I’ve seen a few cases where people have built their own websites with spectacular results. What they all had in common was that the owner spent a significant amount of thought and time to get things just right and, unless they had prior experience in web design and web development, they learned a great deal along the way.
Self Hosted or Online Platforms
There are excellent platforms available that make the process of building a website easier, platforms like Wix or Squarespace and WordPress Online have become significantly more affordable than they used to be.
There are also self-hosted options (e.g. WordPress Hosted) that provide more ownership and design flexibility. They require an installation on a Website Host Platform, a step that can be daunting for the uninitiated.
Here I will explore how you can ensure success with your website whichever platform you choose to use.
Define your website purpose from the outset and never lose sight of it. Your design, your content and the user experience should reflect and support that purpose throughout the website. Too frequently DIY website builders get side-tracked by complex designs and animations. KISS, in my opinion is the best approach. Keep It Super Simple.
Getting the Website Design just right
You don’t have to be a graphic artist to build a successful website. Whether or not you have an eye for design, browse many other websites in your market and especially website templates like Envato Market and look at as many templates that you can. Depending on the platform you are using, the template does not have to be restrictive. In WordPress (self-hosted) for instance, you can deviate significantly from the starting template.
Choose a template that can be adapted to your brand and that serves your chosen purpose.
Building the Website
Online platforms come with their own page builder and there is no need to install anything on a 3rd party hosted platform. Remember though that you are tied to that provider for the life of your website. You can get straight into building your website.
The advantage of choosing a system like Hosted WordPress is that you can choose a host provider and you have more control over the design, add-ons, technical aspects like performance and SEO components. This may be crucial for the ultimate success of the website. (There are other platforms e.g. Drupal or Joomla, but I’ll stick with WordPress in this article since I find it is the easiest to work with.)
There is usually a functional page builder included with the WordPress Template. I recommend choosing a template with “Elementor” as a page builder since that is quick to learn and can also be extended with additional plugins.
The initial WordPress platform has to be installed on a host provider. This is either done by the actual hosting company or by someone with the right technical expertise. This step is included in our DIY product.
Once the site structure and theme is installed you can alter the design to your needs.
Adding Images, Content and Media
While this is the fun part, don’t underestimate the time required to get it right. Written content has to be thought about and crafted carefully so that it is to the point, clear and concise.
Images have to be carefully selected (use resources like 123RF and Unsplash). Again, the time taken on selecting images can be deceiving. Once chosen, the images must be formatted, cropped and adjusted to suit your purpose. If you don’t have an image editor already installed, then I suggest using software like GIMP.
Adding SEO Components
Getting the website right is only one step in the online journey. Once the website is looking good and live there is still the task of addressing all the technical aspects of the website. That includes all on-page SEO components like meta data, schema, search engine and analytics components. That does require some technical know-how.
How we can ensure Website Success
I have seen a few cases of excellent DIY websites, but they are few. I’ve seen others that are just not up to scratch. We want you webstite to be successful. Only with all the required components in place can a website be successfull. The solution is to have help available in the areas that are difficult to achieve without web design and development experience.
At Hello Web we offer a DIY Website Product that takes care of the more challenging aspects that you may come across while building your site. We include 4 hours of support that you can utilise as you. Here are some of the areas that we suggest:
1. Ensuring that the Theme that you select is appropriate for your purpose
2. Installing the core WordPress System and Theme
3. Guidance on how to use Elementor or GIMP
4. We assist with adjusting style-sheets that fall outside of the Theme
5. Making sure that the site formats well on all devices
6. We assist with adding the SEO components
7. We guide you through some of the Off-Page SEO requirements like installing all Google components
Building your own website can be fun and rewarding. We guess that you may need a bit of help along the way. If you choose to have your own hosted website rather than using a purely online system, then let us guide you on your online journey to make sure that your website venture is successful.
(Views expressed in any article are the views of the authors individually and do not necessarily reflect the view of Hello Web or their staff.)