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Having a website for your business used to be a preference, but with Australians spending more time than ever online – over 10 hours a week on average – having a website is now a mandatory for reaching your audience.
But professional websites can be expensive – and timely.
So if you’re itching to launch your brand, but don’t have the funds or timelines to use a professional, look no further.
Here are a few steps to help you DIY your website:
Get Clear On Your Why
Understanding your purpose is priority number one for any business, and where you need to start. This cannot be about money, or working from home. This is not how having a business solves your problem – it’s being able to clearly articulate how you solve a particular problem for your target audience in a unique way.
Getting clear about how you creatively and uniquely solve your target audience’s problem is what’s going to set you apart from your competitors and keep you top-of-mind for potential clients.
Who’s Your Target Audience?
Put simply, who are you trying to help with your why?
Think of your audience as a person. Name them, and find a stock photo that you feel would work well for him or her. From there, build out their life. Are they single or married? Do they work or are they a stay-at-home parent? What goes on in their normal day-to-day? And what services and products are they looking for to improve their lives?
Taking the time to answer these questions and others will ensure that you’re creating the right content for the right people.
Plan Your Layout
Before you think about the design of your website, your website structure needs to align with your audience needs. The wireframe needs to be easy to navigate and intuitive for potential clients, with clear contact details throughout.
Think about what information is key to your target audience and work out how it fits into your structure. Being clear on your core messages and services is important, but look to drive home your point of difference. You need to be able to set yourself apart to go above and beyond the competition.
After your structure is designed, it’s time to consider your visual story, your inspiration for your website. Your business’ moodboard needs to encompass the spirit and personality of your brand in a cohesive visual direction.
How would your brand be personified?
What emotions does your brand give off?
Think of people, places, and themes that inspire you. It could be anything from Tina Fey to the Cliffs of Moher, but choose things that exude your brand’s essence. Build on those foundations with colours, patterns, textures, and fonts, enhancing the main building blocks with your brand’s character and individuality.
Nothing is off limits, and by putting together an overall style with key specifics, you’ll accurately define your brand to potential clients.
Platform + Hosting
First things first: buy your domain. Now is the time to think about if you want a .com (more international-focused), .com.au (if your clients are mainly in Australia), or another option.
The most affordable way to buy your domain and hosting is with Blue Host.
The next part is what some people struggle with – selecting the best website builder for you and your business.
WordPress and Squarespace are two of the most common website builders, with each having pros and cons.
Squarespace cater more to beginners who prefer templates and less modifications. When there are issues, their support team usually responds within an hour. The annual fee also includes a free domain name for the first year.
WordPress on the other hand has more customizable options (like tools and plugins), but has a steeper learning curve. If you’re willing to invest the time, money, and energy, WordPress allows for greater originality and more overall expression. To make it a bit easier, I would strongly recommend buying an easy to use template, like Divi theme. The Divi theme is the most popular theme, has amazing tutorials to help you and super easy to navigate.
One thing everyone agrees on: be careful which option you choose, as it can be a huge headache to switch.
Create Your Logo
People put a lot of time and energy into logos, and for good reason. Logos are the visual equivalent of your business’ name, and need to showcase all of that in one image. But that doesn’t mean you need to wait until you can afford a four-figure one.
With the ease of the internet, there are now a multitude of websites at your disposal to hire someone or create something on your own.
Creative Market is made just for this, with ready-made themes, fonts, and other creative business necessities available for purchase. Etsy is a huge creative hub to find relatively unknown talent to either create custom assets or grab ready-made ones. Investing in a graphic-design website like Canva (with monthly and annual subscriptions) may be your preference if you have something specific in mind and are wanting to design your own logo.
Write The Copy
Now that you have the layout sorted, it’s time to fill those pages! You don’t have to complete every page prior to launching your site, but some are more important than others.
Start with your home page – it’s the first (and sometimes only) page that your audience will see. Use this page as your elevator pitch, to show your target audience who you are, what you do and why they need you and your brand in a succinct, cohesive manner.
The second-most important page is your services page. If potential clients like what they see on your homepage, this is where they go to get an understanding of what they can expect from your brand. Having a page that explains the services and products you offer will give your audience a more in-depth picture of what they can expect from your business. Make sure that your website leads to a way to find you as well whether that be via email or phone.
If time allows, the next in cue in copy priority will be your About Us.
Test & Launch
The most important part is to get started! Your goal should always be progress over perfection, so don’t be afraid to soft launch your website while still working out some of the kinks.
Ask friends and family or your wider social network (there are great female-focused business groups on social media platforms!) to check out your site and request feedback (both positive and critical). Maybe your blog posts are your highest traffic pages, in which case you may want to focus more on those moving forward. Or a process that seems straight-forward to you is actually counterintuitive for your audience.
While it’s important to take on audience feedback, keep your brand’s why in mind throughout the process to maintain on course.
DIYing your business website can be a scary process. But by breaking down the process into smaller, more manageable chunks as per the above steps, you’ll have a website that speaks to your potential clients in no time.