HOW TO DESIGN A WEBSITE IN NO TIME
ESTABLISH YOUR BRANDING
Establishing a brand is a major part of designing your website. Side note: Brand building is a journey that takes time and continually changes as you go. You need to have a deep understanding of yourself, your ideal client, and your message, however, for the purpose of this article we’re going to keep it simple and somewhat surface-level and focus on branding—the look and feel of your website.
Before you begin to design a website, spend some time looking at websites within your industry as well as outside your industry and make a list of the ones that you’re drawn to. What is it about those websites that catch your eye? Do they have a clean simple design? Modern and edgy, renaissance, or french country design? Don’t copy these websites but use them as inspiration for a starting point.
From here you’re going to want to select colors. Go to Google or Pinterest and type ‘color palette’ into the search bar. A plethora of images will come up with beautiful color schemes to choose from. You can also pull colors from a favorite photo.
Then you’re going to want to design a logo. Keep it simple. Hire a designer if you can afford to. If you can’t afford one, don’t worry! There are plenty of free and affordable options. Canva is a really great free resource. Design Cuts has some amazing graphics and fonts ranging in price from $18 to $39. VectorStock is also a great option for designs starting at $14.99.
Don’t overthink any of this! You CAN and WILL make changes as you go. Sophia Amuruso and Sue Bryce are two entrepreneurs who come to mind that both admitted to creating a simple font logo within minutes and both have built multi-million dollar businesses. Don’t get hung up on a logo.
Book a headshot and/or personal branding photoshoot! This is non-negotiable. You MUST represent yourself on your website and on social media and a selfie isn’t going to cut it. A professional photographer can guide you into flattering poses and help you feel relaxed in front of the camera so your best-self shines through.
Put more than one photo of yourself on your website. I only had one photo of myself on my website for years, last year added several photos of myself placed on various pages through my website, and let me tell ya, I’m now attracting people who are excited to work with me that I’m equally excited to work with.
It is not superficial or narcissistic to showcase yourself on your website—it is a MUST. People want to see the person behind the brand. There are hundreds of service providers to choose from nowadays in each industry and in each genre within the industry. You have to get comfortable putting yourself out there.
In case you didn’t hear me, book a photoshoot!
When you design a website, you’re also going to need stock photos. If you hire a photographer who specializes in brand photography, he or she can work with you to create a shoot list that includes flat lays, images of you in a coffee shop, standing by a desk, etc.
You can also find stock photos for free on sites like Pexels and for as little as $10 per image on Adobe Stock. Styled Stock Society is a membership program offering gorgeous photos along with social media templates and training. They have quarterly, annual, and lifetime membership options and you can cancel at any time. Just make when using stock photo sites like these, that the images match your style, personality, and brand voice.
SIGN UP FOR DREAMHOST
Even though WordPress gives you the option of free website hosting, it’s a good idea to use a third-party hosting resource that allows for website evolution and growth. Click HERE to read more about WordPress.com Vs. WordPress.org.
I’ve been using DreamPress (a faster hosting option within DreamHost) for some time now and have been very happy with everything. My site runs fast without interruption and the customer service is great! I’m a surface-level nerdy techy person, and there have been a few times where I have no idea what I’m asking or what the customer service rep is talking about and they’ve always been very patient with me. Even when I ask a million questions so I understand what’s going on behind the scenes, there’s usually some laughter involved—I can be pretty annoying with my questions!
Click the following link to register for DreamHost. You get one free domain name along with hosting. If you’ve already registered a domain name through GoDaddy (or similar) you can transfer that existing domain to DreamHost in just a few minutes.
GET YOUR WEBSITE UP AND RUNNING
Once you’ve set up your DreamHost account, you’ll go through a series of steps to install WordPress and get everything set up so you can start designing. Watch the video below for instruction.
Install the Elementor plugin. Oh my goodness you guys! This plugin is so fun and easy to work with! Yes, my nerd is showing through at a very high-level right now. Check out their website and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s a visual page design-builder that lets you see what you’re doing in real-time which is a huge time-saver, and it’s fun to watch your page come to life in real-time. The best part is that you can easily switch from desktop, tablet, to mobile view and seamlessly make changes for each accordingly so your pages look good on any device.
Install the MonsertInsights plugin to easily keep up with your website traffic, clicks, visitor statistics, and more, all from your WordPress dashboard.
If you need e-commerce, WooCommerce plugin is a great option.
Select a newsletter platform and if necessary, install the accompanying plugin for integration so you can have sign-up forms on your website. Mailchimp is a great option and is free up to 2,000 subscribers. Flodesk is another option and has gorgeous template designs that are easily customizable. I love ConvertKit for its advanced features—if you’re planning to grow your list, then this is a great option for you.
I recently found Kartra, and it was love at first sight. It’s an all-in-one system for newsletters, online courses, and funnels. It’s so robust that I actually had to watch the training videos! Usually, I can just click around and figure things out, not with Kartra, it requires a bit of technical knowledge.
DESIGN THE HOME PAGE
You’ve got a couple of options to design your website: (1) You can keep things simple and design a one-page website. Or, (2) build a three-page website to get started that includes a Home page, an About page, and a Contact page, and add more pages as you go.
Either way, you’ll want to include the following elements.
Make sure your website is relevant with typical design features and visually appealing so it’s easy for your potential clients to navigate. You want your site to stand out as you only have a few seconds to make a good impression on your potential clients while reflecting you and your brand.
Make sure your website includes well-written copy that clearly states who you are, what you do, and what you sell. Use a tone of voice that reflects you! Don’t try to sound stuffy and corporate if you’re a laid-back and go-with-the-flow type of person. You can and will attract high-level clients by being yourself. I’m living proof of this.
The copy on my website, blog articles, and across all of my social media platforms is colloquial and authentic to me. I’m no scholar. I’m VERY laid back. I infuse a lot of humor into my copy and yet I attract mainly doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and executives. I attract these high-level people because they’re looking for someone who is being themselves. Be yourself!
Be sure to open up and tell your potential clients a little bit about you and why you do what you do.
Navigation buttons should be at the top of the page.
You must have a clear call to action button, such as, LEARN MORE, BUY NOW, SCHEDULE A SESSION on the Home page above the fold (top half).
Include a contact button or contact form on your home page.
Your logo should be at the top of the page. Make it clickable as an easy way to get back to the home page.
Add a newsletter opt-in somewhere on each page so you can start collecting email addresses to build a customer mailing list.
Include social media icons so your potential clients can get to know you at a deeper level.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. There are four times as many internet searches done on a mobile phone than on a desktop computer, and mobile content takes up 65% of mobile media. It’s also a major part of SEO. Google takes mobile-friendliness into account when ranking your site.
WordPress has you covered in this area; just about every single one of their templates is mobile-friendly. As noted above, Astra Theme and Elementor page-builder are also mobile-friendly and make it really easy to design a website with their real-time visual design system.
This one is self-explanatory. Publish your website and then tell the world about it! Take a moment to celebrate and feel proud of yourself for a job well done!
It’s important to understand that you must continue to maintain your website—don’t just publish it and forget about it. Write blog posts if time allows. Continue to optimize your pages. Make sure internal and external links are connected.
Take the time to learn a bit about SEO. You don’t have to totally nerd out on it, just learn enough to boost your ranking. Your website is your storefront, make it easy your ideal clients to find you.
Click HERE for a handy dandy SEO checklist to help keep you on track.
And if you really don’t want to spend one iota of second doing anything related to SEO or website design, I’ve got you! Click HERE to schedule a free consultation.