Whether it’s for economic reasons or to maintain control, here are some things you should consider before creating a website on a DIY website builder.
Manage your time
From the minute you start browsing for templates it’s like you’ve entered a time sucker. Make sure you record your time (after all, your time is your asset, so use it efficiently, and use a time deadline to keep you on task.)
Search relevant templates
Make sure you use the search facilities that many of these sites offer. Start with searching within your industry relevant templates. Though this might seem obvious, you will be tempted to see all your options to make sure you’re choosing the right one. Remember, you’re not trying to reinvent the wheel and those industry relevant templates will offer more than just design. They’ll give you the prompts you need to think about what content to include on your site.
Content is king
Speaking of content, map out your site content before you do anything else. Think about what you want your user to do at each page – do you want them to learn more, contact you, or make a purchase? Content with purpose is the most valuable tool you can have when creating a website. And your content should always be supported by great imagery.
Get graphic with your words
Stay focused on your hunt for imagery. Stock photo sites like Shutterstock or 123rf.com are a time sucker. They’re like the time vortex of searching for the website template but on hyperdrive. Use narrow search terms that are led by your content. If need be, create a ‘mood board’ of images that not only express the views of that page but, also communicate your desired look and feel for your site. Either stick with the theme of the website template, and keep in a similar style, or find a suite of images that are tied visually by colour, tone or style. The hardest part can be in choosing what not to include, more than what to publish on the site.
Make the image fit the gap
Some website builders have in-browser image editors. Use these to crop your images appropriately so the message is not lost. By focusing in on the part of the image that drew you in, you’ll make it easier for the user to see what you see too. Additionally, these can also be a great way to apply a filter to all your images in order to tie them together - in tone, or style.
Get savvy on launching your site before you want to launch
You’ve no doubt told more than a few people about your upcoming new site. There’s nothing more frustrating than being ready to launch that site only to find you can’t figure out how to redirect your domain name to the new hosting. That is assuming you have registered a domain name. (If you haven’t, then stop reading and go do it. Now!) Log into your domain name registrar site and find out where everything goes. Then do the same with your website builder. These two web places need to link up if you’re to go live.
Don’t neglect your site after launch day
You might think the hard part is done, but like launching anything, it will need to be regularly updated, tweaked and generally given some attention. Make sure you’ve got a plan as to how and when you’ll do this – then make sure you do it. With no one but yourself to be accountable to, it’s all too easy to leave it and wonder why it’s not getting any traction when it doesn’t get the attention it needs.