Designing a website can be tough, especially when you’re committed to a DIY method and crunched for time. Not everybody has the spare hours in their day to pore over website-building tutorials or give every possible layout a chance. If you’re a busy person who needs to build a website but can’t devote day after day on the job, take a look at these useful tips. A little advice might be all you need to get your website up and to run.
Start With a Plan
As with any project, you should start the web design process by outlining your objectives and developing a plan. Jot down what information your website needs to convey. Decide whether your site should be more educational or salesy in nature. Determine what type of tone you want the website to take. Some sites are better off remaining fun and lighthearted, while others come across as inappropriate if they’re not a bit more serious. These choices will influence all the subsequent decisions as you go about creating your website.
Always Include Links to Social Media
No matter how little time you have, there are some bare basics you absolutely must include on your website. Including links to social media accounts is a necessity. The internet’s interconnectivity is a big part of what makes it such a wonderful marketing tool. You want to make it easy for people to share your website on their social media pages or follow your Twitter account. Making the various pages shareable and likable on social media gives other people the chance to spread the word about your page and, in essence, do your marketing work for you.
Avoid Complicated and Distracting Animations
Animations and overelaborate design schemes are addicting. They seem like lots of fun to include, and you can become convinced that visitors to your website will like them just as much as you do. In reality, however, these animations are often more trouble than they’re worth. For one thing, you can waste a lot of time tinkering around with them. If you’re cramming your web design activities into a busy schedule, you’re better off using all that time on something more essential. Animations also have an obnoxious tendency to misfire on the user’s end, clogging up your website and detracting from the overall user experience.
Include More Content on Your Homepage
A single-frame homepage is no longer the norm in website creation. People now expect more than a simple title and menu when they first enter your website. An “about” section, a list of products and services, and a brief history of your organization can safely be included on your home page. This enhances the user’s experience because they no longer have to navigate your site to get the vital information they need. It’s also a great marketing strategy since you can catch the viewer’s attention with deals or information that they would never have seen if you had buried it within the site’s secondary pages. What’s more, this method saves you a lot of time since it’s so much simpler to put all the essential information on a single page.
Take Your Own Photos
It’s tempting to rely on stock images for your website’s visual elements. They are, after all, professional-grade photos. The problem is that they come across as artificial and inauthentic. Visitors to your site will see all these smiling models and wonder if your business or organization is even legitimate. To earn users’ trust and show your authenticity, you’re much better off taking your own photos and uploading them to your website. This strategy has the added advantage of allowing you to showcase exactly what’s best about your particular operation. If you’re tight on time, don’t worry about making every photoshoot absolutely perfect. The idea is to be authentic, not glamorous, or error-free.
Employ SEO Strategies
No matter how great your website is, it won’t count for much if nobody ever sees it. That’s why employing SEO (search engine optimization) strategies is so important. Identify keywords that people will search for that could ultimately bring them to your business. Then, use these keywords as often as possible throughout your website. Don’t make your strategy obvious, or it will look clumsy (and kind of lame) to users. The keywords should fit neatly and naturally within normal sentences without breaking up the flow of the thought.
Avoid Needless Overcrowding
Much like a home’s interior, websites suffer when designers try to squeeze too much stuff into a small or tight area. Blank space is your friend, not your enemy. Users will have an easier time finding what they’re looking for if you don’t overcrowd the site. Visitors should be able to find exactly what they’re looking for just by scanning the page, something they’ll never be able to do if the site is hopelessly cluttered. This strategy is also a time-saver since you don’t waste time needlessly filling every square inch of space.
Test Mobile Functioning
Once your website is finished, it’s tempting to publish it and then call it a day. Resist this urge, even if you don’t have much time on your hands. Before considering the project complete, there are a few things you need to check. The first order of business is to make sure that the site works well on mobile devices. This is easy enough to check. All you have to do is go to your site on a smartphone and make sure navigation is as easy as it should be. A slow or lagging site on mobile devices is a big problem since so many surf the web on their phones. If the experience isn’t optimal, you should look into mobile optimization services.
Check for Broken Links
You have to check after you publish that all the outbound links from your website are fully functional. Broken links are frustrating for users, but they also suggest a lack of seriousness and professionalism on the part of the website creator. The last thing you want is for potential clients or users to dismiss your business as an amateurish operation. Give every link a click to make sure they send you where they’re supposed to. Any errors are easy to fix, so it’s best to take care of them right away. This is hardly a time-consuming process, so even the most rushed site-builders should make sure they get it done.
Once your site is up and running, you still need to find the time for the occasional update. Not only does this allow you to add additional information, but it also lets users know that the site is still up to date and legitimate.
Website creation is hardly easy, but it doesn’t have to be brain surgery, either. Keep these tips in mind as you get to work, and remember that you don’t have to commit to the DIY method. Web design service providers (like us) are always happy to help, feel free to contact us if you need assistance.