Building your own website? Save time and stress by reading this first.
If you’re facing a lot of start-up costs, you might be thinking about creating your own website rather than hiring a designer or developer. Before you make that decision, I encourage you to read Your First Website: Are you ready to dive in?
After reading that, if you’d still like to give it a go, here are the essentials you’ll need to think about before you begin.
Your Website Platform
There are a variety of website platforms you can choose from, the most popular being WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix.
I usually only discuss WordPress, because it’s extremely flexible and can be used for everything from single page websites to e-learning sites and pretty well anything else you can imagine. That’s why it powers over 40% of the Internet and the only platform I work with.
WordPress is great if you’re fairly tech savvy, but otherwise you’ll probably find it challenging to take full advantage of its capabilities. In addition, WordPress sites require ongoing maintenance, so you need to be prepared to look after that as well.
If you want to get your website up quickly and don’t require the level of functionality and customization which WordPress offers, you might be better off using Squarespace or Wix.
Before you choose your platform, think about your website goals in the short and long term.
Do you want an easy-to-update website? Squarespace and Wix might be the best options.
Will you want a more customized design down the line? Then WordPress might be the best solution for your business.
Creating Your Website
Once you choose a platform, follow these six steps to create your website.
Step 2: Write your website copy, keeping the following in mind:
- Benefits first. At the top of each page, include a headline with the benefits your customers get when they purchase from you. Place your benefits “above-the-fold” so they are visible without having to scroll down the page.
- Position your business as an authority. Your business is the expert who knows the solution to your clients’ problems, so write your content with that relationship in mind.
- End every page with a call-to-action (CTA), encouraging visitors to do what you want them to after they reach the bottom of your page.
- Write skimmable website copy. Avoid long paragraphs that are difficult to read on a screen. Instead, break your text into smaller paragraphs and use subheadings, bullets and even columns to make it easy to scan.
Step 3: Choose the template or theme that will best highlight your message.
Don’t do this until you’ve written your content! Although your design may be visually appealing, if it stands out more than your message, it’s not going to get you results.
Step 4: Keep your branding consistent.
Choose your website colours and easy-to-read typography before building the website and be sure to use them consistently throughout. Using too many different fonts and colours looks messy and unprofessional.
Step 5: Choose high-quality photos to represent your business.
Use your own photos and/or stock photos, but to keep with visual consistency, select images with a similar look and feel.
Before launching your website, test it on a tablet and mobile device to make sure it displays properly everywhere.
Having a website is essential in today’s modern world! Get your story online so that potential customers can search for, learn about, and connect with your business.
Did you build your own website?
What advice would you add to this list?
Photo by GeorgeJMcLittle / DepositPhotos