When I launched my business back in 2014 on Facebook, the little box stating my web address sat blank for a loooong time! Building a website was something that sat on my “to-do” list for FAR too long and after taking some time away from my biz while on holiday I realised it was time to pull my finger out and get my website launched.
It was imperative to the growth of my business.
I will admit I was a bit naive when it came to getting the website started. Although I have a degree in graphic design, web design daunted me and I decided to hire the help of a web designer to assist with the set-up process.
Once systems were all go in terms of building the site there was a lot of stuff I hadn’t considered or didn’t realise I’d need. I’ve written this post with you in mind – to share a few of the crucial things I learned during this process so when it comes time for you to develop your own website you’ll have this handy cheat sheet to get you through! You’re welcome 🙂
1. Your online address will cost you money
Although it seems like the web is all free – having an address online is not. On top of the cost of hiring a web designer you will need to pay to have your domain name registered (that is your www.YOURWEBSITE.com name). This ensures you have your specific web address and no one else can have it! Your web designer may suggest who to purchase this from but there are a number of online sites selling domain names for reasonable annual fees such as my preferred hose 123Host. Either way, bear in mind this is an annual fee and needs to be factored in to the overall cost (if not already factored into the price your web designer has quoted you).
2. Design consistency is crucial
If you have chosen a web designer who has sold you an entire web design package including designing every element of your website (such as your page headers, buttons and graphics) you will need to discuss with them about the tone of the website and clearly state how you want the graphics and how the overall site to look. Consistency is key. You want each page to stand out and reflect your business message but you still want the website to flow.
If you are fortunate enough to have some design knowledge and a background with some handy programs (like me – I use an Adobe design suite), you’ll be able to design your own graphics which financially may work out a lot cheaper for you. If this is the case, the same principle applies – you’ll need to remember to design ALL the elements (an there are a few!) like header graphics plus any buttons and favicons with consistency in mind to provide to your designer for installing.
3. Be clear about what you do
Your homepage is the very first thing your audience and potential clients will see when they land on your website and there are only a matter of seconds before the viewer decides whether to stay on your site or to click away. If you can’t clearly SHOW them what it is that you and your business is about and how you can help them in those few seconds, you’ve lost them already. Think about your business message and verbalise it in a tagline or key sentence that sums up what you do and ensure it is visible on the home page.
4. Be seen
If your business is solely online (like mine) it is important to have at least one photo of yourself on the website. People want to work with PEOPLE and it is important for your clients to be able to put a face to your name. It’s a good idea to invest in having some professional head shots taken for this purpose, or if finances are a bit of an issue initially, get your partner/friend/relative to take a great shot of you in action or on the job so your audience can SEE you. Your designer will ask you for this imagery when it comes to setting up your “about” page or “contact” page. I always think it can be a good idea to have an image of you on the homepage in some relevant area as well. That way from the get-go people will know who you are, who they’ll be working with and what you are about!
5. The work is never done!
Once your web designer has signed off on the job and everything is working and looking fab don’t think that your job is over! Maintaining a website is just as crucial as having one in the first place! There is nothing worse than an outdated or poorly managed site – people will land on the page and simply click away – and no body wants that!
Be sure to regularly update any information you may have, add to your portfolio or blog on a weekly basis if these things are applicable. This will keep your website fresh and relevant and keep your audience coming back.
So, ready to get started?! Download your free checklist here!
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