Note: This post is intended to save me from writing the same answers in the Volusion forum over and over and over and over again.
So you have bought a Volusion e-commerce package and you have decided, as a business owner, to role out a design yourself. If you don’t have a fair amount of CSS skills, a solid understanding of HTML and working knowledge of the Volusion templates, I would highly advise against doing design yourself for two big reasons:
1. You are not a web designer.
2. If you are spending all your time in CSS, HTML, image editing software, FTP, the grid, information architecture, and design fundamentals then who’s developing your marketing strategies, organizing your business, reading analytics and forging relationships?
You are still reading?…ugh, so you are persistent and intend to do everything yourself. Maybe it’s because you feel web design is quite easy or maybe you simply have $0 funds to hire anyone. Either way, here are some steps that will hopefully get you on the right track.
- Spend some time over at w3schools or another reputable online tutorial of your liking. Get a feel for the technical landscape. This is but one component of front-end development.
- Get Firebug installed on your Firefox browser. Figure out how to use it. This will enable you to experiment with the CSS and HTML without committing anything. It also has some other great components let the NET report which tells you why you are paying high Volusion bandwidth costs.
- Either buy some software or find something online (http://www.pixlr.com) that will create and edit images. Find something simple! Adobe CS3 is probably overkill at this point.
- Build up a nice set of bookmarks that you can constantly reference. SmashingMagazine.com has a ton of design tutorials. A List Apart and ThinkVitamin are also nice resources. If it is a “redesign”, I would also consult your Analytics program.
- Read each entry over in the V5 Design Manual. Then read it again. This is very important.
- Take the Volusion design tutorial to understand the directory structure.
- Download a robust FTP client (I use Cyberduck for the Mac and SmartFTP for the PC) and get crackin’.
This is not the definitive, all time, forever-and-a-day design guide. It is simply a list of steps I would highly recommend.
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