If hiring a professional Web designer is not in your budget, considers designing it yourself. It might sound hard, but due to many advances in technology, it is now easier than it has ever been.
Before you start, determine your website’s purpose. That may seem obvious until you start asking questions.
- Am I selling a product, a service, expertise, or generating leads?
- How do I explain my intent?
- What will set me apart from competition in my field?
The answers will point you in the right direction on the design elements for your pages such as videos, text, forms, number of pages, blog information, or ecommerce tools.
Who you are trying to reach will also determine your approach to content.
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What are they looking for?
- What problem can you help them solve?
You will need a home page with critical information about your company like a mission or goal based on the information you learned from answering your questions. Title the page with your company name, a byline, or short description of what you do, location, and logo. This page will also have the menu to some other useful pages like the services page which is useful to describe what you do and how you do it in greater detail. A contact page is helpful for various ways of reaching you or employees at your business. An about page is an introduction on a more personal level that will let your visitors know who you are and how the business and website came to be.
Next, you need a platform, or what we call a content management system (CMS), for a website template to display this information. If you are like most people, you did not take a computer programming course recently. A template is designed to handle the code that initially structures the site and gives you several different options to choose from so you can find one that best suits your industry and needs. The essentials for a blogging site verses an ecommerce site are entirely different. Make sure the platform you choose is recommended for your particular use. Common platforms would include:
Some platforms are more customizable than others. You want one that lets you pick different fonts, add images and logos, and change colors. Look for software designed to works with laptops, iPads, tablets, and phones.
Now you can log in to your new platform and begin building. Find your template and start by taking the answers from your planning questions and putting them on the site using text and images that make your message pop. How you convey your material will differentiate you from everyone else so take a look at what your competitors sites look like, find a style that interests you, and modify it in a way that sets you apart from them.
Try different things, show your site to a friend or two for some feedback, test the links you are using, and make sure images show up properly. You will likely make some changes before the official launch of the website.
You will also need to maintain the site with fresh ideas for content including stories, relevant information to your product and services, promotions, or events. Remember that each part of this process can be done on your own or with the help of a professional when you need it. I’m here if you need me for content.