Sorry, I did warn you. If you’re reading this hoping to learn how to code a website — you’re in the wrong place. But, if you want to learn how to create a website design that helps you reach your marketing goals — then read on.
Website design for dummies
I once went to a seminars titled website design for beginners. I didn’t understand anything after the introduction. I promise this website design discussion won’t be like that. If you want to learn more about website design for dummies (and other aspects of social media) grab our FREE ebook — 66 pages of website design goodness.
Step 1: Set objectives
Trust me. Your website design (or re-design) will go much better if you establish clear objectives. Are you building an ecommerce site? a branding site? a community site? a membership site? You’ll save yourself a lot of problems and headaches if you are clear on your goals.
Step 2: URL (Domain)
If you don’t already have 1, go to GoDaddy and buy a URL — basically an address where your website will live. DO NOT — I repeat DO NOT — accept the free URL offer from your hosting company (see next section). That’s because it’s a hassle to take the URL with you when changing hosts. Spend the extra $20 and get it through GoDaddy — by the way, I have discount codes. If you’re interested just click on the ad below.
But, don’t just buy any old domain. Your domain is an important part of your SEO (Search Engine Optimization — basically getting found online). So think about the things your target market might search for hoping to find you. In my case, my target audience is looking for marketing and social media advice — hence, Hausman Marketing Letter. Use Google’s Keyword tool (it’s FREE) to identify phrases that fit your target audience, account for a large # of searches, and don’t have high competition.
Save these searches as you’ll use them later on when creating content and other elements of your website. The more you use your keywords (actually a keyword phrase) the better SEO value.
Step 3: Hosting
Another major decision. Here you’re looking for reasonable price, fast page loading, lots of space, and good customer service. My recommendation for smaller websites is HostGator and LiquidWeb for larger sites. This site is hosted on LiquidWeb, but I have other sites hosted on HostGator and they’re good (plus they’re less expensive).
Step 4: Website Design
I’d take a little time sketching out what you want your website to look like — the homepage, the menu, other pages, tools, etc. Think about how customers want to navigate through your site. Think about your goals.
For instance, I recently redesigned my website – do you like it?
Originally, the website was mainly a blog designed to help visitors and build authority in the marketing and social media space. Recently, I’ve been trying to get more leads from the site. So, I redesigned the website as more of a corporate website with the home page stressing my products and services, and the blog still providing great content. That way I’m still meeting the goals of visitors looking for great tips on marketing and social media, while giving businesses an easy way to learn about how I can help them make their marketing SIZZLE.
Other considerations include:
- Graphics and color scheme
- Integration with social media
- Navigational links
- Legal disclosures
Step 5: Building the website
Website design is much easier now than even a few years ago when I first created Hausman Marketing Letter. And, you don’t need to learn coding (although a little HTML helps).
Today’s website designs are flexible — and be careful of hiring someone who is crafting a custom designed website. While that might sound like a great idea, think about changes you’ll want to make to your website over time. A customer website requires you hire a developer every time you want to make a change to the layout and that gets expensive and time-consuming.
I recommend WordPress. It’s a FREE CMS (content management system) and it’s the world leader in this software. Check out my YouTube channel for a video that shows you how to install WordPress on your site — it’s like magic and I’m truly amazed every time I do it.
You’ll also need a theme to add more features to your website. WordPress comes with the default theme, but it’s not that great. Plus, then you’ll look like every other website on the Internet. I use a theme from Genesis, which is fabulous. It’s very stable and secure. It’s also very flexible.
OK, that’s probably enough for today. Tomorrow, I’ll finish this post on website design for dummies.
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