Here is our comprehensive checklist all beginner web designers need to create websites that are as conversational as they are beautiful.
The first few months of starting as a beginner website designer can take on two different forms. The first: is a disorganized mess of overwhelm and confusion, where you’re trapped overpromising and underdelivering. You’re desperately trying to get profitable amongst a flood of unanswered leads.
And, the second: a calm, collected, enjoyable experience where you’re every bit as creative and free-flowing as you are organized and methodical. You’re effortlessly attracting and converting dream clients with what you say, just as much as what you design.
When I began Bold x Boho, I was 100% living out scenario one. But you don’t have to.
I’ve taken everything I’ve learned from my successes to my failures and put them in a course designed to help YOU succeed. My Wealthy Web Designer Course has over 1,000 students, with alumni earning anywhere from $8k to $20k per month.
What We’ll Cover
It was only when I started building out copy-and-paste processes that served my working style, that I became more efficient, professional, and started making the money I knew I deserved. It took me a while to get there, but today? I’m putting you on the fast track (or take the EVEN FASTER track and sign up to become a Wealthy Web Designer).
In this article, I’ll cover the ten top dos and don’ts every beginner website designer should be checking (and double-checking) after every project, and before every client delivery.
We’ll look at five critical elements that every design should have (or should avoid), such as:
Focusing on these points will give you a process that:
Ensures an effective, seamless, and repeatable design process for you
Delivers a clear-cut, comprehensive, thorough design experience for your clients
Let’s kick it off with an obvious one. Colors are everything in design, and they make or break the appeal and digestibility of your client’s brand. While we all love an exciting color scheme, here’s what you need to be careful to avoid:
Colors that are too bright
Colors that are too dull
Colors that conflict with one another
You can avoid all of these obvious mistakes by:
Go back to basics: When your colors just aren’t working, the easiest thing to do is to go back to square one. I always have this handy color wheel next to my computer so I can look at the complementary colors.
Use Pinterest: Pinterest is the best. Not only is it great for wedding and interior decor inspiration, it’s also great for color schemes! Seriously, there are so many great pins that help you understand color theory and what to avoid!
Once your colors are on lock, you’ll need to look at the second most important aspect of web design: fonts. Fonts are the key to a scroll-stopping website design.
If you choose the right font, it’ll have an invaluable impact on on-site time, conversion rate, and your audience’s experience. Pick the wrong one? And you’ll see them drop off almost instantly, resulting in no cut-through from your work!
As a general rule of thumb, always choose a typeface that links back to your client’s personality and brand identity. You’ll need to have a good understanding of your client’s target audience and even a persona if they have one!
For note: serif fonts are traditional and professional, while sans-serif fonts are more modern and playful. Ultimately, let your creative intuition as a beginner web designer guide you while keeping useability and visual impact in the front of your mind.
3. Don’t Make Fonts Too Big
Bigger isn’t always better… at least when it comes to fonts. You may have a stunning typeface you want to showcase, but it’s essential to maintain balance for an elevated and visually appealing design.
Generally, paragraph fonts should remain between 15 and 18 points for desktop, with titles and sub-headings incrementally larger than this.
I always recommend viewing your design on multiple devices before you finalize it. You’ll learn a lot about the size of your font on mobile vs. desktop!
By maintaining a consistent mobile font size of about 8 to 10 points for your paragraphs, you’ll ensure you’ve got the ‘goldilocks’ of website fonts.
Hot tip: Keep the length of your paragraphs and ‘skimmability’ of your copy in mind too! Chunk it out and break it up, so your audience isn’t overwhelmed by a wall of text. If you liked this tip, you can hear a lot more on our podcast!
5. Understand the Power of Images
Your client’s smile is your design’s best asset. Brand photography is capable of uplifting, complementing, and boosting credibility, especially when it’s likely to increase user brand recall by up to 65%.
Ensure your client has (or plans to obtain) an album of high-quality personal branding images, as this is a crucial qualifier and humanizer for potential leads.
And if you’re still waiting on those images, ensure any stock photography is edited in Lightroom or Canva with consistent filters for a cohesive brand identity.
6. Memorable, Not Overwhelming
Let your client’s audience connect to them with branding that speaks, not screams. We’ve all seen visuals that are too bold or too subtle, preventing us from feeling a genuine pull toward a brand. This is the number one problem I see with a lot of new web designers. Don’t fall into the same trap!
Ensure the branding is cohesive and aligned with your client’s personality without being eclectic or wild just for the sake of it. Pair it back, and when in doubt? Come back to the age-old rule: ‘less is more’.
Want to learn how to go big but not go home? My CEO of Showit Course will walk you through all the technicalities of web design. I’ll show you how I create stunning websites from scratch and from templates, so you can do the same.You can read How To Become a Showit Web Designer for a free taste of our course 🙂
7. Be Wary of Your Clients Needs
What are your client’s big-picture—bold-AF—goals and dreams? You need to embody these in every move you make. That’s right, you need to be strategic.
From the calls to action to the conversion strategy, get deep into your client’s audience’s feelings, values, interests, and needs too. This ensures everything from the hero image to the body copy hits that golden ‘think, feel, do’ website note.
Part of being wary of your client’s needs means strategy. You should be able to plan your client’s expectations and deliverables. If you want to learn more about strategy, I recommend reading my articles on How To Build a Successful Web Design Strategy.
8. Prioritize Layout
Beyond the obvious SEO-street cred, making your website stunning yet easy to use is a sweet spot you want to hit. After all, your design isn’t just there to sit and look pretty, it needs to make your client money!
First things first? Confirm your site has these critical pages:
Secondly, add a whole bunch of call to actions to guide your client’s audience on a journey to the point of conversion!
9. Don’t Forget Mobile Optimization
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: We’re living in a mobile-first world, babe. 59% of internet users in 2022 were browsing via mobile.
That means your client’s audience is most likely looking at your design on the go from their smartphone or tablet, so beyond nailing your font size (tip number four), there are a few other must-follow rules for beginner web designer mobile optimization.
Stacking elements from left to right
Prioritizing content from most important (top) to least (bottom)
Using as few contact form fields as possible
Avoiding invasive, overwhelming pop-ups
Adding a search bar for easy navigation on content-heavy sites
10. Be Proud of Your Work
If you’re not head over heels for what you’ve created as a beginner web designer, how is your client going to fall in love?
If you’re not feeling it, take it back to the drawing board. This is your baby as much as it is your client’s, so tune into what feels off.
Here’s what I double-check if I’m not loving my design:
The colors, fonts, images, and all other visual elements
The client’s goals, target audience, and unique style
Alignment through the navigation and copy
All in all, you MUST feel confident in what you’re delivering to your client – not only to ensure they’re screaming your name from the rooftops but to maintain your integrity as a beginner web designer.
Your 10 do’s and don’ts for beginner web designers are:
Don’t let brand and website colors clash
Make fonts unique and clear
Don’t make fonts too big
Or too small
Include plenty of personal branding images
Create memorable, but subtle, branding
Don’t neglect your client’s goals and their audience’s needs
Success was never a question for me. Even after dropping out of high school and living the “digital nomad” lifestyle with absolutely no plan in place, I knew for a fact that there were big things waiting for me. When I found the online space in 2016, everything clicked. Starting as a VA, I finally found something that I could do while traveling the world (which is all I’ve ever really wanted out of life). But despite the fact that I was no longer tied down to a place of work, I was still limited in my income and feeling creatively unfulfilled. When I finally decided to allow myself to be the passionate creative that I am deep down, and took the plunge into the world of website design, everything changed for me. I work on my own time, with unlimited income potential, designing websites for passionate entrepreneurs, and I can teach you to do the same.
If you’re wondering where life could take you as a creative who feels allergic to the 9-5 lifestyle, I’d like to welcome you into my family. I gave a resounding “f*ck no” to the “traditional” a long time ago, and I’ve seen just how beautiful it can be when you chase your passions and turn them into massive profit.
150+ websites, 1,300+ students, and MILLIONS of dollars earned by my students… that’s a recipe for living a life that you’re excited to brag about.
High school dropout turned creative multi-millionaire.
Letting you in on the secrets to living your best damn life.
Becca Luna is a free-spirited, anti-gatekeeping queen who teaches passionate people to turn their creative drive into a profitable online web design business. She’s helped thousands of entrepreneurs build the life of their dreams. Want to be next?