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How to DIY a Website for your Business

Are you thinking about building your website but worried about the cost of a professional website designer? I totally get it. Starting out, or running on a tight budget, means sometimes you've got to roll up your sleeves and DIY. And guess what? It's totally doable!


Follow this process to create your small business website. 



To Start, Choose Your Website Platform

When it comes to creating a website, the first step is choosing the right platform. It's like picking the foundation for your digital home. Here’s a quick rundown of some popular options:


Squarespace: Think of Squarespace as the stylish, user-friendly choice. It’s perfect for those who love sleek design and want a website up with minimal fuss. While its drag-and-drop feature makes things easy, it might be a tad limiting if you're after something super unique.

Pros:

  • User-Friendly: Intuitive drag-and-drop interface ideal for beginners.

  • Stylish Designs: Offers a range of sleek, professionally-designed templates.

  • All-in-One Solution: Includes hosting, domains, and a suite of features.

Cons:

  • Limited Customization: Less flexibility for unique, custom designs.

  • Pricing: Slightly higher cost compared to other platforms.


Wix: Ideal for small business owners who need simplicity. Wix is your go-to if you want to launch a basic website quickly. It’s straightforward but might not have all the bells and whistles for more complex designs.

Pros:

  • Ease of Use: Simple and straightforward for creating basic websites.

  • Drag-and-Drop Builder: Makes it easy to design without technical skills.

  • Template Choices: Wide variety of templates suitable for different businesses.

Cons:

  • Limited Functionality: Not ideal for complex, feature-rich websites.

  • SEO Limitations: Historically had some issues with search engine optimization.


Self-Hosted WordPress: Now, this is where flexibility meets functionality. WordPress is a bit more hands-on and might require some tech know-how. But if you’re aiming for a website that grows and evolves with your business, WordPress is a strong contender.

Pros:

  • Highly Customizable: Offers extensive customization options for design and functionality.

  • Scalability: Ideal for websites that require growth and expansion.

  • Large Community: Extensive support and resources available.

Cons:

  • Technical Knowledge Required: More hands-on management, including updates and security.

  • Initial Setup: Can be time-consuming and requires more technical expertise.


Before you choose your website platform, think about your website goals in the short and long term. Do you want an easy-to-update website? Squarespace and Wix might be the best options. Will you want a more customized design down the line? Then WordPress might be the best solution for your business. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and the best choice depends on your specific needs, technical skill level, and long-term goals for your website.



Creating Your Website

Creating a website for your small business is an exciting step towards establishing an online presence and connecting with your audience. Your website should reflect your business’s unique character and goals. For a brick-and-mortar store, you might want to drive foot traffic to your location. If you offer services like consulting, your website could showcase your expertise and client work. Knowing your goals will guide your content and design choices. Here’s a detailed guide to help you through the process:


Once you choose a platform, take these steps to create your website:

  1. Decide which pages you want to have on your website. Start by listing the pages you’ll want on your website. You can have a single landing page, or a standard 5-page website.


  • Home. This is your digital welcome mat. It should clearly convey what your business offers and its unique value proposition.

  • About. Share your business's story, mission, and the team behind it. This helps humanize your brand and build a connection with visitors​.

  • Services or Products. List your offerings in a clear, organized manner. Include pricing if applicable, and make it easy for visitors to understand what you provide.

  • Blog. A blog is a great tool for sharing news, industry insights, and helpful tips. It can also improve your SEO, driving traffic to your site, and establishing you as an industry leader

  • Contact. Essential for customer interaction. Include your contact information, a form for inquiries, and social media links. If you have a physical store, add an address and a map​​​​.


  1. Choose a template or theme. Selecting the right template or theme is like choosing the outfit for your website; it sets the first impression. Here are some pointers:


  • Reflect Your Brand: Choose a template that aligns with your brand's personality. Whether you're going for sleek and professional, cozy and welcoming, or modern and minimalist, the theme should resonate with your brand identity.

  • Functionality Matters: Ensure the theme supports the features you need. For example, if you're setting up an online store, look for themes with eCommerce capabilities.

  • Customization Options: Consider how much you can customize the theme. Can you change colors, fonts, and layouts to suit your preferences?

  • Responsiveness: It's crucial that your theme is mobile-responsive, meaning it looks good and functions well on all devices, including smartphones and tablets.

  • Keep branding consistent. Over time, you want your branding to be recognizable. Choose your website colors and easy-to-read typography before building the website.


  1. Keep branding consistent. Maintaining a consistent brand image across your website reinforces your identity and builds trust. Here's how to achieve this:


  • Color Scheme: Select a color palette that reflects your brand. Colors can evoke emotions and convey messages, so choose wisely. Stick to a limited palette to avoid overwhelming your visitors.

  • Typography: Choose fonts that are easy to read and resonate with your brand's tone. For instance, a law firm might opt for more traditional fonts, while a creative agency could go for something more modern.

  • Consistency Across Pages: Apply your chosen colors and fonts consistently across all pages. This uniformity aids in creating a cohesive experience for your visitors.

  • Logo and Imagery: Use your logo prominently on the website and ensure that the imagery used (photos, illustrations) aligns with your brand’s style and ethos.



4. Write website copy. Writing website copy is a crucial aspect of your site’s success. It's not just what you say, but how you say it. Here's a more detailed guide on crafting effective website copy:


Highlight Benefits Upfront:

  • Headlines with Impact: Your page headlines should instantly convey the value you offer. Position them prominently, so they are the first thing visitors see, even before scrolling (above-the-fold).

  • Value Proposition: Clearly articulate the benefits of your products or services. Why should a customer choose you? What problem do you solve for them?


Positioning Your Business as an Authority:

  • Trust-Building Language: Use language that establishes your expertise and reliability. Share success stories, testimonials, and expert insights.

  • Customer as the Hero: Frame your business as a guide or mentor in your customer's journey. Your copy should reflect that you understand their challenges and have the solutions.


Effective Call-to-Action (CTA):

  • Clear Directions: Every page should guide the user to the next step. Whether it's to contact you, make a purchase, or subscribe to a newsletter, your CTA should be clear and compelling.

  • Strategic Placement: Place CTAs both at the top and bottom of your pages to catch users wherever they are in their browsing journey.


Skimmable and Engaging Copy:

  • Readable Layout: Break your text into smaller paragraphs. Use bullet points and columns to organize information, making it easier for visitors to scan and absorb.

  • Engaging Content: Incorporate storytelling elements, use conversational language, and address the reader directly to create a more engaging and relatable experience.


Consistent Tone and Style:

  • Brand Voice: Ensure your copy reflects your brand’s personality. Whether it’s professional, friendly, or quirky, consistency in tone will strengthen your brand identity.

  • Avoid Jargon: Use simple, clear language that your audience will understand. Avoid industry jargon unless your audience is familiar with it.


SEO Optimization:

  • Keywords: Integrate relevant keywords naturally into your copy. This helps improve your site’s SEO, making it more discoverable to potential customers.

  • Meta Descriptions and Titles: Don't forget the SEO elements like meta titles and descriptions, which are crucial for search engine visibility.


Mobile-Friendly Copy:

  • Adapt for Smaller Screens: Ensure your copy is easily readable on mobile devices. Shorter paragraphs and larger fonts can improve readability on smaller screens.


Proofreading and Testing:

  • Error-Free Content: Proofread your copy to avoid typos and grammatical errors, which can detract from your credibility.

  • A/B Testing: Experiment with different versions of your copy to see what resonates best with your audience.


  1. Choose high-quality photos. When selecting photos for your website, it's essential to focus on high resolution for a professional look. Balance your use of original company photos with stock images, ensuring they are relevant to your business and edited consistently to maintain a cohesive visual style. Be mindful of using legally sourced or royalty-free images and adhere to any attribution requirements.

  2. Optimize your website for all devices. Make sure your website is optimized for a variety of devices, including tablets and mobile phones. This involves implementing responsive design that adjusts to different screen sizes and thoroughly testing the site across these devices. Prioritize quick loading times and simplify navigation for smaller screens. Consider adopting a mobile-first approach to design, and use tools like Google's Mobile-Friendly Test for optimal performance and user experience. This approach not only improves user accessibility but also bolsters SEO performance.


Conclusion

Wrapping up our journey into DIYing a website for your business, it's clear that with the right tools and guidance, creating an effective online presence is within your reach. From selecting the perfect platform to suit your needs, be it Squarespace for its style and ease, Wix for simplicity, or WordPress for its flexibility and customization, to the crucial steps of choosing the right pages, themes, consistent branding, compelling copy, high-quality images, and ensuring mobile optimization, each element plays a vital role in crafting a website that not only looks great but functions well and resonates with your audience.


Remember, your website is the digital storefront of your business, the first point of contact many customers will have with your brand. It’s essential to make it count. If you're still feeling daunted by the prospect of DIYing your website or simply want to ensure it's as effective as it can be, I'm here to help.


Call to Action: Don't let uncertainty hold you back from creating the perfect website for your business. Sign up for a free Discovery Call with me today, and let's work together to bring your vision to life. On this call, we'll discuss your specific needs, goals, and challenges. Whether you need guidance, hands-on support, or a complete website overhaul, I'm here to help you succeed in the digital realm.


Your business deserves a website that not only looks great but also performs brilliantly. Let's make it happen together. Don't delay; take that first step toward a standout online presence today.



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