I help people design websites on Squarespace and Weebly, two of the easiest do-it-yourself web design platforms available. But just because they're billed as do-it-yourself website builders doesn't mean it's not a little intimidating to get started. That's where I come in. I guide people through the overwhelm of decisions and designs when they are creating a website from scratch.
When you get started with Squarespace or Weebly, you are faced with a design decision before you even provide a domain name or a credit card number. You will be asked to choose a design template (called a theme in Weebly). Templates have all the styles for text, buttons, headings, images, and pages already created in a way that the components look good together. As I browsed through many templates in doing work for clients, I started to realize that there was a pattern in the designs that could help me narrow down template choices for my clients. Whenever I start working with a client, I ask the client to make one or two decisions to narrow down the design choices.
The first decision I ask clients to make when choosing a template is to decide how wide they want the image on the first page visitors see. They can either choose a large image that goes the full width of the page or choose a narrower image with some "breathing room" on either side. I described and showed examples of both choices in another blog post, "The one trick that will narrow down your design choices for a new website."
If they prefer a wide edge-to-edge image, there's a second decision I ask clients to make. Do they want the navigation text to appear above the image or within the image? Making that second decision narrows down design template choices to just a few. Here are a few examples of both types of navigation text placement.
You can browse through Squarespace templates and Weebly themes before you start working on a website to get a sense of what your preferences are. For my clients who have preferred a wide edge-to-edge image on their first page, they have also had a preference about whether they liked the navigation text within the image or outside of it.