As the average small business is set to spend around $75,000 this year on digital marketing, entrepreneurs are looking to find ways to cut corners. If you have to learn how to build a website from scratch, you shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you will have to learn a few things. Building a website takes time and effort and even if you do it yourself, those are hours where you could be building profit for your company.
To save you time, follow these seven tips for building your own site.
1. Find Some Sites You Like
Before you start digging in the trenches of web design, you need to find a few simple sites that you like. Research can bring you some inspiration as to what works for you and what you’d like to add to your own site.
While researching, take rigorous notes. Be critical of every site that you see. Take note of what you like and what you think each site is missing.
Narrow it down to just three or four sites that you think your site should look like. Pay attention to details and look into how easy it would be to implement those ideas.
Avoid sites that look overly complicated and difficult to see on small screens. Look at all of the sites that you’re interested in on a phone or a tablet. Pay attention to what elements don’t translate and which ones do.
Finding inspiration can give you ideas and help you figure out what to avoid.
2. Choose Some Simple Elements
When you’re researching for your site, you’ll probably notice that things look different on the internet than they did a few years ago. Simplicity and minimalism are key. As people are overwhelmed by pop-ups, interstitials, and paywalls, they want every other site they visit to be as simple as possible.
When choosing a color scheme, keep it simple. Narrow it down to just 3 colors that you’ll use, including neutral colors. When you have a simple color scheme, you can create a memorable logo while having some limitations for what direction to go in.
Choose a simple font that isn’t too flowery or overdone. The simpler your site is, the easier it will be to remember.
So long as you create some limitations, you’ll be able to add in your personality without struggling with being incoherent.
Keep images simple, colors simple, and text simple. When people want more information, they can call you.
3. Find a Template That Makes it Easy
If you’re using a template or a SquareSpace style tool, remember that millions of other websites could possibly choose that template. If a nearby competitor is using the same exact template, people might mistake your sites for one another.
Stick out by customizing your template if you use one. Be sure that you have a font that’s different than the other sites near you. Create a simple but strong logo that your customers can remember and place it at the top of your site.
If a tool is too difficult for you to use, move on to one that feels simpler. Read more here when you’re on the hunt for a tool.
4. Choose a Clever URL
In order to get customers to visit your site, you need to create a URL that’s memorable. If you’ve been using the same name for the last several decades but making your first website, you don’t have to change your name. You can have a URL that’s vastly different than your company name so long as it’s very memorable.
If your business name is “Jackson and Family Insurance Providers”, your URL can take on a lot of different shapes. You can try JacksonInsurance.com for something simple and descriptive. You can try to take advantage of your region by broadening your URL to MiamiInsurance.com or CarAccidents.com.
While the name of your business doesn’t have to be memorable, your URL definitely does.
5. Learn About SEO
While it might seem like a heady concept, the whole point of building a website is to get people to visit it. Since the yellow pages have faded from importance, the new way that people find out about businesses is via search engines. Make yourself easy to find on search engines with some “search engine optimization”
SEO is how companies get customers to click their links when they appear on search engines. By using keywords, adding text that uses those keywords, and mentioning where you’re located, you can help search engines match you to users. When someone searches just “pizza” while living in Omaha, they’re going to get results that list the closest pizzerias to where they’re sitting in Nebraska.
SEO can be a profit generating tool, especially when combined with a blog.
7. Use Professional Photos
You need to have photos on your site. No matter what industry you’re in, images will be what sells customers on your products and services.
One of the big advantages of customers finding about new products and services via the internet is that you can get them to look at images. They won’t be comparing two brands they’ve never heard of before. Instead, they’ll have all the power a consumer should have in their hands.
Even if you’re only creating a website for your personal writing, you should include photographs on it. When you give people something to look at, they’ll remember what they’ve seen on your site. Badly lit or amateur looking photographs could lose their trust.
Learning How to Build a Website From Scratch Takes Time
If this is the first time you’ve ever tried, you’ll find a steep curve in learning how to build a website from scratch. It takes some trial and error, a lot of research, and could take a few days to get it the way that you want it to look.
If you need a tutorial on how to build a website for dummies, look no further than our latest guide.