This post will discuss what you should think about first, before you start designing your website.
The simplest answer I have here for you is: Time Management.
When it comes to design, your biggest cost is time. This tends to get costly when you don’t have the basic necessities in place to design the website. It’s just good practice to plan anything to do with your Brand Identity ahead of the time.
Cool, but where do you start?
There are a few basic content items that you absolutely need at the start, I’ll list them here. But there are also a few that can come in later, and we’ll talk about those too, but, in another post.
A logo is the most important aspect of your branding. Your logo determines how people will recognize you and it determines a lot about your aesthetic as well. It is for this reason that I do not recommend ever doing your logo by yourself. I know that there are websites that offer D.I.Y. logos but trust me, they are terrible. You want a logo, not Word Art generated in Microsoft Word.
side note: When you are in the process of designing your logo, try not to use more than 3 different colors and more than two different fonts, also, ensure that your fonts are easy to read.
A Basic Branding Strategy
This is definitely not mandatory, but it does help a whole bunch. It’s sort of like putting a puzzle together with the end picture in mind. You get a lot less guess work, can plan pro-actively and prepare for growth in a less chaotic manner.
The easiest way to find out where you are going is to list where you want to be. Once you have figured out where you want to be, your goal is set and you can start breaking things down into smaller and smaller lists until you have an accurate road map, or plan, to reach your goals of growth.
There is Also Some Basic Content That You Absolutely Cannot Do Without:
Some Written Copy –
You need to tell people about yourself, your brand, your products or services and how they can purchase from you. Your copy should, therefore, be one of your top priorities and should also be well looked after.
I’ll be posting a few tips and tricks to write your own copy a little later down the line, but you can also utilize the services of a copywriter for best results.
If you would like a good copywriter, I know of a few good people, just ask.
Lists and Details of Your Products or Services –
Think of it as setting up your virtual shop front, and answer the following questions:
- what do you want people to buy from you first? (i.e. the products or services that you want to push the hardest)
- What do you sell? All of it.
- What makes you unique?
- What makes your products or services unique?
- What do people need to know about your product?
- Who are you selling to?
Contact Details –
This goes without saying, but you would be surprised at how many people prefer to leave their contact details off of their website completely. Opting to only use forms. While this is do-able, I don’t recommend it.
People like the option of being able to reach out to you through a variety of means, a contact form with no contact info seems shady. You don’t want that.
And speaking of shady, try to avoid using a gmail address for your business. People aren’t too keen to contact via gmail for business.
Images are tricky, it can get a bit expensive if you’re just starting out to use a photographer; so use stock. There is no shame in using stock images, everybody does it, it’s why they are there. However, If you are going this route; always credit and don’t try to hide the fact that it is stock.
If you look at my super awesome selfie in my “About Us” section, you can see that I’ve left the little watermark in the bottom right hand corner. It says, “Made with Font Candy”.
I’ve done this for two reasons:
- I wanted to show you the free tool that I used to create that effect. – F.Y.I. it’s Font Candy, a mobile app that you can get for free in your App Store right now.
- I also wanted to show you that crediting is easy.
A lot of people are unaware of how to actually credit. To them I say, it’s simply a means of letting people know where you got the content, tool, image, concept or even the idea from.
Why should I credit?
Because firstly, it’s a means of creatively creating back links (which is excellent for your SEO). Secondly, nobody likes people who steal and the bottom line is that if you are taking other peoples content without telling your audience that it isn’t yours, it is a form of stealing. Thirdly, if your audience can see where you get all of your awesome content, it provides them with another reason to keep coming back.
A Company to Host Your Website –
Once your website has been built, it needs a place to stay and so you would need to find a company that will host your website.
If you’d like a recommendation, chat to me, I’m always happy to point you in the right direction. I know some good people.
A Domain –
This is your web address and needs to be renewed every year. Domains do cost money but it should only be an annual charge. Chat to your host about registering a domain, chances are, they can do this for you.
The next items on the list are for the actual assembly of your website, if you are rather wanting to hire somebody to design your website for you, then you don’t really need to worry about the last items on this list.
Page Builder –
This is super important. The Page Builder is a way to conveniently structure the layout of your website.
Personally, I like to use WPBakery Page Builder because it is very straightforward and easy to use and fine tune. But if you are wanting to do this by yourself there are also a few free page builders, they are just a lot more complicated to work with and tune in the finer details that I like to add.
Choose a Theme –
Choosing a theme is kind of like determining your general vibe. It’s the general look and feel that you desire in your website. Thankfully, there are huge amounts of free themes that are absolutely stunning and so I never recommend grabbing a paid theme to anyone who is just starting out because the free options are just so good and you can always change to something a little fancier later on.
That’s it. That is all you need to get going. You could definitely do it yourself if you spent enough time trying, but if you’d like to leave it to myself and my practiced hands, please feel free to chat to me.
Later on you can start adding more content. It’s easy to gather content once you’ve started because there’s just so much more to tell the world about yourself than when you first started, so keep growing. Never let your website sit unchanged for too long – it’s an SEO thing.
was this helpful? would you like to know more? tell me in the comments.