Let me tell you how we made our dream site and it wasn't as hard as you think.
By Paula Banks - A complete non-techy.
Sit down with a coffee and let me ramble on about building this website. I know it sounds dull, but bare with me, it gets better... I am NOT a 'techy' person, not even a tiny bit. So when it came to the time for a website revamp I didn't even consider trying to do it myself - Initially.
We talked as a team about how to begin the process and it was unanimously agreed we needed help. The last time we went through this process I didn't understand 80% of the conversation. The expert talked and I nodded with a blank face and wide eyes. I could only decide what I did and didn't like the look of. (That was about 8 years ago).
So firstly, we engaged with a designer and gave some ideas and content over. The company were great at trying to build our ideas but it just didn't reflect how we felt the business should look and feel. That's a hard thing to convey and having always been a creative person I had quite a clear vision. It was time to investigate self-build options.
'Don't waver from your vision, always trust your instincts even if it scares you'
Choosing an online company
There are so many online template websites and I wont pretend to be an expert on which one to use. I decided only to look at the first 3 I could find, to keep it as simple as possible. I spent about 10minutes on each site and then just went with the one I found easiest to read and navigate. Everyone is different, so my advice would be to just go with the one your gut likes first.
The design and layout
You can just go with a template, there are hundreds available and its easy to pick one with a theme that matches your business or purpose. It's so easy to add pages, text and pictures (compared to when we last had one made, I was blown away by the ease) but if you want to do a bit more, you can really delve into the settings and change fonts, colours and make a totally bespoke site. I went for the latter, and we have ended up with a website totally unrecognisable from the original template but it was easier to do that than start with a blank page. I was really keen to make the website look the way we view the business and had always wanted a 'Members' page for our booked couples, to build a community, so that HAD to go in.
I have played with all the features and ways to edit the page and it's actually been fun. A far cry from the last time we went through this process! I would suggest trying these points to get yourself started:
Research other websites you like first, note what pages they have as well as what you do/don't like about them
Make a list or diagram of the pages you need
Start building, don't hesitate, just have a go! Everything is editable
'Make a list or diagram to visualise the whole site'
Content and publishing
Content is king, or so we are constantly told. There seems to be a huge pressure to create content on so many platforms, so much so that many small businesses often get scared away from doing any at all! I personally believe that if you write from the heart being honest and clear, you can't go wrong. It's worth following suggestions and doing research into SEO. But don't let that scare you, it's all fairly simple once you get going.
After you have made your pages glorious - go ahead and publish. Most websites guide you through this process and its totally painless. The website I used had instant chat options and I used it a lot without any issue at all. Voila!
'Here it is, our website. Totally unique, totally us and I am totally proud of it'
Our authenticity shines through and I am excited to watch it grow as an organic page not a static platform. Why not create your own website, GO ON, HAVE A GO! What have you got to lose?...