Without further adieu...welcome Stephi!
Bonjour! My name is Stephi and I'm a wife, mother, homemaker, aspiring artisan and web designer. There's this one amazing quote that sums it all up: "The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” I have been designing blog templates since 2004 and usually when I was supposed to be spending my time somewhere else. I have watched morning sunlight peak through my window blinds more times than I care to admit. To say that web designing is a passion of mine might be an understatement. In March, I was invited to join The Artisan Group and in April the founder, Valerie, contacted me about designing the group's blog after seeing my personal blog’s template.
After the group’s blog was unveiled, Tina Dean Designs asked me to help her with her shop and blog too. I never ever considered shop templates but I'm not one to say no to challenge either. And I'm so happy that she took a chance on me because as they say, the rest is history. Today I proudly help growing artisans take their business to the next level whether it be a stand alone online shop, blog template or splash page at Bleue Moon Web Design. It brings so much happiness to my heart when the project is complete and I see them brag about it to bits! I love helping other people get a little closer to making their dreams come true, I really, really do!
So the million dollar question is always "What do you suggest for a beginner?" Now I'm a self-taught designer for the most part so anything I say is simply personal opinion. With saying that: Do what's right for you! Some might tell you that you can't have a colorful background because it's unappealing. I say you can have that bold background but just know that you need to dial down the rest of the site. A bit like accessorizing, yes? Design with thought and care.
I also believe in the mantra of K-I-S-S: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Keep your header and sidebar clean. You don't have to cram all your information in those areas because that's the ideal place for side pages. The sidebar should quickly sum up who you are and/or business along with easy to see navigation for new viewers. I also think a good logo or header is visually important. If you want to be seen as professional, a high quality graphic is a good start.
That's one big reason that I say it's okay to hire outside help... ya know, not just because it helps my business! Do what you do best, right? I have full faith that you could design your logo or site, but think about the time you would have to spend to make that happen. I can make my way around Photoshop, but even I hired Fancy Designs to create my logo. Why? Because the hours I would have spent creating that graphic would have been hours I could be working. If you have limited time to spend on your business, a designer can take the stress away from you while you're creating products and networking. Win-Win! And I do realize that there are plenty of templates out there to choose from for all sort of site platforms, but why wouldn't you want a site that is as unique as your voice or the products you offer? Support small businesses including us designers! :-)