DYI Professional Website Design
Every business needs a website design. It’s really that simple. We live in a digital world. When most people search for a product or service, they tend to conduct that search online through popular search engines like Google and Bing.
Professional Website Design
If a business does not have a website — or a professional looking one, at that — prospective clients won’t find it or care about its message. Visibility is paramount online and it starts with a professional website.
Many business owners are hesitant to invest in an elaborate website, fearing that it might cost more than they can afford. Web development is indeed a significant investment when you work with a professional developer. Luckily for business owners of all sizes and industries, they don’t necessarily have to invest thousands of dollars into a professional website. Instead, they are able to DIY build a professional website design by using the many low-cost or free resources currently available.
Creating a website from the ground up has never been easier and it’s something that you can do regardless of your experience or budget.
By leveraging the right resources, businesses can reap the benefits of a website that helps them stand apart from the crowd online.
Small and medium-sized businesses can now check this important item off of their digital marketing to-do list. Here’s how.
Reserve Your Preferred Web Domain Address
One of the very first steps to build a professional website design is to reserve the necessary web address (or URL). The web address is the digital location of a company’s website. For instance, if you operated a business called Andrew’s Market, it’s important to reserve a web address that reflects this brand. Using the name of your business as the web address makes sense and it’s what many businesses do. As a part of our example, Andrew’s Market might reserve AndrewsMarket.com as the address for its website.
Some businesses like to have fun with the web address to make it more memorable and engaging. In our example, Andrew’s Market might find value in reserving the web address ShopAtAndrews.com. Whatever you choose, make sure that the web address is memorable so that people that are both familiar or unfamiliar with you can easily find you online.
You also have the option of securing additional domains.
For example, if you reserved AndrewsMarket.com you can also reserve the same address on other domains, such as AndrewsMarket.net and AndrewsMarket.org. It’s important to secure all domains so that another person doesn’t try taking a similar address and causing brand confusion. Reserving a bundle of domains does not typically cost much at all.
Before you can reserve the desired web address, you have to make sure that it is available. A number of sites allow you to search various web addresses to see if they are currently available or if they are already under ownership. One site that makes this phase easy when you attempt to build a website design is Dreamhost or Bluehost.
Amongst its wide range of available web building tools, Dreamhost allows you to enter in your desired web address and it will tell you if that address is available for purchase or if another person or business is already using it. If your web address is taken, Dreamhost will make alternative suggestions to help you find a web address that will work. If it’s available, you can move forward with your purchase.
Most web addresses are fairly cheap — usually less than $10 or $20 for the whole year. However, some addresses are considered premium domains and those can cost thousands of dollars. If you are looking to DIY build a professional website design, you will want to find a web address that is both engaging and memorable but does not come with the huge costs of a premium domain.
Choose Your Website Design Template
Many business owners are intimidated by their lack of knowledge in regard to building a website design. It’s important to note that, if you don’t have even a little bit of programming experience, you can still build a website thanks to the many intuitive, easy-to-use website builders. These builders are tailored to beginners and walk you through the process with ease.
The acronym WYSIWYG might be one that you have seen before. This stands for “what you see is what you get,” and that’s the way that many of the modern website builders operate. Instead of developing a website through intricate HTML and XML code, these website builders let you drag-and-drop elements of your website so you can see it come together right before your eyes. This makes it easy to visualize your website as you piece it together one component at a time.
Business owners have a long list of these web builders available to them, making it easy and quick to DIY build a professional website design. WordPress is the more popular web building platform.
WordPress website builder empower you to create an entire website without ever having to dive into intricate coding and back-end programming. You might have a general idea of what you want your website to look like already. If you don’t, these website builders also come pre-loaded with a variety of website templates. Many of them are tailored to certain industries. For instance, a tool and die shop’s website would look significantly different than a bakery’s website. Browsing the templates available through these website builders can help you get a jump start on the design process. In many cases, all that’s left is to fill in your company’s information into existing text and image fields.
If you run into issues while building your website, it’s generally quite easy to consult with the support staff for each web building platform.
Searching tutorials on popular websites like YouTube can also prove effective. Page by page, you will be able to construct your website, including any content that you deem relevant — from images and information about your business to contact forms, video and more.
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Content is King!
Building a website with these free or low-cost web builders is simple and quick, but generating the content that goes on it requires more effort. Writing content for your website can take some time, but it’s an important step when you build a professional website design. A carefully tailored message is important to provide a visitor with a certain experience.
As a general rule of thumb, aim at writing five to ten pages of content. Each page should contain about 2,000 words of content. Writing content for your website is important because this is where you get to convey all the important information about your business to the visitor, which is a potential client.
It is important that you write clean content that is easy to read and comprehend. At the same time, you will want the content to be engaging and entertaining. If it’s dry and boring, a visitor likely won’t feel inclined to read through the entire page.
Some important information to include when you’re writing content for a business website includes:
- General information about your company
- What you do
- Information about your products or services
- Your company’s mission
- Information about your staff (show them you are real people!)
- How to buy your products and services
In order to maintain a professional presence, carefully edit the content so that you are able to eliminate typos or sentences that are sloppily written. The caliber of writing is a direct reflection on your business or organization.
Make sure that the tone of the content matches with the general tone and style of your business. Some companies like to write in a more informal, conversational style while businesses belonging to other industries (i.e. financial planning, health care, etc.) stick with a formal, no-nonsense approach.
Always consider SEO when writing content
If you’re like most, you want to build a professional website des that people will be able to find when they are searching for the products and services that your business offers. In order to capture the right audience and funnel new, relevant traffic to your website, it is paramount that you focus on search engine optimization, also known as SEO for short.
The basic steps of search engine optimization include:
- Researching the keywords that your target demographic are searching for online. For instance, if you owned a roofing company in Nashville, Tennessee, you would want to know what residents in that area are searching for when they are in the market for a new roof. They might search phrases like “roof builders in Nashville” or “best roofers in Nashville.” Anticipating the actions of your target demographic is a crucial first step.
- Once you know what these potential clients are searching for, you are able to weave those preferred keywords throughout the content on your website. This maximizes the chances that, if someone searches for those keywords, your website will show up near the top of the search engine results where it will be most visible. If your website is falling to a lower page in search engine results, very few people will ever find it.
- A solid SEO strategy is certainly something to consider when you build a professional website design, and it’s also an ongoing process. It’s important to monitor where your website stands in search engines so that you can make changes to become more visible. Maintaining a website with strong SEO is certainly an ongoing battle.
This all might sound overwhelming if you do not have experience working with SEO. Luckily, as a business owner, you can utilize a variety of free or low-cost online tools and software that allow you to adopt an effective SEO strategy.
For instance, if you are one of the many business owners that have built their website with the popular platform WordPress, Yoast SEO is one plugin in particular that is highly effective in assisting with strong SEO.
By installing and activating the plugin, you will gain access to a variety of easy-to-use tools that will ensure smart and effective SEO practices. The plugin provides a number of additional fields and guides you in the process of identifying and implementing the proper keywords and keyword phrases.
With Yoast SEO, you are able to build a professional website design that is also equipped with strong SEO. This means that, not only will your website look professional, but potential clients will be able to find it more easily when they are searching for relevant topics through popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
SemRush (semrush.com) is another popular suite of SEO tools that you can harness whether you’re an expert web developer or you have created your very first website. Furthermore, SemRush provides different account levels — some of them cost money while a very basic version is free.
Similar to Yoast SEO, SemRush will walk you through all the key phases of the SEO process, from keyword research to ensuring that you implement the right keywords and keyword phrases in the content on your website. SEMRush is yet another suite of SEO tools that are a huge help for both first-time and experienced web developers.
While many of these tools are available for free, investing in a paid monthly account will prove to be a worthwhile investment in your website and your business. The return on investment can be huge with SEO. Gaining just one new client can justify the cost of your purchase.
Strong SEO is something that many businesses lack in their websites, which makes it ineffective in reaching new, prospective clients. With a sound SEO strategy, you’re able to build a website design that will serve as an effective method of bringing new, potential clients to your business.
Keyword Research, One-page SEO, Competitor Analysis, Content Marketing, and much more
Why DIY build a professional website design?
When deciding on how to approach web development, many business owners grapple with one major dilemma: Hire professionals or DIY it?
It is important to note that professional web developers are a helpful resource for many types of businesses. It would be unfair to suggest that professional web developers are still not very important. However, when you hire a professional web developer, your website will cost thousands of dollars, depending on its complexity.
Professional web developers are still a valuable resource when it comes to special or complex digital needs.
Still, by using free and low-cost tools to DIY build a professional website design, you are able to develop a nice looking, functional website at a fraction of the cost, which is why it is such an attractive option for so many owners of small to medium size businesses. These are companies that don’t have large budgets, and at the same time, they only need a basic website that:
- Outlines the history of the company
- Provides information on its products and services
- Acts a hub for market education (i.e. blog posts, white papers, etc.)
- Serves as an avenue in which to contact the company
Websites that feature this type of information and content can be easily achieved when you DIY build a professional website design — you won’t necessarily need to entrust it to a professional developer.
Some additional benefits that come with building your own website include:
- Take full control of your web presence. Much of the information on your website will likely remain static and not require any sort of regular updates. However, if your business needs to update clients and potential clients in real time, developing your own website lets you do this seamlessly. When you DIY build a professional website design, you can update and control your content rather than send it off to a third party developer and wait for them to update it. This means fast changes.
Learning a new, valuable skill that will benefit you and your business in the future.
We live in a digital world and that’s not going to change. By taking the time to learn such important aspects of digital marketing as web development, search engine optimization and social media marketing, you and your team are learning a value set of skills that you can implement in the future. The whole process will empower you and your company to adopt a savvier, more effective, digital marketing strategy.
- Directly connect with your clients and potential clients. A company website is often the gateway in which both clients and potential clients communicate with a business. When you have created your website on your own — and operate it — you will be on the front lines, communicating with those clients. They have direct access to you. This allows you to take a hands-on approach to customer service and ultimately create a better understanding of what your clients want out of your product or service.
When you DIY build a professional website, you are able to reap many more benefits than just cost savings.
While building your own website does take time, energy and creative energy, it can be one of the most crucial investments that you make in your business. The time and energy that you devote to it will certainly pay off.
Social media sites are not effective as your company’s primary website
Many business owners are content with using a social media page as their company’s default website. They tend to enjoy the convenience that comes with maintaining a simple Facebook page, Instagram account of Twitter feed and figure that it will suffice for their online presence.
While social media channels are very important for small and medium size businesses, they don’t necessarily accomplish everything that you can when you DIY build a professional website design.
Maintaining a home page can allow you and your business to accomplish more than a Facebook page or social media account. This includes:
Establishing credibility and professionalism.
When potential clients are online searching for the products and services that you have to offer, they tend to want to work with a company that is professional. When you DIY build a professional website, you are able to establish this credibility in the eyes of your clients and potential clients. While anyone can start their own Facebook or Twitter page, having a professional looking website shows that you have invested in your business and that you operate a legitimate company.
Own your content and maintain brand consistency.
Why would you want to hand over your content to a social media website when you can host it on your own domain? Building your own website gives you an online home where you can protect your content and claim it as your own. Furthermore, your own website will more effectively convey your brand to visitors through its design and your own personalized web address. You can’t completely customize a social media page to fall perfectly in line with your brand. Plus, promoting Facebook and Twitter URLs can be confusing and take the focus off of your brand.
Customizing a visitor’s experience and implementing it into your sales process.
When you treat a Facebook page as your company’s primary web page, you’re at the mercy of Facebook’s capabilities and limitations. When you DIY build a professional website, you are able to customize the site and provide a specific experience for visitors. This might include a welcome video, contact form and other features that methodically move a visitor through a process that will maximize your chances of converting a new visitor into a paid client.
Allowing potential clients to easily find you online.
Finally, by building your own website and implementing the SEO best practices that we discussed earlier, you are able to more effectively target certain demographics and increase the chances that they will find your website. Through content marketing (i.e. blogs, white papers, etc.) and other measures, you are able to create relevant content that reels in your targeted demographic.
While building a central home page for your business is important, social media certainly does play an important role in your company’s digital marketing efforts.
In fact, working through various social media channels can be one of the most effective ways to reach both existing and potential clients — even more so than when you DIY build a professional website. Every small and medium sized business should be active on social media, engaging in the conversation so that members of the general public can find them. Social media channels are especially effective for:
- Sharing your content. It’s important to host your company’s original content on its home page, where you own the rights to it, but promoting links via social media so that your followers can easily access it.
- Connecting with your target demographic. By methodically crafting your social media messaging, you are able to target a specific demographic that you are confident you can convert into paid clients. Many social media platforms also have advertising programs. This allows you to spend a little money to focus on a specific demographic of users.
- Build a reputation. When you see a business on social media helping solve problems for its clients, how does that reflect on the company? By leveraging social media to engage with existing and potential clients, it can build a positive reputation for your business and show them that you care.
A great, professional website and an engaging, active approach to social media go hand-in-hand.
They are an effective one-two punch for digital marketing and together will help your company meet its goals.
Stop making excuses — your company needs a website design
Creating a website for your business is not only easy thanks to the many low-cost and free tools, but it’s crucial. Small business owners often find themselves facing the dilemma of whether or not to DIY build a professional website design. The reality is that a quality website is not only important for a small business’ credibility, but it can be a time saver, too!
Most small businesses operate on a skeleton crew and a razor thin budget — especially if they are just starting out. In these situations, building a shiny new website might not be at the top of the priority list for many business owners, but by doing so, your whole team can benefit.
A quality website can almost act as its own employee — one that you don’t have to pay!
A website allows you to bring efficiency to a variety of areas of your business. For instance, by creating a “Frequently Asked Questions” page of your website, you are able to proactively answer the questions of your clients. This saves them from having to call or email your office to ask.
Or, when you DIY build a professional website design, you can include features like contact forms or even a plug-in for a live chat feature. This is yet another way that you can streamline communication between your staff and the general public. Or, by implementing an online store through Shopify or another popular platform, you can even sell your products and services with no effort at all.
As a small business owner that wears many hats and assumes many roles inside your company, you will quickly find that digital tools can make your life a whole lot easier. When you DIY build a professional website design, you can create a site that works for you instead of one that becomes a chore to update and maintain.
Do businesses in my industry need a website design?
Another justification that many small business owners use for not having a website is that they assume companies belonging to their industry don’t need one. Some industries don’t benefit as much from having a website that faces the general public. Some companies are able to secure enough business through word of mouth referrals or through partnerships with fellow businesses.
Regardless of whether you operate a B2B or a B2C business, you’re going to need a central location for information about your products and services. This makes a website a valuable investment no matter what industry you belong to — from construction and engineering to the oil and gas industry.
Businesses of all industries need to have a digital presence, and as we move into the future, that’s even more crucial. If you notice that competing businesses don’t have a website, consider yourself lucky.
If you decide to DIY build a professional website design, you are able to gain a competitive edge over businesses in the marketplace.
One way to gain inspiration for your own website is to research companies that belong to the same industry. This will give you an idea of what type of information might be considered relevant for your website and you can stay in line with the competition. However, it’s also important to avoid copying the competition and, instead, finding ways to make your website and approach to digital marketing unique and special.
You’re ready to DIY build a professional website design!
Instead of agonizing over whether or not you should build a website for your business, roll up your sleeves and start creating! It’s a process that you can start right now for absolutely free.
It’s one thing to plan what you want your website to look like but you can gain a whole new perspective when you see your website come together right before your eyes. If it’s your first time building a website, then don’t be afraid to experiment and try out the many features that are available.
From YouTube video tutorials to online communities of web developers, you can tap into a variety of resources to help you on your journey to creating the perfect website for your business.
After enough tinkering, you will start to learn what works for your website and what doesn’t. You can mess around with a website all you want before publishing it live, which gives you the time and opportunity for trial-and-error.
Create an online home for your business that provides it with credibility and professionalism. Make sure that you are found online when you DIY free website builder — good luck on your journey!
Begin your journey now!