Part 4: Appearance and Layout

What should the site actually look like?

There are a few key components to square away as you build out your site. Take the time to plan these and you will have an easier time when it comes to building the site.

Site Map

A site map is a breakdown of what pages a website will contain as well as how they will be organized. This should be simple, streamlined, and organized in a manner that makes sense.


A menu is a listing of the pages to which a user may navigate. It will include the names of the pages and possibly **sub menus**, which open when a parent menu option is selected.


A sidebar appears on the side of a website and can feature written content or a menu to navigate the site. The sidebar may be hidden or always visible to the visitor.


A footer appears at the bottom of the page and features key information a visitor may need. It may also include copyright information of legal disclaimers.


A theme is a predefined arrangement of a site. The files specify color scheme, site layout, page types, and the overall design of the site. These can be free or purchased and are also customizable using HTML and CSS.

Do some research

It is probably most helpful to look at existing websites for ideas and design choices you think would work well with your site. Compare and contrast  different site layouts to determine which ones make a site simple and easy to follow and which ones feel like a labyrinth.