Websites that Pop: Get Started & Get Noticed with These 7 Simple Steps
Now that we're sheltering in place, communicating and advertising online is essential, especially for those of us who need to keep our businesses afloat or create new revenue streams. If you haven't already created a website for your business, product, or services, now's the time.
Your website is your calling card—a way to encapsulate what you offer, who you are, and how you can be of service or value. It doesn't need to be complicated, but it does need to be impactful in order to be effective. Luckily, website builders like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and more have thousands of user-friendly templates to choose from, making it possible to create a personal site without hiring a costly team of design, coding, and wireframe experts.
Getting started, of course, is often the hardest part. With these 7 tips in mind, you'll be well on your way:
1. Focus on Your Primary Goal
Consider the reason you're launching a website. Are you selling a product or service? Creating an online presence for an existing business? Showcasing your portfolio of writing, art, design, or building projects? Think about what you'd ultimately like to achieve through this site, and keep this singular goal in mind throughout the process.
2. Envision Your Target Audience
Imagine who your ideal clients might be. The more specific you are, the easier it is to design the site for those individuals. Think about what your clients might look like, the settings in which they might live, their values, backgrounds, the way they talk—much like a character study. In order for your website to be impactful, it needs to resonate with your target audience.
3. Share Your Story
Stories, when done right, bring your site to life. They offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your history, mission, inspiration, and value. Your story can live on an "Our Story" page or "About" page if you prefer writing about who you are, your skills, products, or specialty.
4. Secure a Domain Name
Before you decide on the name of your site, make sure it's available. GoDaddy used to be the go-to site for buying domain names (and remains quite popular), but you have several more options these days, including Domain.com, Bluehost, Hostgator, and Dreamhost, among others. Simply type in the name you're seeking, and you'll automatically discover if it's available for purchase. Ideally, make sure it's available as a ".com" domain extension, as search engines rank .com higher than others like .net or .org.
5. Design the Site for Your Ideal Client
The internet is a design-driven space. Colors, fonts, images, icons, and logos all affect the way visitors perceive you. Consider how your choices will affect the brand you're creating. Research sites with similar offerings and discover what you like or don't, and use them as a springboard for ideas while finding ways to differentiate yourself.
6. Speak Directly to Your Audience
Less is more when it comes to content these days, since viewers typically spend 30 seconds scanning a page before they decide whether or not to keep reading. However, you don't want to be so brief that you leave out essential information. As you write, think about the tone and style that will most align with your target audience.
7. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Since half of all global traffic occurs on mobile devices, make sure your site is not only laptop friendly, but is also readable when viewed on a phone-size screen. Google's Webmaster Tool helps you analyze your site to ensure that it's easily readable on smaller devices. Simply insert the URL of your web page and click on the "Analyze" button.
If you want to leap to the top of the search engine pile, you might consider getting help with SEO (search engine optimization) keywords. For starters, think about common terms in your industry and integrate them into your content. You can also employ some internal features of your website builder to help with SEO suggestions, too.
When you're done, share your site! Let friends, family, colleagues and online connections know you have a new site up and running by sharing it on LinkedIn, Facebook, email, Instagram—then keep the momentum going!
If you'd like some help getting started, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm offering free consultations, my gift to you during these challenging times.
Elisse Gabriel is an award-winning freelance writer, editor, and founder of Red Balloon Creative Content based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her website can be found at www.redballooncreativecontent.com