Tips for Building Your Own Website
Want to DIY your website but have no idea where to begin? In this episode, we walk you through every step of Website Building 101, from hosting platforms to site design for creative businesses. We share what website builders and templates we recommend, plus SUPER practical tips for a professional yet easy approach to your new site!
First things first, decide what website builder you want to use! Shopify, SquareSpace, Wix, ShowIt, etc. We recommend Squarespace for beginners because it is the easiest to navigate/manage (their drop-and-drop function makes designing a cinch!) and it has an e-commerce option included if you want to sell things directly on your site.
You’ll also need a website host in addition to website platform/builder. What’s the difference? The HOST is where your website lives. Think of it likee renting out an apartment on the Internet (paying for your “space”), and then the website platform is your furniture and all the pretty stuff. The host will also be where you set up your domain name (aka the www.) so you have a pretty/legit URL and not one that’s like so-and-so.wordpress.com. Another bonus of Squarespace is that it includes the option to set up your URL within the platform.
What to include in your first website:
A clear call to action. What do you want them to do? Book your photography package? Inquire about wedding invitations? Join your email list?
An about page! Connect with your audience: make sure there is a picture of YOU on your about page. You are such a huge part of what you’re selling. Also make sure your about page still has copy that keeps your client front of mind and reiterates how you can help them.
A portfolio page. Offer a small summary (with photos) of what you currently offer so people know exactly what they can get from you
A contact page AND YOUR ACTUAL EMAIL. Make it simple for clients to reach you! Squarespace also allows you to create submission forms that go straight to your inbox.
Quick tips for a website that converts:
Have as few clicks as possible to sell something. Make it EASY to buy.
Organize your website and page hierarchy with clear navigation. You want to have a site plan and bird’s eye view ready to go before you start building. (Gotta have the recipe before ya bake the cake!) Bonus: make your navigation menu fit on one line so you’re not overwhelming your website visitor
Use lots of white space and hi-res photos, at least 72 dpi is recommended for the web.
Optimize for SEO and if you have no idea how to do this, then we recommend purchasing the Business Sense for Creatives just for the SEO ranking cheat sheet alone!
Make sure your website works on mobile. Google will penalize you if your site isn’t mobile-friendly and usually over half of your visitors are coming from mobile.
Overall, keep your website simple and don’t get too caught up in minute details like colors, etc. Learn as you go, and your website will grow with you!