Whether you’re about to embark on your first website, or whether you need to update and revamp and existing one, making a website can be a daunting task.
Here’s a breakdown of the most common daunting aspects of making your own website:
You’ll quickly realise that quotes under £500/$600 don’t get you much for your money – the sales pitch that goes with the quote might be great, but you need to really look at what the web designer will be handing over to you.
If you’re a service based website expect to pay a minimum of £1000/$1200 for around 5 pages. There are of course exceptions to this rule and it’s always good to shop around; but like most things in life, you get what you pay for.
If you buy cheap, chances are, you’ll end up with a badly designed, badly built, and badly optimised website.
- Good design
So you can’t afford a web designer, but you don’t want to sacrifice the look and feel of your site. Well the good news is you don’t have to. With careful planning and research, and a good theme, you can design a good website yourself.
Head over to Pinterest and search web design for some inspiration to get you started.
- Expressing your brand values
This often gets over looked, even by novice web designers. A good web site should clearly express your brand values as well as being cohesive with your brands’ visual identity.
When you sit down to write your copy, keep a list nearby of your brand values so that you can check your message is always clear.
- Optimising for SEO
Search engine optimisation sounds scary, but like most things, it can be broken down into some easy to digest chunks. Start with identifying your keywords, and then when you sit down to write your copy, ensure they are dotted throughout your text in a natural, comprehendible way (not just jammed in randomly to sentences as you so often see!).
- Landing page, lead magnet, what?
Other than just your static website pages, there are a lot of pages you’ll need every time you have a new offer, a landing page for a new product – the list goes on.
Paying a designer every time you need a new landing page will quickly add up – and although there are services out there like Leadpages that’s another monthly subscription, another system to learn and try to integrate it with the aesthetic of your site.
With a good plan you can work out what you need for each offer, and the best part – with a good theme you can make them yourself.
- Web optimised images
I covered this in an earlier post, but sourcing images can get tricky when licences are involved.
If you’re going for the free option, you need to be sure the images are covered under the creative commons licence. Stock photo websites have many paid images available and the advantage here is that you’re more likely to find a set of images rather than the odd one or two.
Finding images that all work together can be an issue – if the photos across your site are dramatically different colours, have different lighting and different filters applied it can make things appear very disjointed. This is why hiring a professional photographer will guarantee good results, but as always, expect to pay for a good service!
Images you receive from a photographer or download from a stock website will likely be a very large file size will slow your site down if uploaded as you receive them. Use a website like https://tinypng.com/ to reduce file size and improve loading speeds.
- Knowing what pages to have
I mentioned landing pages, but what about the rest of your pages? How do you know what you need and what you’re missing? Research your competitors websites, look at how they structure their website.
Take a look at the pages you get directed to when you sign up for offers, too.
- Knowing what to write
You need all of the above before you can start writing your copy – and you need to know your product/service inside and out before you can start writing about it – that applies for either outsourcing your copywriting or putting it all together yourself.
With good copy there’s no magic wand effect – draft, write and re write until you are happy.
- Making changes
I’ve seen this so many times – a customer will pay for a website, it looks great, they’re really pleased with it and they part ways with their designer. And then a few months down the line they want to change a picture here, a line of text there, or a button link to a different page. And their designer has dropped off the face of the planet. Or worse, they want to charge an excessive amount for any changes.
- Updates and maintenance
Knowing what to update and when, or how to backup your site can be daunting if you don’t know where to start, and maintenance fees add up if you’re outsourcing it.
With WordPress there are some great Plugins like Updraft Plus that make creating a backup as simple as setting it up once and then getting backups sent to your email forevermore.
If that all sounds a bit overwhelming, check out my free ecourse Plan Your Own Website, where I’ll walk you through you planning step by step so that you can make your own awesome website that represents you and your brand.
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