Everyone already knows that in 2021 it is near-impossible to run a business without a website. Whether you already have a site that isn’t giving you the results you were hoping for, or you’re looking to start your first website project, you’ll need a guide to get started.
Since you’re reading this, we’re guessing that you’ve already done a bit of research on building your own website using DIY website platforms. If you’re like most people, the more you learn on the subject, the more overwhelmed you feel, and now you might be at the point of having no idea where to start.
You need help, and probably the smartest thing to do would be to hire one of the top custom web design companies. However, we understand that this doesn’t fit everyone’s budget, at least not initially.
Thankfully, you can build a solid online presence without breaking the bank and spending the big bucks. If you’re just starting out, there’s likely no need to have an incredibly complex website with tons of features. The idea, for now, is to get your brand in front of as many faces as possible.
Building your website will take a bit of effort, but if you can spare the time, you could save a good chunk of your marketing budget when your website needs an upgrade. There will come a time when you begin to see more substantial levels of online traffic, and your DIY website will simply no longer hold up. You don’t have to worry about that yet, though.
Before you start building your site, you should have a clear game plan. This post will give you a few essential website design tips, enabling you to create a site that not only looks professional but converts prospects into customers efficiently. Let’s get started!
Every project, website included, should always start with a bit of research.
We know you probably can’t wait to get started on building the website itself, and jumping into that website editor and bringing your ideas to life sounds incredibly exciting. However, skipping the research phase will come back to haunt you later on.
Start by taking a look at the websites of the industry leaders and your direct competitors. We’re not talking just about your local area — you should try to get a feel for what businesses in your niche from all over the world are doing to achieve success.
Take note of the things you like/dislike about each site you look at. What information is being conveyed both in textual form and otherwise? Don’t shy away from screenshotting and saving design elements you like and using them for inspiration.
If you already have a site, now is the time to compare it to the competition and evaluate the things you like and dislike. Think about your website’s pain points and what you need to work on.
Getting feedback from your customers is a great way to look past your own biases. Learning how your audience feels about your website is crucial, so ask them for input through social media on what they think you could do to make the site better.
There are also excellent online tools you can use to test the technical side of your site, like search engine optimization, responsiveness, page load speed, etc. One of these tools — Website Grader — allows you to enter your website’s URL and your email for a brief report on the things you need to improve.
Now that you’ve figured out all of the things you need to focus on, it’s time to create a detailed plan for your new website.
Every project should start with a clear set of goals. You can begin with the overall goals you have for your business, such as your short-term and long-term milestones. Next, think about how your site will help you achieve these goals.
For example, let’s say that one of your goals is to increase revenue from a specific product by 5%. In that case, your website goal could be to generate a 10% increase in visits to that products’ page, or you could focus on increasing conversions by tweaking the product page in a certain way.
Don’t just keep your goals in your mind — write them out, and keep them in an easy-to-access place. Whenever you need to make a decision about your website, you should be able to take a quick look at your goals and react accordingly.
It is easy to go too far when designing your own website. Putting an extra animation here and a colorful image there may seem like a great idea, but unless you’re a web designer by trade, you’re better off leaving the fancy stuff to the pros.
Your DIY website is never going to look as good as one that a company spent thousands of dollars on, so you should focus on conveying information as efficiently as possible. We’re not saying that you should have a boring wall of text either, but try to find the right balance between a minimalist approach and a cool design.
Stick to one font and keep the color combinations to a minimum. The color palette should be simple and reflect your brand’s visual identity. If you really want to have multiple fonts, don’t go overboard with the number and use Fontpair to see which typefaces go well together.
Also, be sure to use plenty of negative space. Your customers shouldn’t feel overwhelmed when reading your content. Split your posts into small paragraphs and use white space to keep the different sections of your page separated. Everything should be split into bite-sized chunks and easy to consume.
As a small business owner, it is important to prioritize your marketing budget wisely. Building and maintaining an inexpensive DIY website can save you money in the long run when upgrades are needed or traffic goes up.
User friendly custom domain resources are great ways to build an online presence. Free website builders where they provide endless templates to choose from makes for a professionally designed website plan that attracts potential customers.
A good place to start would be with one of these three options: Blogger (free), Wix ($5 per month for basic package) or Squarespace (starting at $8).
Creating a website can be a fun experience. Building your blog posts, creating a photo gallery and collaborative guest posting are just a few ways to enjoy developing your DIY website.
For more information and a free consultation, contact 828 Marketing and Web Design. We are happy to help your business grow with an optimized website!