So you’re thinking of designing your site, but don’t know where to start?
Well scroll down to read Part One of my two part guide on the basics of website design.
How to define your Website Branding, Look and Image focuses on the visual elements of web design and the practical steps you can take to explore and define what your site will look like.
Essential Website Content - How to choose your words... carefully. This guide builds on Part One and will focus on your website's Content - that's the important written stuff! It sets out what pages you should include and other important aspects such as basic keyword identification and SEO.
SHOULD I DIY MY WEBSITE OR HIRE A WEB DESIGNER?
Before you get started, you’ll need to first figure out whether you’re going for a DIY website route or hire a web designer.
The great news is that I have a perfect quiz for you to assess whether you’re a good fit for the DIY website route or should hire a web designer. Click the image below to take quiz now!
Before you start
Before you start there are a number of aspects of your business that you will need to consider. These cut right back to the fundamental principles behind your business.
By asking yourself some key questions now will not only help you define exactly what you want from your website, but will also help you with the future marketing of your business.
What is your target market?
What services or products do you want to sell?
What action do you want your viewers to take?
Select your business name
If you do not yet know the name of your business, try and work this out now or as part of this process. You will need this for selecting a web domain and potentially designing your logo.
You will definitely need this before you start writing your content.
If you don't have a domain name selected yet have a think about what you want it to be as you go through this process and check to see if it is available for you to buy. If you find one that fits, consider buying it. Try searching is sites such as GoDaddy to see if it is available.
Branding, look and image
The look and branding of your website is really important as it needs to connect with your target market, but it also needs to reflect who you are and what you represent. To look professional you will want to use the same ‘look’ in all your communications.
If you want to explore this a little further check out my workbook How to build an authentic brand.
Research and create a Branding Board
To explore and develop your branding open a Pinterest account (if you do not already have one) and create a ‘Branding Board’ full of images that you feel really capture and express the essence of your brand. (Pinterest can also be a very effective marketing tool, so you will probably be using this again in the future if you don’t already).
You can type in keywords in the search box at the top of your Pinterest account.
Then save any logos, colours, fonts, snapshots of websites that catch your eye. Make sure your ‘Branding Board’ is a secret board so only you can view this board.
Create a Brand Moodboard with your favorite images and fonts
Upload your selected images you saved in your Pinterest Branding Board. This should include your favorite colors, fonts, textures & patterns, photography style, feelings and emotions that most express your brand,
Choosing your website colors
Now to identify the key colors for your website. These will be used for backgrounds, fonts, tabs etc. in the design process.
Upload your moodboard to Adobe Color CC. Move the identifier circles around your images or use the function that automatically selects them for you. The key colours will be shown at the bottom of the screen. You will see hex codes for each colour to create a unique colour palette for your brand. Note this down and use them when designing your site.
Choosing your Fonts
Find out the name of fonts you liked or go to Creative Market, Font Shop or Google Fonts and have a search for the type of font you’d like to use as part of your brand. You can then download your favourite ones.
I suggest selecting 3 different font types – one each from Sans, Sans Serif and Typography font groups.
You may want to keep it simpler than this and choose just a couple, but I would not recommend more than 3 otherwise your site will start to look too busy.
Creating your Logo
A logo is really useful as it can be used on all your marketing communications as well as on your site. Try and keep it simple and in line with your overall branding. You may want to leave this step until you know your business name and have a web domain secured.
If you don’t already have a logo, brainstorm your logo ideas. If you are comfortable designing your own logo you can use programs such as PhotoShop, or Gimp (which is free!). There are some free logo design resources too such as Canva which are worth checking out.
Have fun designing!
If you’d like to go a bit more professional, or want to save your time - outsource it. There are a range of easy to use sites such as Fiverr and PeoplePerHour where you set a brief and find a competitively priced design.
Note: You may want to leave the design of your logo until you know your business name and have a web domain secured, so they all match.
Creating a ‘favicon’
Favicons are small icon files that are displayed next to the web address of your site in a browser's address bar. Having one will make your site look more professional.
Try creating one in Canva or any simple painting application. Remember these are tiny icons so ideally the should be simple as possible, such as an initial. Keep with the colors the same as those chosen earlier.
Alternatively you could get a graphic designer to design one, but I recommend giving it a go yourself!
Your Website Graphics & Images
Part of making your website unique is about making sure you have some relevant, high quality images that represent what you do and offer.
The images you select should work well with your branding and the moodboard you hopefully created earlier on.
If you do not have any you can either create your own in a graphics design package or find some free images online.
Remember that as this is a business you need to be careful about using images without the permission of the owner. There are however some free resources out there you can use for commercial purposes - check this article out and have a look around.
If the website is about a service you personally provide I strongly recommend having some professional or professional-looking high quality photographs that can be used in the ‘About Me’ section if not elsewhere on the site.
SHOULD I DIY MY WEBSITE OR HIRE A WEB DESIGNER?
Assess whether you’re a good fit for the DIY website route or should hire a web designer. Click the image below to take quiz now!