While it may seem overwhelming, starting up your own website is a lot less scary than it seems. Picture your website like your own personal house. You want your house to really exemplify your style.
Your Very Own Home
Building your website is a lot like building a house. You start with an address for where the house will be built, which is your domain name. This is how people are going to find your website. You will then need to have a foundation to build your house on, which is the hosting website. The hosting website will always be where your site lives, and it won’t move from there. The house itself is the platform (WordPress, Squarespace), which is where all of the content will be held. Finally, you will have a theme, which will be the paint on the walls and shutters on the windows.
Four simple components:
CMS Platform (i.e. WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, etc.)
Theme (available in each platform)
1. Domain Name - known as your URL, your domain is your address on the web. You want your domain name to be something that is easy to remember and captures the essence of your business. Remember, this name is a part of your daily life and is the building block of your brand. It can be your first and last name or more of a lifestyle selection. Avoid using dashes in your domain name. You can purchase your domain from GoDaddy or some host sites.
2. Decide which platform you want to go with. Options:
3. Hosting – picture your host like your server. If you go with SquareSpace, you can do your hosting through them, but if you go with Wordpress, we recommend Bluehost. It comes with one free domain so you can bypass the GoDaddy step and also acts as your email address host so you can have firstname.lastname@example.org vs. a Gmail or other provider.
4. Pick Your Theme – each platform has many themes to choose from. Pick one that suits your desires. Things to keep in mind when picking theme: What do you want to display on your site? Organize your content beforehand by doing a simple outline of the information you have to post. Here is a standard guide for your content sections:
Home – simple photo of who you are and sections for the below
About – who you are
Services – what services you have to offer/what people can buy from you
Discovery Session – potential client can fill out form or use booking software to book an initial free 15 minute session with you
Blog – where your blog posts are housed
Keep it simple – content consumption is all about simplicity. People like to look at a site and be told in under 3 seconds exactly who you are and exactly what you do.
Do not crowd up your homepage with extra words and long paragraphs. Choose a few big, glossy photos of yourself and a very simple mission statement to be displayed on your homepage.
Guide the user – in every section and on every page of your website ensure it accomplishes an objective. The goal is to get them to click to sign up with you so make sure the calls to action are easy and clear.
Offer a free opt-in to get a user on your email list. You can embed a simple form or pop-up box on your site with a free piece of content to give away. This could be an ebook, action guide, template, video – whatever your specialties are, give something away for free to capture an email address.
List Management options: MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, InfusionSoft