In the age of platforms like Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly, we’re commonly fed the lie that building a website is easy. That you can download an app, push a few buttons, and boom, you’ll have a fully functioning website.
Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work like that. As a Web Designer, I often work on sites that have been half DIY’d. There are a few things that I frequently find myself wishing people knew before they had attempted their site.
If DIY’s not your thing, and you’re looking to outsource to an agency or freelancer, read on! You’ll make everyone’s life a lot easier (and probably save yourself some money) if you’ve thought about these three things first.
1. Consider The Design/Branding
You know those websites with five different fonts, every colour in the rainbow, and no consistency in imagery? You don’t want to be them. Promise.
One of the easiest ways to make your site look polished and professional is to keep things consistent. Pick two (three if you really must) fonts, a few key colours, and STICK to them. No matter how ‘creative’ you are with the layout and rest of the site, if you’ve got your branding sorted, your site will look infinitely better.
2. Pick The Right Platform
This question comes up a tonne. As a WordPress and Shopify web designer, I’m probably definitely going to give you a biased response. But here are a few things you should think about:
- Managed service – if you’re not particularly tech-savvy/don’t want to pay someone to manage things like setting up your website hosting, back-ups, caching, etc then you probably don’t want to use a platform like WordPress. You’d be better suited to something like Squarespace or Shopify, where a lot of this is taken care of for you.
- eCommerce – if you’ve got an eCommerce business please think about Shopify. It’ll make your life easier. Alternatively, WordPress with WooCommerce is a solid choice. Again though, you’ll need to consider the more technical stuff.
- Flexibility – this point’s kind of related to the first one, but a massive downside to a managed platform is that you’ve got less flexibility. With WordPress, there are few things you can’t do with the help of a good developer. Shopify on the other hand, has limitations, no matter how good your dev is.
3. What Are Your Traffic Drivers?
What’s the point in having a website if you don’t have a way to drive traffic to it? I always ask my clients how they’re planning on getting people to the site because that’ll drive the design and even landing pages that you have.
Ideally, you’d have your marketing strategy laid out, and answering this would just be a matter of seeing where your website slots in (you’re on the right site if you need help with your marketing! More info here.) In reality, though, it’s something that a lot of businesses don’t consider.
My advice? Map out what your key traffic drivers will be, and then figure out what that means you need to do when building your website.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Search – Google’s (sometimes) awesome, and if you play your cards right, it can generate some serious traffic. If you want more info on this, Google 🙂 SEO. Some basics to think about when you’re building your site would be meta descriptions, title tags, and heading tags.
- Social media – definitely a long term game, but hanging out on platforms like Instagram and Facebook can be a useful way to drive traffic to your site. If, for example, you’ve got a lot of traffic coming from Instagram, then it may be worth considering the addition of a LinkTree-style page to your website.
- Pinterest – again, this is a point you’re getting a biased answer on. I blogged for about five years, and over that time found Pinterest to be the absolute best traffic driver. Create those Pinterest-friendly images, pin consistently, and watch the traffic come to your site. Disclaimer – there’s a little bit more to it than that 🙂
Are you in the process of building a website? If you’d like to bounce around ideas or get some advice feel free to pop any questions in my Facebook Group!
About The Author
Kat is a Melbourne based Web Designer. She works with small to medium-sized companies to build web solutions that work for their business. Experience working on websites for both service-based and eCommerce businesses coupled with a background in blogging, Kat looks at how to maximise the potential of your website.
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