One of the first considerations about a website is style. What feeling do you want to present to your visitor? How do you want the site to reflect your personal or business personality? This includes color and layout, and the type of initial presentation on the screen when the visitor first arrives. This usually involves a header with a logo or personal or business name.
Website structure has taken on a couple distinct popular styles which we could call "classic" and "contemporary." There are several factors that have driven the contemporary structure and high on the list is the requirement for simplicity of design to make the content easily adaptable to the smaller screens of mobile devices.
You will need to think through the pros and cons of either design. While all of our websites are "responsive" to mobile devices, often this structure will determine the order of presentation to the mobile user. Currently on our sites more than 50% of visits come from mobile devices.
Many contemporary sites these days are "one page" sites. With more information and large photos on the initial screen, these sites will tend to load more slowly than classic sites.
Designs (a.k.a. themes or templates) are typically built around three complementary colors with presentation built on various shades and tints of those three colors. Often the colors in the business logo will dictate a workable color scheme.
Menus organize your site for your visitors and may be presented horizontally or vertically on the page. One or two columns can augment the page content, and these columns may be either left or right or split. Columns may disappear if the page does not require their use for presentation, which assumes a top menu or breadcrumb link remains to assist your visitor in the next selection.
The details of color, layout, and fonts can seem endless in the initial design, but in the end you should be pleased each time you view your site. Once the site template is designed and installed, all of the subsequent content entered will take on the same pleasing characteristics.
Keep colors, textures, and font sizes readable. Google has recommended a minimum font size and minimum contrast based on user experience (UX), as well as load time, and size of buttons and menus for touch response. Failure in certain areas could reduce search ranking for your site. Effort to read a page will drive your visitors elsewhere. If you have a lot of information, organize it well with menus and don't force your visitor into endless scrolling through gimmicky animation. Show them where you want them to go and get them there quickly.