Just starting up a business? You can save yourself a lot of $$$ by designing your own website. But you have to do your research and know what you’re getting into. Just because you have an eye for graphic design doesn’t mean that you have the patience or time to design your own website, much less make it function properly.
Here’s a few tips to help you get started on your website:
1. Start Small
You may not want to hear this, but it’s really important to start small. Limit yourself to just one or two pages, at first, and make sure everything works. There are a couple of things you can do to get started that will help you learn your way around.
2. Basic Text
Stick with basic text, at first. Learn how to do your basic entries onto the website using your web editor and make sure you validate everything you do. Go back in a couple of days and edit a few things to make sure you have mastered the process.
3. Basic Images
Don’t start with GIFs or music-heavy videos at the beginning. Just use a simple image. Move it around on the page, or between pages, and get familiar with resizing it and framing it. And once you’ve done this, validate it so that it won’t freeze up someone’s computer.
4. Start Growing
Once you have your basic one or two pages done, you can start to beef up your site a little bit. Web design doesn’t happen all at once.
Most web hosts have a variety of templates you can use to put your site together. These are good for starters. As you grow, build off of your template and add one thing at a time. For instance, if your home page is pretty comprehensive, you may want to start adding navigation tabs.
Your navigation tabs should be titled simply, with headings for things your customers would be looking for. For example, besides a “Home” tab, you should have a “Services” tab. When the visitor clicks on this tab, he should be taken to a page that clearly outlines all of the services you perform.
From there, as you grow your website, you can have each of these services linked to another page on your website that goes into a great deal of detail about the service. For example, if you own a hair salon, your services tab may list:
•Hair cuts and style
As you advance on your site, each of these entries could be a link to another page with more detail. “Extensions” could go into detail about clip-in, glue-in, and clamp-in extensions and the difference between human hair and synthetic extensions.
If you get nothing else from this blog post, just remember to keep it simple. If you have all kinds of moving graphics on each page and a lot of music, it will take forever for each page to load. Rather than being “dynamic” and “modern,” your site will be slow and frustrating.