A common misconception amongst millennials is that having an Instagram is enough. Not to throw millennials under the bus because after all, I’m a millennial too! Here is a wake-up call that we could all benefit from hearing: A website is important and should be at the top of your list of priorities. So, how do you get started? Read on for five tips to get you started on that website you thought maybe you could get by without!
Content, content, content…
Let me say it again, content! In order to have a website that really stands out and sets you apart, you’ll want some original and interesting content. Try to use original photos and videos as much as you can. This way, when your supporters visit your site they’ll see something that they can’t see anywhere else. Don’t have a professional camera? Our phones can now take DSLR quality photos. Snap some photos that make sense for your brand and add value to the message you are trying to impart. Don’t have a smartphone or a DSLR camera? Stock photos are OK. I like to browse for photos on Unsplash. You can download the photos you want and copy a credit line to easily insert on your website. See above! Remember: If you are going to use stock photos, make a conscious choice to choose photos that will make sense for your brand/company. Own a ski company? You wouldn’t add photos of a beach, would you? Be intentional!
Write, Edit, Repeat
About 98% of my Google Drive is full of rough drafts of different copy used in different locations and for different websites. I write all of my copy, blogs, about sections, etc. in a Google Document first. This allows me to write, edit, repeat. I can check for spelling errors, make updates to old, outdated copy and keep track of all of the content on my website. This is huge! Are you into Instagram? Do you have a lot of content and a lot of followers? Well, what would happen if your Instagram was deleted tomorrow? The same goes for your website! Keep track of your work and you’ll thank yourself later. Pro tip: when you edit a google document, rename it every time with the date that you edited/updated. This way, you’ll always know which draft is the most current.
This one is important! Everyone has something they are good at and everyone has something they are not so good at. For me, video has never been my strong suit. Ask me to take a photo, I’m your girl! Ask me to design you a website or put together a marketing plan for your business, I’m down! Ask me to film something, you’ll likely get a bunch of shaky clips that don’t quite add up to a video. So, figure out what you aren’t good at and then collaborate with someone who is good at that thing! When I started collaborating with Tweaking Reality Studios, my dance company and our website went from looking somewhat professional to really professional. Collaborating with someone who sees your passion and then makes it their own is really, really powerful. Here is my company’s “about” page. You’ll be able to see our “about” video by Tweaking Reality Studios midway down the page.
Keep it Simple
Your website does not have to be fancy! Keep it simple, especially at the beginning. Start thinking about what pages are most important to you and your brand. You can add pages over time, so don’t worry about starting with only a few. Write these pages down and visualize how you’ll want them to look. The more you prepare with pen and paper, the easier it will be for you to sit down and put a website together!
MUST HAVE: You’ll need a contact page so that it will be easy for visitors to your site to find your number or fill out a contact form. My biggest pet peeve is when I visit a website and I can’t find any way to contact the owner of the site, not even a contact form! Don’t be that person. Make it easy for someone to connect with you and you’ll likely reap the benefits of a new supporter.
Decide on Your Host Site
Decide on your host site and what your website domain will be. You can purchase a domain through your host site OR you can purchase a domain on GoDaddy. When deciding on your host site, you’ll want to think about the kind of website you are looking to build. Will you be selling products? Do you use it mostly as a face for your brand? Will you be blogging a lot? These are all questions you should consider when making your decision. In my experience, I have found both Wix and Squarespace to be user friendly. Both of these sites have multiple options for creating exactly the kind of website you want. Do you have a restaurant? Do you own a clothing boutique? These sites will have templates that will fit your needs and will be easily customizable.
I hope these tips were helpful and will assist you in getting started on your website. Setting the time aside every day to work on your website will pay off and you’ll soon have another way to connect with your supporters. What specific parts of creating a website are daunting for you? Let me know in the comments so I can address some of those hurdles in upcoming posts!