. Before you take on anything such as: Rails and Python. Learn HTML 5 first and the workings of the Document Object Model. That will take about 5 days. From there Get down CSS (also look at flex-box when working on CSS) Then there are scripting languages. Client side web designers want to learn JavaScript then proceed to jQuery and perhaps language,such as; PHP and you will need to know MySQL.

When I was learning I used Codecademy a lot.

I want to be a professional web designer . I need advice and what is the track I should follow?

You use the word “designer” which leads me to think of designs and visuals.  In that case learn Photoshop and illustrator. They are the first programs I open after speaking with a client. I will usually do a couple of mach ups of the front page for a basic outline and to provide feedback to the client before the real work begins.

Of course, the second thing you should learn is HTML. It is the basic skeleton of the website. It is really not difficult to master.

Now that you have your skeleton, it’s  going to need skin. Enter CSS. This is where your actual layout and design comes in.

Next, you want to be able to add some functionality. Learn your java Script. Your user can interact with your site and provide with effects that one can’t do with just CSS alone. Also, jQuery is a JavaScript Library that is worth looking to .

Then learn PHP. Once you know JavaScript, you will notice a lot of simalaraties in the PHP  language. It is very good for creating forms, getting user input data and working with databases like SQL

MySql is your database. It is very useful to know and you will find PHP, being a server-side language, partners very well with SQL.

At this point you can call yourself a web developer. The next path to take is the following:

Ruby and Ruby on Rails – This is a very powerful and popular language. Ruby is the programming language and “Ruby on Rails” is a language itself

Frameworks – Bootstrap (HTML, JavaScript, CSS), Foundation  (HTML, JavaScript, CSS) and others that you can explore.

Other libraries – like Angular, Node JS, and others you may want to play with.

That is a quick overview.

A couple of good places to start are CodeCademy.com on and Lynda.com.

The most important things are to keep doing it and asking questions.

Is ad words harmful for a new website?

Depends on what you mean. Ad words are from google so you will not get penalized by google’s algorithm. In page ranking paying for visitors will not help. Generic search results shows the search engines that your site is worth looking at so search engines smile on this fact .

In other words, adwords won’t hurt at all. Getting natural visitors will help.

How many visitors or users did you make on your website on its first day of launch?

I got about 20. The problem was,  it was twenty versions of myself. It depends on if you advertise it or the search engines to find it. That takes time. You will need a lot of content, a sitemap and lots of little SEO tricks that I can’t get into them in a short message.

In other words, getting visitors takes, patience, work and waiting.

Duda

About the Author

About Thomas

Thomas Duda is a web designer who lives in Bakersfield, CA with his wife and dogs. He is also interested in: Blogging, Writing, Vaping, Fishing, Swimming and Drawing.

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