Building your website can seem like a daunting task. Do you know how to write code? Do you know what your brand colors are? What is my brand voice? The best part of building and designing your website these days is that you don’t have to be an expert coder or techy to be able to get your website up and running. Here is a step by step guide to build your website today!
Find a host- with templates
Hosting your website is the first place I always advise you to start. Find 5 websites that you like and would like for your business to look like. Usually at the bottom of each website, the name of the host is listed. From here you can view that host and see what templates they have to offer. My favs are Weebly, Wix, WordPress, and Showit. Keep in mind that all of your templated website hosts will have a monthly fee and will most likely offer free templates. Fancy and cool templates may be an extra fee.
Register for a domain
Your domain name is your website address. Sometimes your host can provide your domain, but I suggest using a 3rd party host like GoDaddy to purchase your domain. Why, you ask? Let’s say in one year your website host is no longer your favorite and you want to upgrade your website with another host. If your first host is where you purchased your domain, it can be a process to use it elsewhere. Not only that, if you create a fancy email with your business name at the end (very cool!) you may also struggle to get that transferred over as well. Believe me…keep it separate! Domain purchases are usually very inexpensive depending on how popular they are. Try making your domain as close to your business name as possible.
Decide on your color scheme and font
This is where the fun begins! There are so many places to find your color scheme and font family inspiration. There are hundreds of websites to find your ideal fonts like Font Squirrel. When it comes to color I suggest finding pre-made palettes for color. One site that I love is Color Hunt. You can find hundreds of pre-organized color palettes. You should choose a color palette that you know you will love for a while. Choose one that not only speaks to you personally but one that can also speak to your audience.
Decide on photos
Whether you hire a professional photographer or you use your sibling (not pro-photographer) and your iPhone, you have to show yourself within your business. Make sure that your lighting is natural and inviting. Think about where each photo can be featured on your website or advertisement. You can also use stock photos from sites like Unsplash or Burst to get more professional photos for your site for FREE!
Describe your story & products
Obviously your website’s purpose is to sell your product, but without a story your product is the same as everyone else’s. What makes you unique? What makes the way you make or offer your service different? Why? Those are just a few questions to make sure that your voice is heard. The second part of this, is making sure your audience “gets it”. Language that is too technical or confusing to the layman may not be the way to go. Make sure that no matter how complicated your process or product that even a 10 year old could understand what you are offering and would want to buy it.
Decide the customer journey
What do you want your customer to experience when they get to your site, as they browse through your site, and when they leave your site? Most of us would want for our customer to have a problem or issue that your product can solve, find their solution with ease, and want your help to achieve it. For you, does that include videos, text, or photos? How can you guide your potential client through your website and your business?
SEO- google analytics
I know SEO sounds scary but it is really just a way for you to find out who is looking for you. Google Analytics has become one of my favorite tools. Google Analytics is a free tool that analyzes your site to allow you to see how users behave on your site, where they came from, and what they are looking for. I highly recommend setting this up with any new website so you can track from the beginning. 1-2 years down the road you will be surprised and what you’ve done!
Connect to social
We always want to stay connected to social media. If you have social media for your business (this is a MUST) you can add links with icons within your site so that ^^^ Google can start to see that you are relevant. It is also an easy way for your customers to find you between the two platforms of websites and social media. Another benefit of connecting your social media through your site is that when your customer sees that you are all connected they feel safer knowing that you know what you are doing. They may never click on your social media links from your site but they know that you are informed and with it!
Test test test
Test…can I say that again? Test your website! Test the links, test your menu, test your site on your computer, your tablet, and your mobile device. Your website has so much information on it and so many links. Make sure that wherever your client is clicking that it works and that whatever device they use they can see everything.
Soft launch with reviews
Before you call the masses, call your close friends or text them lol. Have them go through your website, tell them to click and read everything. You want to make sure that your site not only works but that it makes sense. Many times when we are in the thick of our project we can lose sight of the clarity of our message. Have your closest peeps give you honest feedback on everything. Take the loving suggestions and apply the necessary changes.