Starting a business or a blog can be daunting but building your own website to go along with your new venture can sometimes be just as discouraging.
When you’re just starting out it seems like your money is going out all of the windows all at once and you’ll find yourself trying to cut corners where you can. Hiring a web designer can be pricey and you may find yourself looking into creating your own website to save a few pennies.
If you take the right steps and know what you’re doing this can be a wise decision but if you don’t know where to start or what you want out of a website it could quickly backfire. Having a bad website to represent you or your business can often be more detrimental than not having a website at all.
I want to make sure you are armed with the proper steps to take if you find yourself in this position. I created a free how to e-book to ensure that you have an amazing site to represent you and your business.
Here are my 4 key steps in creating your own website:
Stay On Brand
This might sound obvious at first but as you start designing and finding cool new tools or beautiful images for your site you may step back and realize you’re all over the place. Before you begin working on the computer I recommend that you sit down with paper and pencil, notate what key elements you want on your site then branch off of there and say how you’re going to implement each of these elements. Sketching out basic boxes to show where you would like images to go and lines to represent your copy text.
Once you have the basic framework complete for your new website you’re ready to start culling photos to use taking into careful consideration that they’re sticking to your theme either in imagery or color palette, whatever it is that you decided would represent you.
Write out all of your copy, ahead of time. I typically write everything in Pages or Word and then copy and paste the text into WordPress, this allows me to read and re-read my copy multiple times before posting. Depending on the nature of your webpage or business your copy may be more professional or you may have a page that set up more for blogging and is personal. Make sure you keep your writing style the same on all pages, this helps to unify your brand and readers will know who you are.
Whatever industry you’re in there are probably hundreds if not thousands of other people offering the same products or services. You need to stand out of the crowd, you need to clearly show your clients what you can offer them and do this as easily as possible. When people visit your website they expect it to function a certain way. They expect your site to load quickly, they expect it to be mobile friendly and they expect certain items like a contact page or form or even a tab explaining what products or services you offer. If people have to dig to find what they’re looking for they’ll probably move onto the next website. If your page loads too slowly due to large file sizes they’ll move onto another website. And if your website isn’t mobile friendly and someone only likes to view websites from their phone, you guessed it, they’ll move onto the next website.
Don’t give users a reason to leave your site. Once your site is complete test it out, pretend it’s not your site and click through it as if you were the end user. Is everything where you think it should be, do you understand what you’re selling yourself? Have a friend or family member that you can trust try out your site as well, get their opinion.
Growth. We all anticipate that our businesses will grow over time. We don’t start a business and expect it to stay just the way it is in it’s infancy stage forever. Think about where you see your business going and how you expect the needs of your clients to grow and change. Make sure your host server and the platform that you choose to build your website on are able to handle the growth. It’s best to start off with extra bells and whistles and not need them right away rather than getting exactly what you need right now and realizing you need to make changes that aren’t available just months later.
Change is inevitable, anticipate it!
What would be website design without SEO (search engine optimization)? Everything up until now has been user focused, how it looks, how it functions and how it reads but what about the search engines? Search engines look at the code built into your website or blog and this is what you need to optimize. It’s normally very easy to do and like most everything else it just depends on how far you want to go with it.
Plugins like Yoast SEO through WordPress make it very easy and works extremely well. When setting up your SEO you always need a keyword, this keyword is normally a brief 2 or 3 word topic that you used periodically throughout whatever you just wrote about. This keyword has to relate to what you wrote about otherwise users searching for one thing will end up on your page which may not be about that at all and there’s really no point in doing that.
After you choose your keyword you need to write a meta description, this is a brief paragraph that users will typically see on the search engines when looking you up. Make sure you include your keyword in this description.
A lot of other platform SEO tools stop at the keyword and meta description but Yoast SEO takes it a step further and kind of grades you and your writing. It will tell you if you used your keyword enough times or if you need to place it someplace else like the alt text to your feature image or in the title of your page.
There’s really a lot to discuss when it comes to SEO so stay tuned to future blog posts because I’ll have more info coming your way.
Hopefully my tips will help you through you planning process and help you stay organized. I know this can be a daunting process but try to have some fun with it and if you have questions along the way don’t hesitate to message me, I’d love to hear from you!
Don’t forget to download my free e-book for extra tidbits of information. Print it out and keep it next to you while you create your site!